Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy New Year

I CAN’T quite remember when I fell out of love with New Year’s Eve.

It could have been the year I passed out, comatose, before ten o’clock after being mugged by a bowl of Jamaican punch (Guinness, rum and more Guinness). It could have been the year I ended up in a police cell after a slight disagreement with an unreasonable constable. (I should have known that there were five more of them hiding in the back of the van. And a dog.)

But I’m afraid the whole thing has turned into a terrible drudge. I find it no fun at all.

The timing is crap for a start. You’re already knackered after Christmas and then suddenly you’re forced into this festival of false bonhomie when it’s apparently compulsory to have fun. Well I don’t know about you but when I’m stuck at home for 10 days, faced with yet another 18 hours of dates, nuts and sell-by-date Quality Street (“Three tins for a fiver off a bloke in a pub … isn’t that great?”), I tend to reach for the corkscrew by about half past ten. Consequently, my liver has taken a fearsome battering by December 31st and the last thing my failing body needs is a six-hour stretch of enforced intoxication.

(I looked in the mirror this morning and for the first time in my life I looked a bit like George Best – unfortunately not the 21-year-old version.)

And then there’s the effort of trying to lift your spirits from the sheer ennui of life on leftovers. I bow to no man in my admiration for the traditional Boxing Day brunch of a sliced white sandwich consisting of cold turkey, sausage, stuffing, sprouts, parsnips, bread sauce and cranberry. But one a year is enough, thank you very much. This time around even the joint of ham lingered long after it should have been stripped to the bone. The Christmas Stilton is hardly dented and is already planning to be around at Easter, which means a miserable few months for the other occupants of the fridge.

And then comes this fiesta of fake Scottishness, this celebration of inebriation, where you’re meant to kiss complete strangers, chant some Pictish dirge that no-one knows the words to and generally welcome in another 12 months that you already suspect are going to be a damn sight worse that the previous year. (Yes, Wee Gordie Broon. It’s you I’m pointing the finger at.)

Middle class parties are the worst. You pitch up just before eight clutching your bottle of Zimbabwean Chablis and then have to endure the longest evening of your life. I tend to run out of well-meaning small talk after about 30 minutes. That then leaves five hours of utter boredom, being pinned in the corner by accountants with bad breath or being lectured on our flawed military strategy in Iraq by a model railway enthusiast whose judgment is so flawed that he’s just signed up to a magazine partwork that will allow him to build a scale model of the Flying Scotsman for just £619 over the course of two and a half years.

And there’s no escape. In a misguided spirit of seasonal goodwill you allowed your wife to book the return taxi for 1.30am, and there’s no chance of phoning up to get it brought forward. So you’re stuck, with only Martini or Advocaat left to drink, a downstairs toilet bunged up with sick (a Boxing Day sandwich by the look of it) and a woman with laddered tights in tears on the stairs. Deep joy. And a Happy New Year to you all.

AND ANOTHER thing – this Jools Holland’s Hootenanny nonsense, with a curiously-haired, thumbs up-waving Sir Paul McCartney and a decidedly rough looking Kylie Minogue. Does anyone really think that all these celebs willingly gave up the misery of waiting for a 1.30am taxi at some dreary party to spend their New Year’s Eve in a television studio? Of course not.

It was actually recorded on December 20th, complete with midnight countdown. First the Blue Peter cat, now this. What depths of deception will the BBC sink to next?

YOU MAY have noticed that our entire motorway network has been disrupted in recent years while large information screens were erected at the side of the road. At least, I thought while sitting in yet another contraflow, they’ll make life a bit easier when they’re up and running and telling us how to avoid the traffic jams ahead. Fat chance.

Despite the tens of million of pounds that must have been spent on them, I have yet to see a single one offering any kind sensible advice. Driving through heavy rain the other week, the signs helpfully flashed up: “Spray. Slow Down”. Yes, thank you, I’d actually noticed.

Other messages include things like “Junction 13 - 30 miles, 30 minutes”. Don’t be silly. I’m doing 85mph. I’ll be there in 21 minutes, tops. And then there’s the classic “Danger – Fog”, displayed in fog so thick that you couldn’t actually see the sign until you were crawling beneath it.

If we’re going to spend all this money erecting all these fancy screens, surely we’ve put in place a network that gets the latest information to the right screens at the right time? Haven’t we?

I SAW a man walking through our village last week wearing hiking boots, a fluorescent kagoul and carrying a pair of short ski poles, which he thrust vigorously into the ground at every step as if he was climbing the north face of the Eiger.

