If ever a Friday needed a Happy List, it’s Friday the 30th of January.
One day I plan to gather all my mutinous feelings about this time of the year (acht, cursed, wretched January) into the introduction to the astonishingly brilliant, grammatically experimental, culturally significant and ludicrously handsome book that I will write. This will not be a post-modern classic about the picturesque artistic failures of a lady’s man with an eye-patch; nor will it be a dazzling but unsteady rant against capitalism. It will be a self-help book called Feel All the Feelings, and it will be stuffed with pictures of cats and extremely simple sugar recipes. (Take 1 block of fondant icing. Cut and shape into mice. Feed to excitable children).
(Side note: I would like to be credited as the captain of this book, rather than the author. That should help with the legal implications of plagiarism).
Anyway, what I mean to say is that we’re in the last days of January, National Month of Grey Sludge Everywhere, Outside on the Ground and Inside, In Your Very Soul. Distraction is 90% of your daily happiness, so here I am trying to distract you, with some great things that are of almost no importance. Commence!
‘Whaaaaat’, I hear you say. ‘That guy? That guy does not cheer me up’. But just give him a moment. I was recently sent some Internet Treasure: a list of words that Shakespeare made up. He just made them up is all! And now we say them like they’re totally legit! This guy made our whole language delightful. We have him to thank for some of my all time favourite words: majestic and moonbeam, green-eyed and tranquil, vaulting, flawed, and dauntless. So not only was Shakespeare, along with his motley troupe of rascal actors and playwrights, routinely staging plays in the heart of London that were liberal irreverent cross-dressing riots, radicalising the masses and schooling them to answer sarcastically to their betters; he was also refusing to treat the English language like a precious, cold artefact, and just messing with it to his heart’s content. Shakespeare was just messing. That guy. He cheers me up, always.
- Dressing like a writer
I don’t believe in the whole ‘fake it til you make it’ idea, because it just seems like a really bad plan to try and fake competence at something that is difficult. You will 100% be found out. I know this from that time I tried to win the Grand National all by myself, no horse or anything. Then again, when it comes to cardigans, well… I’m not a real writer, but dressing like a writer is something I can do. It’s been a month of people sending me Internet Treasure, so here is this from my pal Gemma. I love a good cardigan, and I also love filling the pockets with ink-stained pens, ciggies and a hipflask. Pass me my monocle, I am thinking.
- Travel to new places every day
Right now I’m living it up in Paris with Hemingway, because I’m reading A Movable Feast. ‘We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other’, he writes, tenderly remembering the faultless simple happiness that was his. The life in Paris as an impoverished writer in the 1920s, drinking café cremes in café bars, writing in notebooks and watching all of life walk by, is just a dream. I suppose it’s meant that way, as it was written near the end of his life, with the wistfulness of an old man remembering himself, the quiet, struggling twenty-five year old, deeply in love with his first wife Hadley, each day newly preoccupied with how much food he could afford, and then eating cheap oysters and scribbling about the meal in his notebook, in beautiful, cherished detail, to make it last a bit longer.
4. Animals with emotional baggage
Everything good right now is on the internet, because the pavements are still coated in an impish sliver of ice, and being outside is a challenge to our dignity, balance and courage. I’m far too lazy and squishy-brained for that. I’ll be inside with a duvet, and looking at this: animals with the same problems as me! A problem shared is a problem you can totally ignore forever.
January is nearly over. Happy Friday one and all.
I’ll just leave these here.