Review 2003:
Describe the one thing in 2003 which made you stop in your tracks and say under your breath 'That's so cool...'

Something it was a pink mini.
Eva Katzler, Singer

No one thing. I'm generally under impressed by significant things and over impressed by small, sometimes inconsequential things. So here's a list of some: the news that Leslie Grantham was coming back to "EastEnders" (although not the actuality), seeing the graphics you can get on those mobile phone game things, the new edition of the Radio Times Guide to TV Comedy, The Hill And Beyond, the kangaroo leg things on that Rolf Harris at the Albert Hall special, getting hold of a copy of Bob Monkhouse's guide to After Dinner Speaking, The Last Detective, Alf's deathbed dream sequence in Home and Away.
Jack Kibble-White, Off The Telly and TV Cream

Russell Davies and Julie Gardner getting to make Doctor Who.
Paul Cornell, Writer, British Summertime

Seeing Sir Derek Jacobi in my greenroom
Jason Haigh-Ellery, Producer, The Audio Adventures of Doctor Who, Big Finish Productions

When Yoda pulled back his robe and his lightsabre flew into his hand (on DVD, if the film came out last year, I can't remember). Still brings a tear to the eye.
Nick Jones, Web Editor, National Museums Liverpool

Well, it took twelve months, but seeing the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings movies in the theatre, and then Return of the King, had me breathless and goosepimply and I would've been saying "That's so cool" if talking had been allowed. Witnessing the perfect realization of a place that existed so vividly in my imagination was one of the coolest thing ever.
Kat Sagbottom, Headmistress of the Sagbottom Home For Wayward Girls

Bill Viola’s 5 Angels for the Millennium installation.
Rowan Kerek, Editor, The Collective

Of course there are a hundred things which could be listed here, from the stella improvement in CG special effects to the alarm clock I got for Christmas which projects the time onto the ceiling so you can see what time you're being woken up without even moving your head. But overall in terms of how it's made life bareable since March, it would be the FACT centre in Liverpool. Here is an arts centre and cinema which I never thought I would see in my city. While I haven't loved every exhibition which has appeared in the gallery spaces, they have at least been consistently interesting, trying something new. Where else, for example, could you find a piece in which an artist had edited together similar moments from throughout Starsky and Hutch so that you could pull a VCD off the shelf and watch every time Hutch burst into tears or somebody drove through some boxes. Just as I'd all but given up seeing anything not created outside Hollywood, three weeks after it opened I was watching a Kazachstani film about a folk hero. Despite a stoggy patch when the three main screens closed for business it's consistently tried to offer the kind of programme which you'd expect at a London Cinema, a good mix of populist and art house. I saw The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King there the other day with their THX approved sound system, which sounds populist, until you consider that on the small screens they're showing Noi Albinoi about a drop-out from an Icelandic village who dreams of escaping from his remote fjord with the girl from the filling station, as well as seasons of the work of both Jacqui Tati and Yasujiro Ozu. This is a love affair which has only just begun.
Stuart Ian Burns, feeling listless

I went to London Zoo and saw a Slow Loris. It was certainly the coolest animal I have ever seen, and I know I referred to it as such at the time. It's like a cross between a monkey and a bear, and it swaggers so slowly and casually that it is the ultimate jazz beast. Buy one today!
Danny Wallace, Writer, Join Me

Watching my better half destroy Jack McConnell, Scotland's First Minister, on television. She tied him up in knots and placed the magic figure of £400 million for the cost of the Scottish Parliament in his mouth. It was a brilliant piece of television that reverberated around the land - indeed, it still does.
Cameron Borland, Off The Telly

Cameron Crowe being the coolest guy on the planet and getting me tickets to the acoustic Pearl Jam benefit concert in Seattle.
Greg Mariotti formerly of The Uncool: Cameron Crowe Online and cigarettes & coffee.

Saw the French documentary TO BE AND TO HAVE. In it, there's a scene of a family trying to help a young boy do his math homework. One of the best, most fleeting, scenes of the year.
Jeff Blitz, Filmmaker, Amateur Magician, Spellbound

Meeting Irving Fein and interviewing him for Who Wears The Trousers. He was Jack Benny's agent. He also looked after Gracie Allen (my comedy heroine) and George Burns. He had been there and done that before being there and doing that was even invented. Tremendous man.
Emma Kennedy, Actress, Writer and Comedienne

I'm almost embarrassed to admit this because it sounds so geeky but I experienced the most amazing piece of new technology recently. I visited the new Institute of Pharmaceutical Innovation at Bradford University where a friend of mine is working. In the seminar room is a wonderful piece of kit - a 'smart' board on which you project the computer screen/video/dvd or whatever but you can also write on it with a marker pen and a programme can translate what you write into typing. Not only that but the computer is controlled by a 'gyro' keyboard and 'gyro' mouse which are wireless and can be used anywhere in the room. And there's a wireless microphone with speakers in the ceiling throughout the room. How wonderful; I hope this becomes the standard kit for all seminar/class rooms.
Denise Raine, Librarian, The Henry Moore Institute

The Apple Macintosh eMac which I caught sight of in April... It came home with me. I still say "that's so cool" when I come home each day although the 2GHz Apple G5 is possibly cooler... but my employer doesn't pay the required sums to be the ultimate in cool.
Ben Birtwistle, Fine Art Printmaker and 'financial advisor'

