Twerking to dinosaur erotica: unexpected trends of 2013

Few cultural commentators would have predicted these crazes, which gripped the public imagination in 2013

LAST UPDATED AT 08:27 ON Sat 28 Dec 2013

EACH year cultural future-gazers predict what will take off in the coming 12 months, casting their well-meaning eyes over the worlds of everything from fashion and food to literature and music.
Sadly they rarely get it right, as these trends that helped define 2013 prove.
Vine: Not a plant with grapes on, but an app for mobile devices that allows users to create and post short video clips on sites like Twitter. In 2013, the rise of the six-second video clip was swift and unstoppable. Founded in June 2012, acquired by Twitter in October and released as an Apple app in January 2013, Vine took hold faster than an outbreak of Japanese knotweed. By August, the service had 40 million registered users, with stars such as Snoop Dogg and Kate Upton joining in.
Twerking: Forget Gangnam Style, 2013 will be remembered as the year Miley Cyrus twerked her way to global pop domination. The controversial star seemed to spend as much time bent double shaking her derriere as she did standing up, and her appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards, during which she donned a flesh-coloured latex bikini to twerk with Robin Thicke, scandalised America. But it did not stop her signature dance move becoming hugely popular. A YouTube video, uploaded late last year, showing how to perform the raunchy dance has had almost 20 million hits. No up-to-date dance music video is now complete without a twerk-related routine.
Selfies: Self-portraits are not a new idea, even the Greeks were fans, but had Narcissus had an iPhone things might have turned out very differently for him. In 2013 the "selfie" became ubiquitous and people even began taking photographs of themselves at funerals and posting them online - a trend that became known as the "funeral selfie". Such was the popularity of the self-portrait that the term "selfie" was chosen as the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year. The judges had good reason: use of the word on social media and photo sharing sites jumped by a staggering 17,000 per cent between January and November.
Cronuts: What happens if you cross a doughnut with a croissant? You get a cronut - and the food sensation of 2013. The dubious-sounding hybrid was apparently invented by chef Dominique Ansel at his bakery in New York City in May, and by July this year there were reports of scalpers buying them for $5 and selling them on for $100. So popular are the delicacies that they are sold on a first-come first-served basis and customers are only allowed to buy two at a time. Celebrities battle for them and there are now dozens of imitations of Ansel’s invention, even though he has trademarked the name. Expect them to catch on in Britain soon.
North Korea chic: In a moment of fabulous bad taste, reminiscent of the film Zoolander, fashion magazine Elle chose what it described as "North Korea chic" as one of its top trends for the autumn of 2013. So, what do clothes inspired by the repressive regime of Kim Jong-un look like? "Edgier, even dangerous, with sharp buckles and clasps and take-no-prisoners tailoring," frothed Elle's creative director Joe Zee. And how much does it cost to get the Pyongyang look? Well, Zee highlights a pair of camouflage trousers costing $425 - around a third of what the average North Korean earns in a year. To give Elle its due, they pulled the article from the website and later apologised.
OAP tattoos: Ten years after Ian McKellen got a Lord of the Rings, tattoo at the ripe old age of 64, the trickle of silver-haired customers through the nation's tattoo parlours could be about to become a flood. After McKellen came the likes of Felicity Kendal and Lady Steel (wife of former Liberal leader David), but the most celebrated example of an OAP getting some ink came this year when 75-year-old David Dimbleby had a scorpion tattooed on his shoulder. But he's by no means the oldest person to take the plunge. Back in February, The Sun reported how 92-year-old Winifred Turner became the oldest woman in Britain to get a tattoo.
Open letters: The media landscape of 2013 may be dominated by social media sites like Twitter but this year we learnt that there is still a place for the "open letter". Almost every major news story this year was accompanied by an "open letter" from one celebrity to another. Among the most celebrated efforts were Sinead O'Connor's missives to Miley Cyrus. Her first warned the young star that she was being exploited, but after her advice was rejected the second and third efforts were less sisterly. "You could really do with educating yourself, that is if you’re not too busy getting your tits out," raged O'Connor. Other sterling efforts came from Stephen Fry, urging Britain to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics, and Robert Webb taking issue with Russell Brand's exhortation for people not to vote.
Dinosaur erotica: Last but not least comes the strangest literary phenomenon of the year, and possibly ever. Dinosaur erotica has apparently found a successful niche among Kindle readers in the aftermath of the success of the Fifty Shades of Grey, trilogy, although one wonders whether Anastasia Steele would enjoy and encounter with a randy velociraptor. Authors Christie Sims and Alara Branwen, whose titles include Taken by the T-Rex and Dino Park after Dark, are said to be behind the craze, and its parallel-genres, which include Centaur erotica (Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad) and Hydra erotica (Ravaged by the Hydra). Honestly, we're not making this up.
Here's to everything 2014 has to offer... · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.