Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to one and all. (Or, for my Jerusalem-based readers, Happy Sylvester). Well, we’re now five days in and so far the year has not been too bad at all. I didn’t exactly bring it in with much style. I was down in Bournemouth with my parents who started the year as they intend to continue by going out to play bridge. So I was left on my own (plus ca change) with Scrappino (and Jonathan Ross) to see in 2006.

To be honest, I wasn’t too upset. New Year’s Eve parties are always a staggering disappointment. The weather is invariably freezing; you can never decide which party to attend and whichever one you do eventually go to, you spend the entire evening wishing you’d chosen another. On New Year’s Eve, it always seems like everyone else is having a great time while you’re dragging yourself through the crappest party since the school after-panto disco. So, I was actually quite happy to stay in with Scrappino and the TV. Unfortunately, Scrappino wimped out at 10.30 and begged to go to bed. I did my best to keep him awake with offers of chocolate and Dr Who DVD’s, but the role reversal just got too ridiculous, even for me, and I eventually relented and let him go to sleep. So, I was left with Jonathan Ross and an array of celebrity luvvies, who were recapping on the best TV moments of 2005. Sad to say, and heartbreaking to admit, I remember most of the TV moments like they were yesterday. Clearly, I have watched far too much telly this year (for which, see below) as I could recall almost every clip that was shown, down to the finest detail. But it was something to do til the clock struck midnight. At which point, I turned off the TV and, sober as a judge, but not regretting my party venue decision, I went to bed.

Now, I have made five New Year Resolutions. I realise this might sound over-optimistic. All the experts (by which, of course, I mean, the recently graduated freelance journalists who write the obligatory New Years Resolution stories in the glossy magazines) advise that you should make one resolution only so that you can realistically stick to it. I, however, know myself fairly well, and I am confident that I will almost certainly fail to keep at least two of them. So I figured if I made five resolutions, fail at two, I’ll end up keeping three. Which is better than opting for just the one in the first place. (See, now I’m a New Year’s Resolution expert. I should be sending this in to Bella, I really should).

New Year’s Resolutions – 2006 – in no particular order:

1. Give up smoking. I have to point out, for the sake of close family members who are, at this very moment, no doubt jumping up and down with rage, that I’m not exactly a 60-a-day person. In fact, I don’t smoke at home (Scrappino’s lungs being little and clean and quite precious), or at work (regular fag breaks make employees look lazy) or in the street (where do I begin? It’s common, litters the street with fag-ends, makes your hands freeze or your gloves smell, the list is endless). So, I frequently go for days, if not weeks, without smoking at all. That said, I must admit to lighting up in company, at parties or if I’m out for a drink. But not any more. Despite the various stresses and strains looming in the coming months, I am determined that I have now smoked my last cigarette. I’m not even going to cadge a crafty one off strangers in order to start up a conversation. My name is Suburbanhymns and I have been free of nicotine for five days.

2. Watch less TV. I have a dream of one day writing an award-winning TV drama. It’ll be funny and thought-provoking and challenging and dramatic. One of those must-see, seminal TV ‘events’ that define an age. (So, not a ridiculously over-ambitious dream, then). I’ve even practiced my BAFTA acceptance speech. (Ooh, I hope Christopher Eccleston presents it). Anyway, this pipe-dream allows me to forgive myself whenever I watch too much TV because I’m able to convince myself that it’s all in the name of research. However terrible the programme, I can usually argue that it’s all good preparation and that it serves as a lesson in characterisation, scene building, dramatic tension and story development. This is, clearly, bollocks. Watching crap TV does nothing but addle my brain and it has to stop. So, starting from now, I’m allowing myself 1 hour a day, maximum. Radio 4, it goes without saying, will be available on a 24/7 drip-feed loop. I’m not going completely cold-turkey.

3. Lose half a stone. See, I tell people that I need to lose weight and they reply (bless their hearts) that I look fine. Which, if I’m honest, I probably do. The only problem with the people who give this kind advice is that they haven’t seen me naked. I mean, I know I look fine in jeans. It’s just that once I’ve stepped out of the jeans, things go a bit, well, sort of, wobbly. I know I don’t need to shed bucket loads of weight. But a half-stone would be perfect. So, I’m not going to go mad or anything. No Cabbage Soup Diet or F-Plan for me. Just slightly less chocolate and a bit more exercise and I should be back to a size 10/12 in no time. (For American readers, that’s an English size 10/12. Not an American 10/12. I’m not that wobbly.)

4. Entertain more. I don’t mean, tell more, or better, jokes. I mean, invite people round to the flat more often. I’ll let you into a secret (and this is 100% true) I have an irrational fear of inviting people round to my flat for dinner. I love it when friends pop in unannounced. I’m great with the ‘come round for a drink and a DVD’ scenario. But actually sitting people round the table and cooking a meal for them makes me go cold. I just can’t do it. But I am always being invited to dinner by friends and family, and it’s got to the point where I simply have to return the invitations. I’m not yet sure how I’m going to stick to this resolution. I may have to wean myself in slowly by requesting that guests bring a salad or a dessert with them. But I’m determined to crack this. Face the fear and fight the phobia. As the self-help industry would say.

5. Find love. I have been happily single for a few years. I’ve done things I’ve wanted to do, when I’ve wanted to do them, and I have loved the independence and freedom that it’s brought. It’s been a wonderfully liberating and empowering experience. And the icing on the cake is that I’ve been able to spend time with Scrappino that I simply couldn’t have done if I’d been bogged down by the nitty gritty of a relationship. But I think the time has come to think binary. This is the year to double up. I’m going to keep myself open to opportunities and offers. When friends suggest colleagues and cousins for me to meet, I’m going to say yes. When strangers ask me for my phone number, I’m going to give it to them. And maybe, who knows? If I do find love in 2006 I won’t need the cigarettes, I’ll be too busy to watch TV, I’ll have an incentive to lose that half a stone and I’ll have a helping hand in the kitchen when folk come round for dinner? Sorted.


Blogger baldricka said...

Beware of saying yes to all offers of dates! It seems a good idea at the time but weariness soon sets in! Good Luck.

9:51 am  
Blogger R.x said...

you are right, of course. but if i can't watch telly, smoke or eat chocolate, there's not much incentive to stay home, is there? plus, you know what they say. nothing ventured - nothing announced in the jc...

1:12 pm  
Blogger bangedmyhead said...

to quote the birthday boy, "mazalda laben"

good luck with the resolutions, and "I'm only trying to help (roland)"


1:20 pm  
Blogger Elster said...

Happy New Year's and excellent resolutions. If I had to pick three of five resolutions for you to stick with, I'd go with 1, 2 and 3. Quitting smoking is imperative, watching less tv is always a good thing and losing weight is good (though I will admit to not knowing how much weight's in a stone? It is more like a pebble or closer to a boulder?

8:51 pm  
Blogger MC Aryeh said...

For # 4, perhaps if you just invited people without specifying a time or day - that way it would be a cross between you inviting them for a sit-down meal and them dropping in uninvited - it would be easier to tackle. But if you are only keeping two, I vote for 1 (for your health) and 5 (because I am a hopless romantic). So much easier to make resolutions when you can get rid of more than half of them at the get-go. Very liberating...

Also, you've been memed again...

8:08 am  
Anonymous ploni.annoni said...

No beauty she doth miss,
When all her robes are on;
But Beauty's self she is,
When all her robes are gone.

5:30 pm  

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