So the New Year is striking off on a down-beat note. Differences from the celebrations of other years could not be more marked, at least if we obeyed the conventional wisdom and kept our seasonal conviviality strictly to ourselves.
The which we did, self and memsahib, bingeing on Netflix and scarcely bothering to note the passing of the midnight hour, Or the hour before, the hour this sceptred isle finally thumbed its nose at the European Union.
On this particular day of the New Year’s birth (snow outside, temperature a stimulating 1⁰ C) it’s fashionable to review our past year, looking back on its highs and lows, and that’s so unutterably boring in my case I’ll go for ten years instead…
If the first ten years of this century are to be remembered as ‘The Noughties’, the second should be referred to as ‘The Wokies’. This was the decade when I learned that ‘coloured persons’ were ‘persons of colour’, actresses were actors, and after expunging all the words that were no longer ‘appropriate’ from the Oxford English Dictionary it could be reprinted as a 35-page pamphlet. On the ‘up’ side, I could ‘identify’ as any sex I wanted from a Sears Catalogue of around 250 different styles. ‘News’ became the new Gospel, embellished by writers and presenters alike with ever more emotive language. Of course there were days which lacked ‘news’. Like all good journalists on such days they wrote their own.
Plaintive complaints of ‘no platforming’, terrified screams at ‘cliff edges’ and tombstone-voiced predictions of Armageddon assailed me so I spent my ‘Wokie’ days with loins permanently girded for a ten-year hurricane of wokeness – but was the journey worthwhile? Well, personally I feel like Christian upon discovering the Slough of Despond is just a theme park and the real Vanity Fair looks an awful lot like Cambridge. I dressed for a scourge when I could have got away with a lounge suit. No drama! Two General Elections, a referendum and the severance from a super-state all passed with not a hint of apocalypse. No falls from cliff tops, no carbon monoxide seas wherein to drown, not even a pothole to interrupt the smoothness of the road. The only consequences of the stultifying ‘Wokies’ for me are a complete loss of any sense of direction, and the inescapable conclusion that all signposts have been removed.
So here I am, on the threshold of 2021, with no idea of where I’m going next! But that doesn’t matter because I’m not supposed to go anywhere.
We’re told to stay in our houses. Don’t travel, don’t socialise, don’t ask any more questions. It’s a pandemic, gettit? This is only temporary, until our Greaters and Gooders have made all the money they can extract from it, then you’ll be set free. In the meantime, if you feel like suicide, or murdering your kids, or even learning Welsh, we have people you can talk to – they’re just a helpline away.
‘You’re call is important to us. Continue to hold and one of our advisors will..’.
A bit like Joe Biden, I don’t really know where I go from here. I don’t know what the next decade has in store. I joined the last one in expectation of great adventures, and in the event the adventures weren’t so great, but maybe the ’21s’ will be better. At any rate I must shake off this malaise. I might go out and demonstrate against the slave trader guy whose statue dominates the town square. It isn’t a very good statue so I might help pull it down. He won’t mind, he’s been dead for two hundred years. While I’m in the mood for demonstrating I could join the movement for saving the planet, which apparently involves stopping traffic in City Centres and lying down on motorways. It’s a little cold for that right now, though, so I’ll just write another post for this blog instead…Happy New Year, everyone!
NB: This was the decade in which I retired…I felt the world deserved a break, at the time. Now I’m not so sure.