bulk :: 19st
cigarettes smoked :: 0
alcohol units drunk :: 12
runs run :: 4
Aaah, February. The cruellest month. Oh wait, I lie – January is the cruellest month, by a long, cruel chalk. And the good news is: it’s over! And although it was cruel in places, it also actually proved quite a glorious month, all told. So glorious in fact, that I reckon composing a list of five of the most glorious things about January will be a piece of cake. Let’s see:
5 Genuinely Excellent Things About January
1) I lost almost a stone in weight. That’s 14 pounds to you, my American cousins. Or 6.35 kilos for those of you who shun the imperial wealth of the stone and insist on living in the 21st century.
What this means is that if I manage to keep this up, I will have reached my ideal weight by the end of August. At which point I will have to do something to regulate my diet. Otherwise by August 2009, I will have completely disappeared.
2) The people I’ve ‘met’ through this blog, and the internet in general. I started this blog with high hopes indeed but if I’m honest, I never expected anything like the reaction I’ve achieved so far. I suspected that I’d grow tired of the sound of my own voice and the feeling that I was pleasuring myself alone in the dark, as I have with other online ventures in the past. So thank you to all of you who have shared your thoughts and opinions with me thus far. They really do mean the world to me, and the fact that I already feel so much better than I did last year is in large part down to you. Thank you.
Also the people I’ve got to know on various talk forums. I know it’s been said a billion times for a billion reasons, but really, it hit me more than ever this month: the internet really is amazing.
Thanks especially to The Spearmint Killer. Sometimes positive feelings can be derived from knowing that no matter what happens, no matter how bad things get, you will never put gum in a woman’s hair. Nor want to.
3) I’ve stopped smoking. Alright, I had a couple of setbacks last week, but they were both pretty extraordinary – pushy Turks and wacky baccy. I know it all counts and it means I have smoked this month, but I haven’t smoked since then and I genuinely feel that I have broken the habit. And once I’d kicked the Nicorette, it really wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. Plus, the morning phlegm jamboree is already beginning to ease off.
4) Getting out there. I’ve done loads of things this month. In fact, this month has been my busiest month for years, maybe even ever. I’m working quite a lot at the moment, I went to Istanbul for the first time, and let's not forget Peckham! I now go running regularly, and last night I went with Patricia (who is a cellist by trade – don’t let Keith know how incredibly sexy I find this) to the Royal Festival Hall to see some ‘contemporary music’ being performed. The composer was one Luca Francesconi.
Now, call me old fashioned, but I like a melody in my music. And I like to be moved, damn it. The music we heard last night was contemporary music in the same way that a pile of bricks is modern art. It was the kind of stuff that brings out the reactionary in people like me. I mean, it was fun, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t seem - to the untrained ear at least, and I fully admit that I probably just don’t understand it - that anyone could possible have sat down and written it. It was just this discordant cacophony. And you would never be able to tell if someone played a bum note. Or even if they had their sheet music upside down. At some stage during the first piece, I heard a noise that sounded like a fire alarm, and I thought, ‘Heh. This music is so wacky that even if a fire alarm went off now, everyone would assume it was just part of the “contemporary feel”. In fact, it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if one of the musicians started to play the mobile phone.’ For I had assumed that the intermittent bell sound was indeed part of the music. There were some pretty unusual instruments on stage after all. But then I realised, as did the rest of the audience at probably the same time – after two or three bursts, that it was in fact a fire alarm, or some kind of alarm, going off in a nearby corridor.
Glances of concern rippled through the audience. Not concern that the place was going to burn down - the alarm was too far away to be one of genuine danger, but too close by to be ignored. The concern was mostly for the orchestra, who despite the obvious distraction, played on.
Until about after a minute, when the conductor brought proceedings to a halt and apologised to the audience. He explained that it wasn’t fair to continue, and that he would wait till they found out what was going on.
And so we sat in a fairly excruciating silence – apart from this bloody alarm, which went riiiiiiiiiiing riiiiiiiiiiing riiiiiiiiiiing - for about another minute. Then it stopped. There was applause. Patricia giggled next to me.
Then the piece began again. The same way it had begun the first time, which was with this eccentric-looking man plinking away slowly at his cimbalom. Now I’d never seen a cimbalom before and when they wheeled it on stage between the two pieces, I’d assumed there was going to be a game of table football played during the music – you know, as a contemporary gesture. But no. It was a cimbalom. Like a cross between a xylophone and a naked piano.
So when the guy started plinking away again, for some reason, Patricia (who you would think as a professional cellist would know better) was suddenly grabbing onto my arm and shaking violently. At first I thought she was having a epileptic fit, but it turned out to be a fit of the giggles. She managed to more or less keep a lid on it I think, so that no one else noticed, but it was touch and go for a moment. Then, gradually, as the piece picked up and the other instruments started pushing and shoving their way into the mix, Patricia regained her composure.
Then, at about the same point in the piece that the alarm had started last time, you’ll never guess what happened. That’s right, the alarm went off again. Patricia let out a little whoop and buried her head again. It probably lasted two minutes and this time the orchestra played through it till the end when the applause was, at least from where I was sitting, more of relief than anything else. It was excruciating though, whilst the bell was actually ringing, and you couldn’t help thinking that when the concert was over, backstage heads would be rolling at the RFH.
However, all that said, it was hilarious. But that’s not the point. The point is, I’m just much happier in general being out there, going out and doing things. I feel more confident, less self-conscious and generally happier. In fact, I feel fitter, happier, more productive. So that’s good. Heck, what am I saying? That’s great!
5) Ryanair’s Schoolgirl Ad. And there I was thinking they were a bunch of evil, money-grubbing, misanthropic shysters. How wrong I was. They’re a bunch of moronic evil, money-grubbing, misanthropic and misogynistic shysters. Surely this ad and the fact that they’re trying to appeal to men who want to fuck little girls is just going to damage them. Surely there’s no way that they could possibly be successful in raking in the 'acceptable paedophile dollar', as it's commonly known. What on earth are they playing at though? It's madness. Michael O'Leary clearly thinks he's Hugh Hefner. Before the year is out, he'll be pioneering Aeroporn. Mark my words.
I've included this by the way, because I want to believe it's the beginning of the end for Ryanair. (But I kind of know it's not.)
As I was writing this, I thought about those memes that people on the internet do and I wondered whether I should send this to some other bloggers who’ve befriended me over the last month and find out whether they’d like to talk briefly about five genuinely excellent things that had happened in their January, but then I thought, what if they all ignore me? I’d just feel really depressed, and that would get February off to a rotten start. And I don’t really know enough about blogging to know if they are commonly despised or not. Tagging someone with a meme is after all just like sending a chain letter. And no one likes that. So what I’m going to do is say here that I’m going to do no such thing, and then secretly forward it on to a couple of people and see if they bite. If they don’t, no one need ever be any the wiser.
Now I have an appointment with the inland revenue. Bugger. Maybe this is the cruellest month after all.
Update: Sweet Memes are made of this.