Wednesday, 30 December 2009

An Annual Audit

And other things which begin with a letter A. This is going to be tremendously self-indulgent so look away now.

Things which have been good about 2009:

1- How unexpected everything was. This applies to suddenly writing a play, randomly visiting a lot of the world without ever intending to, doing well with some jokes, Scott Mills The Musical, Edelpanto, starting a blog, people actually reading it, usw. I would have expected a lot of same old for this year, and it threw a lot of excitement my way. And, of course, Fulham being wonderfully unuseless all year.

2- Pals. Pals getting married, pals having kids (well, I am in my earlymidtolate30s, so I guess that would been inevitable) but also, and almost mainly, the new pals. There's the one in Ameriky, there's the one who came to London with mud on his boots drinking Malibu, there's the semi-Scottish bass, there's the one who does writing who I've known for a couple of years but who became more of a pal, there's his excellent award-winning missus, there's the SMTM pals... I have done well for pals (overusing the word now, but it's one I like) this year. Plus the old faithfuls, of course, who should feel in no way denigrated by that description. I am unusually lucky when it comes to friendship.

3- Sky Plus. I am one of those hypocrites who despises the Murdoch Empire, but nonetheless adores coming home from the pub to find that the magic box made of science has recorded 30 Rock without my even remembering it was on. NB: if James Murdoch and David Cameron plot between them to take away the BBC, as seems likely, I will belatedly discover some principles and throw it away, possibly in some kind of ceremony.

4- The discovery that in amongst all the random numptyness on the internet there is still a lot of wit, honesty and righteous decency . I discovered SYB this year, and Enemies of Reason, and all manner of good things said by sensible people. It just goes to show you can't be too careful (ooh, thanks too to David, for taking a good pub idea and making an unexpected number of people spread the word).

5- The fact that I had four things which were good. I bet I could think of more, too, but it's late and I'm tired.

Bad things about 2009:

1- Let's not. It's Christmas, still, nearly. What with bombings and executions and Horne and Corden's sketch show and climate change and climate change deniers and expenses and banking and and and and it's probably depressing enough. And come the spring, George Osborne is going to be the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Now I'm really depressed.

On the plus side, though, I have been bought a food processor. So, whatever happens, 2010 will be a bonanza of soups and stews.

Happy New Year, kids. May this last year of a weird decade bring you everything you dream of, unless you dream of rubbish things.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

I did a pome.

This is a poem I wrote for my sister, about my niece.

"My Niece, September

Today is Hope’s birthday. A pleasing phrase;
One of many which will show up over the years.
‘Can you see Hope?’ ‘Hope makes me smile’
How can hope be gone, or one lose hope

When Hope is in the world? Now we know
What’s in a name. In the darkest corner
Of Pandora’s Box, after the darkest times
There lurked the solution, the happiness-hit.

‘Hope, ta-da!’ as the man said. From the first
That sparky little girl made herself known,
Her personality felt. A birth canal? Don’t be wet.
Coming through the hipbone, that’s a challenge.

And so she entered the world in a manner
Perhaps more complicated (I can use euphemisms:
I’m not her mother) than most, and yet
Utterly characteristic. ‘This is how I do things

And if something seems difficult, that’s the cue
To keep hammering away until crowned
With glorious, hard-won success’. Some Ratcliffe granite
Seaming through the languid Taylorness.

Months earlier, three had become four, and now
Four and a bump became four and a bit, then
Slowly, quickly, wonderfully, five. A person
Grown from scratch, as a dock-leaf for grief-

Not to take it away, but to soothe it, assuage,
And with her newness to make the old less raw.
We laugh with someone discovering laughter
We dress a cut knee with a promise the pain will end.

There is another noun, my beautiful girl,
That folk have turned into a name; like yours
It is a sound to describe something to feel, and you
Possess and exude its name as utterly as your own;

The embodiment, not just of Hope,
But of Joy."

December 2009

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Esprit d'escalier

What he (sharp suit, university education) said:

'I don't mind immigration if it's people who want to contribute, what bothers me are all these asylum seekers sitting around on benefits not even trying to work'

What I said:

'Well, asylum seekers aren't allowed to work'

What I should have said:

'Why not get even the vaguest bit informed before you presume to hold forth on something so important, you greedy, complacent, willfully ignorant fucking moron?'