Friday, 1 January 2016

New Year’s Eve: Avoiding feeling empty or overly-emotional

New Year’s Eve is over and I can’t say I’m feeling too sad about it. However with my evening this year being unusually enjoyable, I thought I would share my guide to celebrating the arrival of a new year in a manner that is as a pain
less as possible.

This year my NYE involved close friends, watching fireworks from the warmth of a living room, wine and then more wine. We decided that a quiet evening of cheese and chat was more appealing than other prospects.

New Year’s Eve plans typically fall into three categories:
1.     Slightly miserable in the cold, standing for hours waiting for fireworks to start.
2.     Slightly miserable at home with a large number of family members where either someone is likely to get too drunk or no one gets drunk enough.
3.     Slightly miserable in a club with a big group of friends where someone is definitely going to get too drunk.

So the fourth plan is the attempt at bringing together the family atmosphere with friends and the excitement of the countdown and fireworks but in a warm environment where the cheese and bed are both easily within reach.

Once the setting is arranged the other elements fall into place… and they are the following:

Stock up
Come midnight when the champagne has hit and you’re feeling a little sad remembering the errors of the year, it is very necessary to have readily available: crisps, hummus, chocolates, cold meats and umm oh yes, cheese.

Have a drinking plan
Two/three bottles of champagne/Prosecco (for normal people) and then a further two/three bottles of wine is just the right amount for the ‘close friends’ scenario. A few glasses of each is a good place to start. Just avoiding charging in with every beverage under the sun is a good enough plan, really.

Do not think too much
If you are reminiscing as a group, keep it light and fun. Discussing the year’s best, or funniest, or even the most embarrassing moments is fairly safe territory. Just stay clear of the obvious categories that could lead to bad realisations, these include: worst moments of the year and the biggest regrets. It’s simple stuff really. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you enter into thinking about the future or all the things that you are yet to achieve in your short existence.

Remember everyone else is feeling pretty miserable, too
This is perhaps the most important element of NYE preparation. This year someone told me, ‘either people admit they hate New Year’s Eve or they lie.’ This is, I think, a fair assessment. New Year’s Eve is never going to be the best night of the year because there is always the lingering thought of what everyone else is doing and whether they are actually having the perfect, ‘When Harry Met Sally’ NYE experience. Well they aren’t. They just aren’t.

So there you have it - a few pointers of how to attempt to enjoy this annual, pointless event. Good luck and remember - where there’s cheddar, things couldn’t get much better.

Friday, 11 April 2014

A couple of poems I've written...


I stand on tiptoes and peer into the ice creams, palms creating a warm icing
On the glass.
I pick honeycomb.
We walk (father, sister and I) the promenade, laced with boats and fishermen
Staring out to a sea that reflected the glint of posts lighting our path.
We walk, unaware of the cold, until we reached the end and looked
Out onto the lighthouse we talked of visiting when the tide was out
But never did.

And we return to our grandmother’s
We are not allowed to talk of the ice cream
And we stay up watching all her favorite soaps
I fall asleep in a camp bed next to my sister
With a nightlight burning orange
And a nightgown too big, by a mile
But the room is so warm.

We walked less and less
And our father needed to get back earlier and earlier
And his hand was not as big to hold as before
When we did walk, I noticed
How loud the children in the arcade were
And how the names of the little boats were disgusting
And how many couples looked empty, like they were on heroin.

And now I no longer need to stand on tip-toes
And the last time I visited
I could feel the cold.

Day of Restlessness

We were brought there, usually late,
with diluted juice and coffee afterwards.
The lingering scent rests
on wooden benches that force our backs upright.
We see the same man, alone and smelling strange.
Breakfast in his beard, salvation in his words.
We talked of him, but never by his name.
My lungs burned when we sang.
My legs balanced, overlooking the obedient herd.
Believing every word,
‘he is seated at the right hand of the Father’
I am seated to the left of my father.
He tiredly repeats and repents.
And I imagine lying on the clouds I saw heaven in.
That night, I prayed and he hasn’t heard.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

'No man is an Island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main;... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.'

Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Survival of James Bond

With the release of the newest Bond film, Skyfall, I thought it would be appropriate to do a Bond-related post. My family have the box-set of Bond films and I’m ashamed to say we’ve made our way through all of them... The first of which, Dr. No, was released in 1962. The films have stood the test of time - despite every one of them pretty much following the same formula. The films are also rather sexiest. In every film, all the female characters fall in love in Bond and seem incredibly unable to defend themselves.

I think what still attracts viewers to James Bond after all these years is how England is presented. The secret services are shown as slick, glamorous and unstoppable. Bond is an idealised version of the sophisticated English gentleman. Everyone likes to pretend that this is what English is like, rather than the reality of fish and chip takeaways and council estates…  I think that with the exception of Americans (who probably do believe that this version of England is accurate) viewers enjoy watching a film where this idea of England is a reality.  

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Paying for our education.

I'm a big believer in state education. I don't agree with free schools or religious schools (but they're both whole other stories) and I would never dream of sending my child to a private school. But I was thinking today about education and I realised that to get somewhere, you really do need money.

The amount of money my parents have spent on books is ridiculous - necessary but ridiculous. Schools trips cost money. Re-marking exam papers costs money. Re-sitting exams costs money. And going to university without your parents' support (in terms of money)?... It doesn't happen for most.

I don't really know what the solution is. We have to pay for supplies... and can't expect the government to fund every individual's education. But it is a great injustice that those born into less afluent families suffer.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The incredible opening lines to an incredicle film.

"Have you ever confused a dream with life? Or stolen something when you have the cash? Have you ever been blue? Or thought your train moving while sitting still? Maybe I was just crazy. Maybe it was the 60's. Or maybe I was just a girl... interrupted."

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Radio stations reading out texts from drivers

I was just listening to Reggie Yates on Radio 1 (because my sister insisted on putting it on...) and he was reading out texts from listeners. One of them read 'Partying while I'm driving!'

I just thought about the fact that drivers text into radio stations while they are driving and how unsafe this is. I've heard so many texts like this read out on Radio 1. It occurred to that by reading out texts from people who were driving, the stations are arguably justifying using mobiles while driving. I think it would better to just ignore those texts and read ones out from those actually texting legally...

This may have been the most boring, old-Conservative-loser type blog post EVER but this just occurred to me!