Another Christmas done. Personally, I spent an extremely tranquil, low-key, Christmas Day – no turkey, no bloody relatives, no Queen’s speech. Yet, despite all my determination to break with tradition, on Christmas Eve I found myself watching the Midnight Mass on BBC1 (I tried watching the ITV equivalent, but found it was being presented by Mylene Klass and populated with minor league celebrities – we get enough of their bollocks the rest of the year, so I changed channels). I haven’t done that in years. I’m not religious, quite the opposite, but I felt a powerful urge to watch this. I suspect that it was all about seeking comfort in familiarity. Time was that – when there were only three TV channels – that everyone saw in Christmas watching this, (unless they were at the real thing in their local church, something I can’t do as I’m such a sinner the water would boil in the font and I’d risk being struck by a thunderbolt as I entered the church). When I was a kid, it just wasn’t Christmas until you’d gone through this ritual.
Familiarity becomes ever more important as you get older. Certainly that’s my experience. Like it or not, as the years pass by, we gradually lose touch with what’s ‘current’ and ‘in’, not to mention ‘trendy’. You realise just how much energy you are wasting trying to ‘keep up’ – as for familiarising oneself with new technology, well, who has the time? And what’s the point, when you know that the old ways still work? So, in the face of an ever-changing world you can’t keep up with, (even if you wanted to), you instead seek reassurance in the familiar. It’s what nostalgia is based on. Of course, you have to be careful of this yearning for times past, as it can all too easily abused: let’s face it, Bexit was, in part, the result of a nostalgia for a past that had never really existed, fueled by unscrupulous right-wing politicians.
But, to return to the point, this yearning for familiarity is particularly powerful at Christmas: we all seem doomed to continually try and recreate the Christmases of our childhoods, or rather, our inaccurate memories of what we think they were like. I know that I did. For quite a while after I turned my back on family Christmases in favour of going solo, I tried to replicate aspects of those Christmases of yore, in what I ate, when I ate it, what I watched, etc. But it was pointless, it could never be the same. Besides, there was a reason I stopped participating in those Christmases: all too often they were crap, wracked by arguments and petty disputes which rendered them utterly miserable. I yearned for them to end. So, I gradually shed those vestiges of Christmases past and started just taking the season as it came. I’ve enjoyed it a lot more since I shrugged off tradition. Which makes this year’s lapse into tradition in the form of the TV midnight mass all the more puzzling. That said, I did enjoy it – although that might have something to do with the glass of whiskey which accompanied it.
Still, like I said, Christmas is over and we’re into a new year. Mind you, that’s all bound up with ‘tradition’, too. One of the things I could never buy into about the New Year is the idea, perpetuated by people who should know better, that once the tired old year expires at midnight, we step into a brand new, freshly minted, year, where we can all start afresh, putting our problems behind us. If only. Unfortunately, experience has taught me that life simply doesn’t work that way: the problems you had on New Year’s Eve will still be there on New Year’s Day – and beyond. It is also the time of year when we are inundated, via the media, with all manner of uplifting advice for improving our lives. Apparently the secret of success is to be the ‘best version of yourself you can’. Whatever the fuck that means.
But hey, it wasn’t just the end of year this time, but the end of a decade, as well. Which means that not only did we have to spend several days putting up with those futile retrospectives of the past year, but of the entire decade. I do so hate them – they are thing I dread most about the time of year. They are simply a way for lazy journalists and TV programme makers to fill up column inches and broadcast hours without actually putting in any effort. I don’t need to be told what happened over the past twelve months, I know what happened – I lived through it at the time. Nevertheless, I have to say that, creatively, I’ve found the past year very difficult. How I’ve managed to keep any kind of schedule here at <b>The Sleaze</b> is beyond me. Inspiration has been sadly lacking, but I’ve somehow been able to come up with stories at the last minute from the sketchiest of ideas. Other times, I’ve managed to use posts from my blog as the unlikeliest of source material for stories. It really has been a struggle. You’d think, though, with everything that has gone on in the world over the last twelve months, coming up with satirical stories about it all would be easy. The trouble is, though, that much of what is now happening seems beyond satire. I mean, Boris Johnson, a morally degenerate liar and proven political incompetent with no moral compass, is Prime Minister. Elected with a majority in parliament. You just can’t satirise this shit. Rather than making me laugh, it just makes me despair for the future of the human race. And you know what’s really bad? That nobody seems to care. The world is going to Hell and the majority don’t seem to give a shit. On that optimistic note, I’m going back to doing nothing.