2016, a supposed global annus horribilis, is over.
Never has year created so much debate, column inches and streams of gobbledegook on twitter. The year of apparent discontent was unique in seeing a plethora of ancient A list celebrities bumped off at alarming rate; almost like a season finale of The Sopranos.
Amongst other mournful moments moronic politics became the opiate for the masses: Brexit and Trump became gauche vehicles for the small racist minds of parochial pastures. The mess that is left is now a platform for the liberal left to wallow in and reason for them to spout their tiresome badly-dressed rhetoric.
I, on the other hand, rather enjoyed the year. The only downsides were the decline of English Test cricket, myself being a first-hand witness to a dog being fatally hit by a car and the diminished spectacle of a five horse King George V.
The sun shone for short periods of time and kaleidoscopes of butterflies fluttered, when required. Unfortunately, my Barbour jacket has begun to crumble and there is a hole in my shoe that appears irreplaceable.
Nevertheless, 2016 was a great year for me – I have spent a lot of it today travelling around like an affluent gypsy, spent time with old friends and made some excellent new friends. But, this happens every year.
Anyways, 2016 is so last year and now is certainly not the time to look back. The New Year is a time to seize the day like a Roman General on the morning of a battle or a love-struck teenager on the chase of his vanquished love.
In fact, the word January is thought by some to be derived from the Latin word ianua, meaning door, since the month is the door to the year.
People close the door of last year and attempt to begin this year “as a better person”: Dry-January to expand the liver, endless gym sessions to reduce the waist and – with the new found clarity – a more studious approach to life. The tube is packed to the rafters with souls, who would ordinarily be glued to a phone, reading new novels, often presents from distant relatives.
January does indeed represent my highest reading output. And, I was lucky enough to receive a Waterstones voucher so could chose my swag myself. An elegant AP McCoy coffee table book that documents the Northern Irishman’s career and comes with some stupendous pictures to boot. Love Letters of Great Men: for I am great in some circles and should one day like to find a love to craft a note d’amour, with perhaps a little aid from the leviathans of past.
I also acquired the iconic compendium of poetry by the titan Ted Hughes, Birthday Letters. Hughes – who obviously doesn’t make the previous book on account of two of his wives committing suicide – snarls and crackles beauty in this painfully honest collection. It is certainly poetry to be read in the cold by a blustery lake. In addition, Eleven Kinds of Loneliness by Richard Yates, which is 11 short stories of the veneer of The American Dream and the melancholia and ennui behind the suits and picket fences – all very Mad Men!
So, full to the gills with romantic and depressing books how will I walk through the door of 2017?
Hopefully drunk and with a beautiful woman at my side!
Needless to say, January is a far less raucous affair than its unruly brother, December, and I will be starting a one man fad: no, not Dry-Jan – thank yo very much – but Fitness-Jan, tally-ho!
Dr Hunter “Patch” Adams’s research states that there is unquestionably a link between laughter and good health – I suspect that Dry-Janophiles do not laugh. So to get this healthy body I shall drink – though less than normal – and smile and laugh. Furthermore, as a Fitness-Janophile I am inked to play squash daily and have decided to take up that grimly middle-class pursuit: jogging.
Alongside Dr.Adams’s findings I have made my own scientific discovery. The endorphins from exercise coupled with a shared glass of wine should have the ‘athlete’ grinning all the way through to February.
So, dear reader, if you find yourself at a low ebb – i.e. watching casualty with a glass of carrot juice and a stick of celery – go for a run and think of lions and zebras pounding along the Serengeti. But, don’t forget that little oasis of Sauvignon smiling at the end of the mirage.
I’ll run to that!