Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Reasons to be cheerful..

War, famine, racism, religious bigotry, terrorism, climate change, national debt, oil spills, corrupt banks, greedy faceless corporations an inept coalition government dragging us back into the late 70's, Simon Cowell, Eastenders....... Yes, we're living in very dark and dangerous times indeed and some people love nothing more than to revel in highlighting these things.

- "oh those greedy bastard bankers and their bonuses being funded by the Rothschild's and their Illuminati cohorts! We're all doomed!!"

- "i say Marjory! Grab the tinfoil hats and head for the garden shed! I've just heard on Sky News that Al Quaeda have been spotted in a Transit Van in Luton!"

- "Damn this snow! How dare the Tories not be able to control the weather! Is this what i pay my council tax for?!"

You know the drill. The kind of whiny scaremongering that after a while just becomes white noise to these ears. It's usually spouted non-stop by a certain type of person who is either too fond of the sound of their own opinions or just lacking any sense of Joie de vivre.

Yes, we know the world can be a very dark place.
Yes, we know there are extremely dubious forces at work.
Yes, we know our leaders in government fail us all the time.

So, knowing all this can you provide any credible solutions as to how we can change things?


Well shut the fuck up then, put the kettle on, plump your cushions and let's celebrate what's actually good about the world in 2010 shall we?

  • Music
Music is not dead in this country. Far from it in fact. Okay so the days of kids in bands signing mega deals are long gone, due mainly to record company greed coming home to roost (but that's a different discussion for a different day), but there are scores of sharp-as-fuck kids out there making and distributing their own stuff without having to bow down creatively to an Armani suit wearing paymaster. Bands like The Cornerstones, Sun Of Souls and The Lost Boys, to name but three, are producing mustard songs to ever growing fan bases because they actually care about their craft which is refreshing in this era of throwaway pop nonsense.

Even the more established artists have been knocking them dead this year. Records from Weller, The Coral, Arcade Fire, Carl Barat, Gorrilaz, The Dead Weather, Cee Lo Green, Nero, Plan B, The Black Keys and Laura Marling have all been played to death at Haynes Towers this year.

I still get no bigger buzz than sticking a pile of my favourite tunes on shuffle and spazzing out around the house to them. You should try it, it's good fun.

  • Film / TV
I've been to the cinema more times during the past twelve months than probably the past five years combined. I've never been a massive fan of sitting in an uncomfortable seat whilst a gang of teenage girls behind you flick popcorn at your head or play Angry Birds on their iPhone's but that changed with just one film for me this year. 'Scott Pilgrim vs The World' just had to be seen on the big screen to be believed. It looked like no other film I'd ever seen, the soundtrack was ace and it was directed by the sharpest young director in the industry today, Edgar Wright. If you've not seen it i cannot recommend it highly enough. It'll blow your socks clean off. When i walked out of my local Odeon after watching it i said it was the greatest film I'd ever seen. I stand by that pronouncement.

As for TV, the following (in no particular order) have been absolutely top notch this year; Skins, Being Human, True Blood, Later..., Peep Show, Inbetweeners, The IT Crowd, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe, Storyville documentaries on Ajax and Barcelona Football Clubs, Muhammed Ali, The Beatles Rocked The Kremlin and Motown and even the final series of Scrubs was still several notches above a hell of a lot of other American comedy.

The jewel in the crown this year though was the Professor Brian Cox series 'Wonders Of The Solar System' which was absolutely breathtaking in terms of visuals and narrative. Truly groundbreaking stuff.

  • Sport
It's been a vintage year as far as i'm concerned. My team won the double, we're in the middle of the most exciting Ashes series for years, the Formula One season went down to the last lap and AP McCoy won me a bundle with his first Grand National win.

Sport in general still has the ability to quicken the pulse and make the hairs on the neck tingle.

Football (national and international), Boxing, Formula One racing, Horse Racing, Tour-De-France, Athletics, Rugby, Darts, Cricket, Golf, Tennis.....blimey I'm sure even tiddlywinks manages to take the breath away from certain devotees of the game.

Is there any greater sight than two heavyweight boxers going toe to toe for twelve rounds or two European football heavyweights slugging it out for ninety minutes under the floodlights? The only one i can think of that tops both for me is the sight of the final horse in my Yankee romping across the line at Wolverhampton or Newmarket........but it's been a while since that happened so I'll settle for a balmy night at The Santiago Bernabau.

  • People
Amongst a gaggle of complete and utter bastards (yes Mandelson, Blatter, Griffin and Cowell I'm looking at you) a few people stood out as beacons of hope;

Julian Assange
Bradley Manning
Mark Zuckerberg
The Chilean Miners
Haile Gebrselassie
Lionel Messi
Aung San Suu Kyi
Brian Cox
Edgar Wright
Paul Weller
Ozwald Boateng
Lady GaGa

Okay so i lied about the last one but you get my drift. Not all hope is lost while the planet contains such excellence. This is just a minuscule list of people who have risen above the day to day drudgery and inspire people to better themselves in different ways. To any young teenage kid who can see no further than the dole or a dead end job i say to them take a look at these people and push yourself. You never know where you might end up.

So there you have it. Is all hope lost? Or do we still have the innate ability to step back from all the turmoil that surrounds us and and actually enjoy life? I'm of the firm belief that some of us still can. If we lose that escape route then what is left for us? I'd rather not dwell on it if I'm being totally honest. I'm happy to sit here, digest the dark stuff that the news throws at me on a daily basis but put that to one side and immerse myself in the things that make me happy. Surround yourselves with loved ones, sing, dance, drink fine wine, eat good food and go about your business with a dirty great smile on your face. You'll feel much better for it, trust me.

In the words of a certain Mr Ferris Bueller Esq...

"Life moves pretty fast. If You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Rob H

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