One problem. The road through the village is completely flat. The surface is tarmac, not glacial ice. And there isn’t a hill for miles. What’s that all about then?


Blogger Auld Greetin Face said...

With you on the ski pole nonsense Bazza.I worked with a couple of guys that went climbing (if you can call it that) and they had all the foul weather gear as well as ice-axes, when they proudly showed a couple of the pics they had taken at the top of the dangerous climb there was a young lad in the background with a pair of trainers and a "T" shirt on - what a load of bollocks!!!!!

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Fat Tony said...

It's called "Nordic Walking".

Apparently they just call it "walking" in nordic countries.

2:36 AM  
Anonymous skydog said...

I'm glad you all had a shit 'New Year' or Hogmanay as the 'Porridge Wogs' term it. I was working nights this year so I had a great time being left alone and not bothered by any bugger ... and I didn't spend NY day in a delerium of crapulence and empty paracetamol packets.


4:18 AM  
Anonymous skydog said...

Fat Tony:'Apparently they just call it "walking" in nordic countries.'

A misnomer if ever there was Tony. The Nordic tribespeople all migrate around in Volvo 'intelligent traction' (WTF?) 4 X 4's these days, hence all those dead reindeer and squashed lemmings at the sides of the roads there gleefully mowed down by Nordic DUI drivers.... On New Years Eve. ;o)

4:22 AM  
Anonymous Al said...

Jools' Hootenanay scam came to light a few years back when he was also involved in a show covered live on ITV to see the New Year in. So the same person was "live" on two TV channels in two different places.

5:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skydog you English twat - Hogmanay is New Year's eve. Do they teach you fuck all down there?

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Jerry said...

Re the silly signs over the motorways, the reason that they put '30 minutes to M25 J4' on the signs is that it is the only information on them that bears any resemblance whatsoever to reality, even if it is unrealistic.
The ones on the M27 will tell you that there is a 'queue at next exit' and impose a 40 MPH limit 2 1/2 miles before the next exit when there are only 3 cars on the road between Southampton and Havant!

5:14 PM  
Anonymous skydog said...

Anon:'Skydog you English twat - Hogmanay is New Year's eve. Do they teach you fuck all down there?'

Not about what's 'up there' you Scots git. Why would they?

And that's 'Inglish Bastart' if you don't mind ye pleuchy ned midden ye!

5:17 AM  
Anonymous Erik the Red said...

I spent some years in the Nordic countries and managed to get about perfectly well without poles.

However, driving about in my Volvo I should mention that the very least I was worried about were lemmings and reindeer. It was Elk we were afraid of! The law requires one to drive on main beam at all times and these brutes (aka Moose) are attracted to the lights; like huge moths they could slam into your radiator panel and no amount of impact resistant safety bars or airbags can prepare you for that experience.

You could always recognise the victims of such misfortune. They had to walk around with the assistance of sticks.

2:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skydog you really are a fanny

3:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not going to Scandinavia, then, Erik. Riding motorcycles for years, it's one thing to get flies and moths in one's teeth when riding at night, quite another to get Elks.

Somehow, I don't think walking sticks would be enough, post Elk. And definitely not a set of braces.

Yes, we get the walking stick brigade up here, too. They make Chris Bonnington look underdressed: bright red gear, dark glasses (and it's pissing it down and murky), 2 walking sticks, a rucksack, a map (each) around their necks, and colour co-ordinated hats and gloves.

To walk along a footpath which is regularly dressed and not even Mark Thatcher could get lost on it.

"Look, we're OUT WALKING", poncey pillocks.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

auld greetin face, that wouldn't have been Snowdon by any chance.....where you can take the dangerous route or just hop on the train?

Have to agree though, its one thing using them poles across a moor but they look bloody daft anywhere else. Apparently the arm movement it entails is good for the heart. About the same as they tell me.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry, please tell me what time of the 24 hr clock it is when there are only 3 cars between Havant & Southampton on the M27?

Or would that be the 3 plod cars when they have closed the entire motorway for the day so's thay can pick up a few bits of indicator lens?

1:43 PM  
Anonymous jimpatch said...

Hi Bazza

Ref Nadine Baggot etc. Have you encountered the 'Dental Market Researcher' providing valuable advice on how to care for your teeth? About as credible as wee Gordie telling us that Northern Wreck will be safe in the hands of the ballooning beardie!

10:53 AM  

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