This Week In Awesome History: December 26 – January 1

From acid rockers to enourmous movie franchises, the last week of the year is packed with memories.

Nash Herringtonby Nash Herrington

December 26th, 1966: Jimi Hendrix Pens ‘Purple Haze’

They locked the embed code! Apparently people on acid are very possessive… Jimi Hendrix Video

At just 23 years old John Allen Hendrix left behind his career as a session musician, changed his name to Jimi and took his first step into superstardom, as on this day in ’66 he penned the psychedelic classic ‘Purple Haze’.
Although its commercial success was limited initially, a performance at the Monterey Pop Festival helped guide his career into the upper echelons of rock music history and, along with the singles’ accompanying album ‘Are You Experienced’, he instantly proved himself to be a worthy role model for aspiring musicians everywhere. Now hailed as the ultimate guitar hero, Jimi would famously die a mere four years later by choking on his own vomit after mixing sleeping pills with alcohol.

December 27th, 1977: Star Wars Hits Theatres

After taking the US by storm, on this day in ’77 George Lucas recruited some new fans of his epic saga after Star Wars debuted in UK theatres.
Queuing outside London cinemas at 7am in order to snatch up non-reserved tickets (the film was fully booked up until March of the next year), those who did manage to get in were treated to the first instalment of one of the most popular yet divisive movie series of all time.

December 28th, 1895: Cinema Receives Its First Ever Paying Customer

On this day in 1895 Louis and Auguste Lumiere, commonly known as the Lumiere brothers, charged admission to viewers of their primitive movie and made history in the process by being the first ever filmmakers to do so.
After developing the projector/camera hybrid the ‘Cinematographe’, which could display images on screen for an audience, the brothers promptly set about recording the everyday mundane meanderings of French citizens to play back to paying customers. Although the films featured little in the way of narrative or plot they still encapsulated audiences and paved the way for the American film industry.

December 29th, 1999: Shenmue is Released

On this day in ’99 Shenmue was released on the Dreamcast and, although turning in massive losses (the game cost a whopping $70 million to develop, meaning that each Dreamcast owner would need to own two copies of it in order for Sega to turn a profit), it was a benchmark title for videogames, introducing an open world city format that would later become popularised in Grand Theft Auto 3.

Personally I was never a big fan, although I always appreciated the outstanding graphics and Ryo’s continuous, un-ironic pursuit of sailors.

45 BC: New Years Day is Celebrated For the First Time

In 45 BC New Years Day was celebrated for the first time, although we are almost certain that it didn’t involve Ashton Kutcher, Zac Efron and their haircuts in engaged in topsy turvy romances with irritatingly beautiful women, as seen above.

After changing the traditional Roman calendar to recognise there being 365 days in a year (and changing the name of the month Quintilus to Julius to honour himself), it was decided that January 1st would be recognised as the start of the New Year. So while you’re slumped between the breasts of a sloppy drunk white girl come the 2012 countdown, spare a thought for Julius Caesar, who made all of this possible.