“How can you tell if someone gave up the demon drink for January? Don’t worry you won’t need to, they’ll telling you soon enough!” Boom, boom. Yep, I’m sad to confess that this is indeed the case and I’ve found myself confessing to anyone and everyone about my first Dry January. Having just completed it, I thought it might be of interest to describe how it was for me, a fully-paid-up member of the dipsomaniac discotheque, and what impact it may potentially have on my relationship to alcohol thereafter.
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Certain things in life shock you to the core: natural disasters, redundancy, Anne Robinson, to name a few. Others are so obvious that you know they’re true even before they make headlines in tmrw’s chip paper: ‘England lose cricket match’, ‘Profligate banker caught with hand in the till’ and ‘Dale Winton not quite straight’ shockers.
In spring, as Lord Alfred Tennyson observed, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love…and cycling. As it’s been too cold of late to venture out with any real gusto I’ve started to reminisce on the last couple of two-wheeled adventures and put-my-thinking-cap on wrt the next one. Several have involved trips across La Manche to follow le maillot jaune and this made me consider whether Team Sky are looking forward to this year’s Tour de France as much as I am?
It’s painfully obvious that a great number of people believe a great deal of codswallop – from Brexit being a bona fide sensible idea, climate change not taking place, universal credit providing the socially acceptable alternative to foodbanks, gun ownership helping alleviate crime, to President Chump being in hock to the ruskies and so on. By contrast, it’s almost impossible for me, and you for that matter, to accept that we are one of those very individuals.
You all know the one about the small dog not knowing it’s a small dog. Well, In a thinly-veiled Brexit swipe, Denmark’s finance minister, Kristian Jensen, recently observed “There are two kinds of European nations: there are small nations and there are countries that have not yet realised they are small nations.” How very dare he! Does he not realise the contribution we’ve made, as a nation, to world history? Surely a recently published study, where individuals from thirty-five nations were asked exactly what contribution their own country had made in the great scheme of things, would set the record straight?
Cards on the table, I did feel quite sorry last year for posh-boy (Baronet dontchaknow) cum food critic, William Sitwell, and I suspect he’s one of the few people not giving up meat this January. Whilst not exactly marinated in mirth his off-the-bone comment to a foodie journalist “How about a series on killing vegans, one by one?” was not said with any particular malice or dark intent. Admittedly, it didn’t have anyone rolling in the aisle either but he ain’t a comedian, he’s a man who makes a living out of tasting other people’s cooking. Oh, and inherited wealth.
As many of you will already be aware, the first commercial transaction with bitcoin took place in May 2010 when two large Papa John’s pizzas were bought for 10,000 bitcoin. Fast forward to December 2017, just thirteen months ago, when the price of one was a smidgen under $20,000 and this would have equated to, if my maths are correct, $200,000,000.00. Nice work if you can get it, Papa.
Earlier, in commenting upon the decline of our nation’s sticky-floored nightclubs of yore, I mentioned the once similarly ubiquitous local curry-house was also suffering a similar death by a thousand cuts. Several of you voiced your concerns, and in such a vociferous manner that had you done so over our high-street and free-houses both would be thriving and jam-packed!
It seems highly unlikely that many of you will have spent this New Year’s Eve dancing the night away in your local nightclub, potentially off your face on E and Sambuca shots, whilst being completely unaware of the truly unattractive picture you were painting to the opposite sex. Of course twenty, or thirty, years ago it would have been a completely different kettle-of-fish and you’d be forgiven for perhaps thinking that today’s millennials and generation z’ers are getting up to what we used to. But you’d be wrong.
By all accounts, 2018 has been a tumultuous year for many. For me, it’s been a bit unremarkable and that’s why, when it comes to taking stock in the dark days before the new year dawns, I find it helpful to restrict myself to cold, hard numbers. Below is my personal statistical index for 2018, using the latest obtainable figures.