Monday, 11 January 2016


Bluuuurgh … this is hard. By the time you read this you’ll be well clear of the fug and blear of Christmas excess, but today is my first day back at work and I find myself forced to sit almost a foot away from the edge of my desk, as the giant tin of Belgian biscuits I snarfed over the feast metamorphoses into a mountain of midriff bulge.

Unsure exactly how many we were going to have over Christmas, I shopped for the maximum possible amount of guests, and then there were none, leaving myself and the Snapper to work our way through an obscene amount of chocolate, cheese, wine and 
decadent desserts.

With my swollen belly pushing me away from my work, my addled hungover brain finds comfort in rounding up hundreds of thoughts of little consequence, which it then sends spinning around and around my mental mulberry bush, in no particular order.

All around there is the usual guff being spouted about New Year Resolutions, yet I cannot think of a worse time to take a serious look at life. 

We are hairy mammals who should be spending these dark months sleeping 18 hours a day, waking only to guzzle high fat foods and watch the soaps. Instead, every Winter, we put ourselves through one of the busiest and most stressful periods of the calendar.

Much as I love the thought of improving myself, setting targets to drop that, stop this and take on a lot more of the other, I think I’ll leave the major lifestyle changes for a sunny day in April. 

Were I to take a long hard look in the deep dark truthful mirror today, and see the physical wretch I’ve become, I wouldn’t trust any major decisions my feeble mind made.

All I want to do is crawl back into bed and catch up with my natural instincts, but I can’t, as I have to earn a living, so instead I’m going to continue being self-indulgent.

The first bit of weight I’m choosing to lose are the letters R and E, taken from resolutions, leaving me with the far more positive outcome: solutions. 

Sorry, colyoomistas, I’m not about to solve the world’s problems. 
Not this week, anyway. In fact solutions might be too grand a word for what I have in mind, which is simply to make myself feel better by suggesting a few minor changes to my First World existence, while giving thanks that I have the luxury of worrying about such insignificant things.

For starters I’d ban all special offers that treat customers with contempt. They advertise at full shout how this word is absolutely 100% free when you buy the full sentence, while if you buy a full paragraph right now, the next three chapters will be half price. 

However after that, as explained on page 43 of the agreement you didn’t read, each word will double in price every month and you’ll be hooked into a contract that your grandchildren will inherit.

Remove all those disingenuous stickers from hotel bathrooms that suggest we reuse our towels to save the rainforest. If you want to save on your laundry bills, just tell us.

Stop using the word ‘would’ where it’s not necessary. We would ask you to stay in your seats during this turbulence. We would like to wish the families of the deceased all our best wishes. We would ask you to turn off your phone for the duration of the journey … each time I hear that ’would’ my brain feeds me the phrase ‘…but we’re not going to.’

While we’re on words I’m also banning the use of artisan, gourmet, craft and all sentences starting with ‘So…’

This year we’re going to hear a heck of a lot about 1916 and your hard-fought War of Independence. If you want the world to respect your freedom, why not start by respecting your own country? 

Stop dumping your ovens on the bog. Stop dropping Coke cans, Tayto packets and bottles of Buckfast on the roadside. In fact, just stop dropping litter. You have one of the most beautiful countries in the world, so while you’re celebrating it, stop destroying it.

As an Englishman I’m also repeatedly reminded of how there used to be 8 million people living in this country before the famine. Given that, let’s hear no more talk about immigration control. Germany took in over a million migrants last year, yet here Direct Provision is the shame of the nation.

I want people to choose the word acceptance over tolerance - and mean it! Acceptance is a peaceful and positive state of mind, whereas tolerance implies effort and conflict. This might seem pure pedantry to you, but as someone who has endured anti-Semitism, I can tell you the difference is mighty to ethnic minorities.

While we’re at it, let’s have no more euphemisms for human tragedy. Ethnic Cleansing sounds like a spa treatment. Comfort Woman sounds like a padded bra. Genocide, slavery and rape are ugly words for a reason. We must not protect ourselves from them.

Finally, horror of horrors, never (outside of the USA) let an English Breakfast Tea be brought to me as it was in Fuller’s restaurant at Heathrow Airport. 

With Union Jack bunting running along the wall, bangers and mash and London Pride beer, the place pumps its branded Englishness to the travellers of the world. Then they bring a mug of plain hot water to my table, with a tea bag in a packet on the side. Shocking behaviour.

Cor, I feel better now! 

After that wonderfully indulgent moan, my tiny and selfish solutions have cheered me up no end. I can survive without a Fitbit on my wrist. I’ll make it through 2016 without drinking Spirulina or eating Quorn, because all I need is my scribbling. It’s magnificently therapeutic.

To that end, if you make one resolution this January, why not grab a pen and paper and have your own solutions rant?

It works a treat!

©Charlie Adley04.01.16

No comments: