New Year, and a Life in Captivity

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.

Just Leaving…

Because I am likely to spend the next ten days in Zen-like contemplation of a fine Highland Single Malt this blog is best given a vacation until 2021!

Happy Christmas and a Guid New Year, everybody. 

Stay Safe!

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

20/20 Vision

 

There are bound to be a few contenders for this title, so I might as well make my pitch early.

Well, New Year is with us.  The air smells of cordite, my shirt smells of whiskey, and the house smells like…maybe just open a few windows?

The first thing, I guess, is to christen the decade – like we had the Roaring Twenties last century; how about the Scorching Twenties this time around?  Then we should maybe give a title to the era – the nineteen-twenties absolutely owned prohibition, will the twenty-twenties be remembered for degradation?

I have no personal experience to offer:  contrary to suggestions by certain people, I was not around in the Roaring Twenties; but history suggests that was a time of liberation, a carefree release from the strictures of the corseted Edwardians and their predilection for war and power.  Will this new decade have the same signature of freedom and tolerance?  I wonder.

But setting all that aside, New Year to most of us is a personal thing:   even for cynical old duffers like myself, to whom it should be no more than a flip of a sheet on the calendar by now.   I still sit up and wait dutifully for midnight, listen to an hour of painful contemporary music after the bell has gone, before creeping off to bed.  In spite of my bold comments above, in truth, the memsahib and I rarely party through the night these days. At Christmas mayhap we will – at New Year, no.  It’s such a fuss getting hold of the extra oxygen; I’m not sure which deserted us first – the stamina or the motivation.

The same is not true of everybody.  Witness our neighbors, for whom the clock was clearly an invention too late.  The fireworks start at eight o’clock, conspicuously ignore the witching hour, and splutter to a damp pulp at around two-thirty a.m.  I don’t mind – I just wonder if they’re partying through the night, or…oh, they wouldn’t be, would they?  Well, these days – so many things, darlings, you know? You can’t tell what they’re getting up to.

So here we all are, groggily awake, ready to embark upon our brave new adventure.  I have my kitbag of ‘resolutions’ pruned to one.  I am determined to lose sufficient weight so when I am cremated I can go through a standard-size furnace door.   In which cause all Christmas food still remaining has been banished to the patio.  It is the turn of the birds, now.   Mince pies seem particularly popular – the memsahib informs me it has to do with the alcohol content in the mince:  Rocky Robin has suddenly acquired a much more interesting meaning.

I have tried playing them some music to get a party going but their little hearts aren’t in it.  They are just birds, after all.  Winter is hard for them in our garden – what will they do when the stollen runs out?   The RSPB wants us to do a survey of our garden birds later this month – I hope they will be sober by then.

Aye me!   Another utterly commercial and brazenly damaging annual festival is over and we can all get back to being rude to each other for another year.  I am about to put down this ingeniously sequestered piece of Christmas cake and go to weigh myself for the day.

Wish me luck!