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Monday, January 24, 2011


New Year's Eve. Someone gleefully pointed out that you don't get a blindingly shiny new year after midnight. You don't get the promise of a exponential list of possibilities. What do you get? You get January.

I was sober for New Year's Eve due to complications of having my wisdom teeth out and fallen foul of a 'dry socket', which is where the hole where the teeth once were doesn't scab properly and you get an infection. You also get a group of whimsical gay friends completely without sympathy when you mention you have 'dry socket' because there's lots of braying and "...I'm not surprised at your age, dear..!" leaving you with little more than a wry smile and a glass of water to swill whatever crisps are left in what feels like chasms where your teeth used to be. I find New Year's Eve to be a miserable affair anyway, with a forced Butlins-style jollity forcing everyone to stay up to 2am to fire weak party poppers off a balcony somewhere. Celebrating that you're now into the dank joys of January, where you're going to be inundated with interminable Facebook status updates of how many days people haven't drunk a drop of alcohol, how people's diets are going, and how hideous the Sales were. Although those Runkeeper things on various smartphones are an utter joy, updating us all to how far around the park people have wheezed on the 2nd of January before the updates slowly disappearing til next year. I love those things. Highly detailed monuments to human failings, chittered off with technological indifference and accuracy, and only just stopping short of how many times you stopped to lean up a wall and clutch at your chest before limping back via the newsagent for a Mars Bar.

I take against January because its meant to be a time of change, and it never is. And it certainly isn't going to help eating my body weight in yoghurt, Martine McCutcheon. And I have to do my taxes because I'm self-employed graphic designer and I will now be spending four weeks flopping dramatically around my office with my back of my hand against my forehead, wailing "Why me? Why do I have to find the reciept for those pencils?" The whole thing is an up-hill struggle for me as I now only use one side of my brain and the side for numbers has atrophied like Samantha Mumba's career. It is not helped by my accountant, who steps up the somewhat tart-in-tone letters to almost daily during this month. They tend to start 'As per the letter we sent you dated August 23rd...' with a following request for how much I have spent on blank DVDs, cinema tickets and drinks for 'entertaining' 'clients' for my tax bill. These letters are fine in September, but as you're actually in another year now, it's just a little embarrassing. Add to that the appearance of pre-dame Moira Stewart, the lovely trustworthy newsreader on banners and billboards around the city, telling me that I really should do this by the 31st or I'll be fined. The only way to calmly do this is to imagine the lovely Moira is sitting behind me, coaxing me on. Her honied voice telling me that I'm doing really really well, and as soon as I do this, my reward will be the entire presenting team of Blue Peter will enchant me into a dark closet where they will proceed to lightly lick my forehead. But they never come. They never come. All that happens is I send them off and my accountant will stop the letters. And you can stop looking at me in a sassy, accusatory manner from your billboard perch, Moira Stewart.

Worse, this January atmosphere of semi-revolution is infectious. I promise myself that I'll do it earlier next year, that I won't cause the fuss and the drama. That I won't make fun of people's statuses or sudden can-do attitude that will last for a fortnight. And yet, if I look back over this blog I reckon that this proclamation will be there every year. And that's human nature. And that's January.