Warning – the title of this blog is misleading; I do not intend to establish a ‘new me’ in the ‘new year’, as I have grave doubts as to whether this is medically possible for a start and secondly why would I want to? I’m (pretty much) quite alright (most of the time) as I am, thank you.
But I am continually amazed by the number of people who are keen on ringing in the changes on the 1st January. I set small goals, yet they are still unattainable. To be so puritanical after an orgy of feasting and drinking is ridiculous. And finally the scientists have come out on my side! Detoxification packages are a waste of time apparently, better just to slow down and ease up on the corkscrew, maybe give the sauce a miss 4 nights a week.
Which is hard enough. Pass me the chablis!
Even small goals are proving difficult. ‘Be bolder’ is one of my more generic and positive missives for 2012. However, this has just resulted in me blowing up a ceramic casserole pot by being bold and attempting to use it on the hob. Hmmmph.
Another reason to avoid resolutions for me is my birth date: January 4th (check your diaries for next year; it will be a national holiday). Cursed parents for having me at a time of year where no-one wants to go out and play! It also makes resolving rather pointless; like I’m really going to cut out all the good stuff 3 days before the festival of me.
My birthday is invariably crap, but in such an inifinite variety of ways that I now look forward to seeing what particular brand of mundane it will come up with. My favourite was my 21st, when words such a ‘milestone’ and ‘landmark’ are bandied around and you get those wierd cards with big plastic silver keys on the front; a metaphor for what nowadays? Most of us have done all the things that we shouldn’t by the age of 16, not 21. But for my 21st I was in my local panto, playing the baddie. Buttons had an unrequited thing for me and would go to extreme lengths to get my attention, but in a really perverse way; for example on this particular January 4th he had wound up the kids in the audience so that they really hated me. I don’t know what he said, but I remember I gave up saying my lines in the second scene as no-one could hear the intricacies (ha) of the plot and my characterisation over the boos and hisses of the juveniles in the audience.
But one other tradition from pantoland is the birthday song, when everyone gets wheeled on to have THAT song sung at them by the congregation. Including cast members. So I’m pushed on stage, along with a few witless 7 year olds, to have it sung at us.
But it doesn’t happen. The old man at the piano starts to vamp and the crowd roars. Total mob rule. Buttons does a ‘crumbs’ face at me and scarpers, as an array of coins, sweets and other sticky missiles rains down on us. No-one sang happy birthday. I like to think that we, the 7 year olds and me, looked like the poster for a new Disney adventure film, standing out on the stage, facing the darkness, me in the Tom Hanks role. But we didn’t. WE looked like utter gimps. We just took it for 45 seconds or however long that song lasts. We couldn’t dodge the bullets as the lights were too strong, which meant we couldn’t see them until they were but 2 feet away; we couldn’t shout stop as no-one could hear us over the crowd; we couldn’t get off as people had paid to see this, goddamit, and we WOULD play our part.
I was 21. I should have been out, finding myself, discovering my path. Or at least getting laid.
But I was in a drafty hall on the North East coast being crucified by 9 year olds high on Quality Street.
Happy New Year and Happy Birthday to me.