I have to pick two: the iTunes store, which is ushering in an era of digital downloads that is revolutionary and the advent of the combo DVD-R and TiVo that will have an equally big effect on the television industry. Watch what you want, archive it on a DVD. The perfect device.
Steve Safran, Executive Producer, NECN: New England Cable News & Columnist,
Lost Remote

Sam the Cat: a purring, breathing fake cat on
Emily Dubberley, Founder of cliterati and Dubberly

In theory, I've been drooling over the ipod ever since I first heard about it although I still don't have one and am unlikely to get one any time soon. Unless Santa wins the lottery. Ditto for the Power Mac G5. In reality, it was a pair of sunglasses that caught my attention this year. Whilst attempting to buy some Dolce & Gabbana sunnies, it was suggested to me that I should try on another pair... a different pair... a black pair... a pair with the word 'Neo' inscribed on the inside of one arm, and 'The Matrix' on the other. Oh, boy, did that cause me a degree of internal conflict. On the one hand, they are very, very cool sunnies. On the other hand, oh my god, what a terribly fanboy thing to do. It took me an hour of deliberations as to the relative merits of Dolce & Gabbana vs. official Matrix, but eventually Neo won. I still look at them and think 'Oh, they're just so cool...', so I guess I made the right decision.
Suw Charman, Chocolate and Vodka

As I see shiny clicky things every 24 hours and go "DING! That is so cool! I need that!" it's kinda hard to single one out. (But currently I'm drooling copiously over my Treo 600 smartphone.) Broadening the focus a bit, I was at Turnhouse Airport (Edinburgh) in the viewing area beside the runway when the last Concorde to visit Scotland landed -- and took off again, leaving for good. It may not be new, and it may be horrendously expensive to run, and it may not be flying any more, but it's *still* cool.
Charlie Stross, Writer, weblog

Driving through Heathrow Airport--on the wrong side of the road.
Rebecca Blood, Blogger and Author

SpamAssassin is the first thing to come to mind, though there are probably more. My new-to-me digital camera is another (it's so unGeeky of me to be so disinterested in anything more than my little 1.6 mpx camera)
Mike Brown, the pepys project

Various geographic information system technologies for producing maps, and various other technologies for stitching images together into mosaics and panoramas have absorbed me this year.... plus, I don't live in LA anymore!
Miles Hochstein, Documented Life

Being awarded a fellowship from the Houston Center for Photography.
Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin, Photographer, Leaf Pile

My name in the credits of the 'In America' soundtrack CD.
Caroline van Oosten de Boer, prolific and Whedonesque

When President Bush, touched down in Bagdad. Also, finding Saddam. Also the Arnold
campaign was a "wow" moment, when it all came together and he won.
Cynthia Basinet, Entertainer

Hey, when I think something's cool, I don't say so under my breath -- I say it out loud. :-> The thing I saw this year that made me say "Oh, cool!" the loudest has got to be seeing Mars so big and red in the sky all summer, and then seeing it even bigger through a good pair of binoculars.
MaryAnn Johanson, Film Critic, FlickFilosopher

That there will be two mars landers hitting Mars within the next month. I'm sure there was something other than that but that's all I can think of at the moment.
Drew Curtis, Fark

I've barely been able to find a way to eat Thai food during 2003, let alone say "That's so cool..." under my breath. The food in Iraq is okay, but it mostly involves roasted meat on a spit. This is likely to have lasting consequences for me when I die of heart-failure at 32.
Actually, I take it back. The coolest thing I experienced in 2003 were the mountains of eastern Iraqi Kurdistan, near the Iranian border. Easily the most beautiful place I have ever been. Icy mountain streams bursting out of the cliffs and gurgling along past wild grapes and pomegranates -- a real Garden of Eden -- and not a western tourist for hundreds of kilometers around. Might be a good place to drop a microdot. To be honest, it's really hard to think of something great that happened in 2003. All the good things seem out-weighed by tragedy. For me the year has been full of anxiety and worries and nightmares springing to life, threatening to take over my world to such a degree that I forget to eat and wash myself. My country (the U.S.) has fallen so far down the rabbit hole that I'm almost afraid to travel to it -- I've been abroad for the entire year, furtively looking around in Europe and South America for other countries I can permanently move to when Bush is elected for a second spectacular term in office. On the upside, I'm doing exactly what I want (making documentaries) about things I think are important -- and I've been able to maintain total independence so I don't have to listen to anyone while I do it. How many people are so lucky?
James Longley, Documentary Filmmaker, Gaza Strip

This takes me back to my brother's situation. Doctors informed us that the area of the brain that was affected by the injuries, would cause him, most likely, to loose speech and movement. As i was visiting him one day, at the neuro-rehabilitation clinic, i thought i heard him say something to our other brother. I didn't leave his side until i made sure, i wasn't hallucinating. He was, in fact, talking to us and one of the first things he said was, my name, Celeste. THAT! was so cool....
Celeste Lanari, PR Manager, Geotecnica S.R.L

New input:

There is a little shop in Neal's Passage in London called Bionyc. They do 'made-to-order' graffiti.
Kristina Perner, Audiopark

Tomorrow: What do you predict for 2004?