On New Year’s Eve.

I am writing this on a new laptop. It arrived yesterday and is a treat from myself to myself for getting through the year without developing a temperature or persistent cough, whilst also maintaining a reasonably robust sense of smell and taste; it’s hard to believe when you watch the news that people like me still represent the majority of bodies on this planet. I’m not sure I like this new laptop. I should, because it cost me enough, but at the moment it hasn’t quite served it’s dues and so the jury is out – certainly if you’re reading this then it has passed at least one fundamental test. A definite improvement is that it is smaller and lighter than my other laptop, which in retrospect was a mistake purchase because it is a heavy, extremely unsexy piece of kit. On the other hand it has soaked up an awful lot of video chats and online work this year and so rather than dropping it in the bath it shall become my official work computer; official to me at least, knowing full well that you couldn’t give a toss.

This post was meant to be a review of the year but as we all know, again very much full and well, only one thing really happened this year and so I’ve already decided not to bore you with the bleeding obvious. This post shall instead go absolutely nowhere and say virtually nothing of significance (you can’t accuse me of not being consistent); it’s just nice to round off everything nicely, ready for a fresh new start in January and following the bleakest Christmas imaginable. Though is that the bleakest we can muster? I could imagine worse – I could imagine spending Christmas with Michael Barrymore, for instance.

Oddly however, this won’t be too much of a tricky New Year’s Eve. I never liked New Year’s Eve anyway, so having a firm excuse not to go out and see in the misery elsewhere is very welcome. I struggle to remember my last truly satisfying New Year’s Eve. I am slightly fond of the year we found ourselves in a Limehouse pub owned by Sir Ian McKellan, who happened to be hosting a private party upstairs. As the evening wore on various famous faces (from varying divisions) went back and forth: Sting and Trudy, Patrick Stewart, Danny Huston and so on, not forgetting Sir Ian himself. At one point I found myself outside, dredging up a slurred conversation with Gerard Butler, who turned out to be extremely pleasant. By chance I had noticed a few days earlier that he was set to star alongside Ralph Fiennes in a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus and so warmly expressed my false interest in seeing it; he didn’t seem convinced and with good reason, as I am still technically falsely interested in seeing it, 8 years later. It didn’t matter – I thanked him for his sterling work in ‘300’ and we shook hands and parted company. I wonder if he still thinks of me.

Later this afternoon I shall be making some Brandy Alexanders. In my opinion they are the finest cocktail yet invented (a well crafted Mojito on a hot day would probably come in second, but in this weather it doesn’t get a look in). Not only are they extremely moreish, and consequently extremely dangerous, they are also quite simple to make – equal parts brandy, creme de cacao and cream, shaken with ice and gently poured then garnished with some grated nutmeg. I don’t really make cocktails very often but we just happen to have a unopened bottle of creme de cacao in our drinks cupboard and it has been there for several years so why not put it to work? To complement this air of opulent abandon we have our eyes on an M&S curry, which we shall relish and regret in equal measure (served with a chilled bottle of Alsace Gewurztraminer, because we’re twats). Quite how sharp we’ll be by midnight is anyone’s guess but if it was me guessing I’d guess that we won’t be very sharp at all. But who cares – we’re going from one dreadful year to another and it feels like the last days of the Third Reich.

Our final commitments include a few video calls. I haven’t arranged one with Gerard Butler yet because I feel it would be less creepy if he made the first move. Video calls for fun are usually just that, though they will never be the same as pretending you like someone face to face. I still don’t think I’ve mastered the art yet – my eyes swivel around looking for points of contact and if I’m not in the right mood I look about as happy as a juror at Rolf Harris’ trial. There are the occasional moments of inspiration however. The other day as we discussed the lockdown with our Irish chums an idea popped into my head and I said “you know Michael Jackson would have coped well in a lockdown because he was used to having to support Bubbles”. I promise that I thought of it myself but I daren’t look it up because if someone came up with it before me I shall be devastated. You may use it if you like, but only in conversation.

I am beginning to like this computer; I didn’t realise it has a touch screen and the fingerprint recognition is nifty. It also has a backlit keyboard (I did know that – I didn’t think I was buying a hamster), which is quite handy because I am working off the glow of the Christmas tree at the moment. By this time tomorrow said tree will have been deconstructed to fit the dimensions of our green bin and the house will suddenly seem so much bigger but marginally less brighter. We’d like to think that by clearing out the old we’ll find something new in 2021, but surely by now we’re used to having our expectations crushed. I don’t have any resolutions other than to try and be a healthier person than the one who is already making a Brandy Alexander in their head. I look forward to very little, in the hope that when it happens very little will feel like quite a lot. And of course I hope that by some miracle onstupidity.com finally get its day in the sun, but that is very much my problem, though I am eternally grateful that you still bother reading all this stuff. So, that’s it. You’re free to go. ‘Appy New Year you lovely little monkey, no doubt you’ve earned in some way or another.

G B Hewitt. 31.12.2020

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