Saturday, 7 January 2012

Reality check . . .

Christmas is over. There. That's now dealt with. I know a great many people fear January with a passion. The empty month looming ahead. The undecorated living room. Food that doesn't contain 90% lard. It makes you want to weep. YOU maybe but, for the moment at least, not me. Having dragged the tree and tinsel back to the furthest reaches of the garden shed, I slapped my hands together and prepared for 2012. By visiting a nuclear bunker. Yes, I could think of no better way to greet the new year other than by descending into Mother Earth and reliving every nightmare brought on by the BBC's Threads in the 1980s.

Wish you were here? No . . .
Kelvedon Hatch was the bunker in which Thatcher et al would have hunkered down as the rest of the nation was vaporised. Not so much a bunker, more a small town was the impression that I got. It was equipped with a small hospital, offices galore, a massive industrial kitchen and even a BBC studio. As the remnants of humanity were breathing in fallout on the surface, at least they could have done so knowing that Gloria Hunniford was spinning discs in safety.

There is always a need for a bit of comfort telly first thing in January. For a couple of years, this was provided by Celebrity Big Brother. Having seen the line-up for 2012, I visibly sagged and my brain went into standby mode. I've managed to ween myself off most God-awful TV. The last series of the X Factor was definitely (probably . . .) the last one I'll bother with. Celeb BB seems to be peoopled by the usual rent-a-blondes with the ratty hair and black eyes. Add to that a non-entity rapper, a Corrie barmaid and Sonia Jackson from EastEnders and you can feel, the will to watch draining from the nation.

She's gorne forever, ain't she?
Speaking of Enders, I tuned in to the old nonsense on New Year's Day. Now I haven't watched it for a few years so was saddened to discover that Michelle Fowler and Doctor Legg are no longer residents. The only reason I switched it on was to see Pat Butcher in her death throws. Fat Pat. I remember her joining the show back in 1947 (well, it was quite a few years ago), with her peroxide 'biker's helmet' hairdo and M & S flasher mack. For the first year Pat was, if we're being honest, a bit of an old slag. She was the type of woman who lit one fag from the dying embers of her last one and drank the dregs from glasses at parties. However twelve months of being a right old cow began to wear thin, so the producers had Pat beaten up and left for dead. She emerged from her coma as the matriach who snuffed it last week. A nifty bit of re-writing saved us from twenty five years of having to view some clapped out tart propping up the bar at the Queen Vic. She just served from the other side instead.

I'm greeting 2012 then with a pile of books to read, some interesting music to discover (check out Michael Kiwanuka and Bry Webb) plus a few visits to the gym. Already the place is being overrun by chub-armed women and middle managers in corporate gymwear (You work for JP Morgan? Well done you!) I may just escape to a nuclear bunker for a few weeks. Happy New Year!

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