Winter is like a Jean-Luc Godard film: it’s painful and it feels like it’ll never end. Everyone is saying significant things in stilted, self-conscious ways and wearing stripy jumpers. There are naked people reading newspapers, and a car crash, and it all feels bit surreal, but also, really boring.
Well that metaphor didn’t really hold up so well, but the first part is true. Is this winter never going to go away? It’s March and we had hailstones the other day. Fuuuuuh. I’m so tired of having wet socks and cold hands and an aching back. I’m just so tired. I’ve been doing everything that’s supposed to help with that – sleeping, bathing – but I’ve been doing it all wrong. I’ve been napping at 7pm and waking up at 11pm ready for a party. I’ve been taking baths that are scalding, sitting like a sad lobster being boiled, too tired to get out.
I won’t give up though. You must deal with winter like you must deal with a Jean-Luc Godard film: remember that it won’t last forever, and that good things exist. Here is all the good news I could gather into my arms to give to you.
1. Porridge with marmalade
2. Jewels. Happy creepings.
3. Coconut oil. Eat it with ginger and garlic and chicken and tacos. Slather it on your thighs, you strumpet. Rub in into your hair and leave it overnight to make your locks all silky. I’m fairly sure you can use coconut oil for anything. Fuel your car, polish furniture, buff your nails, smear a politician, win at scrabble, oil your toboggan, etc. If you know of anything coconut oil will not fix, then I’d darn well like to hear about it.
4. Bed. Plus a hot water bottle and many cushions. Scatter those cushions with wanton abandon.
5. Smart Girls at the Party. Is a thing that happens. This series and website is the wonderful work of Amy Poehler and friends, and brings to the internet most everyday something interesting that a smart girl (or guy) is doing somewhere. Like them on facebook to find out that the world is full of secret heroes.
6. Every Time I Say Goodbye by Ella Fitzgerald. The world can’t be all bad with this included.
7. Meta good news. If it’s large scale human atrocities that are getting you down – this just in: humans are becoming less violent over time. Steven Pinker explains.
8. Pineapple and grapefruit. As Sandy says in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie: pineapple has ‘the authentic taste and appearance of happiness’
9. Being old. Speaking of which, it’s time to start saying things like ‘one’s prime is elusive’. I feel a bit old and decrepit sometimes these days. But I look forward to eventually being so decrepit that I become picturesque and magnificent. Then I will be in my prime.
10. Shrugging. The man who took that picture of the weasel hijacking a woodpecker said, according to BBC News, he ‘didn’t really appreciate’ what he had seen until he got home. Behold, the least impressed man in the world. He is amazed by absolutely nothing. I want to bring him things. Things like a carousel made of gold; the tiniest pizza in the world; the holy grail; or his pet rabbit from childhood, who went to live on a farm with other rabbits in 1982. I want to see this formidable indifference.
11. Beautiful, beautiful book covers.
12. Ice skating. I can’t do any of the tricks or twirls. I just sail around the rink feeling the exquisite joy of doing something a little bit risky and a little bit graceful. Then I crash spectacularly on to my butt. Then I get up again, and start sailing. Everyone should try this at least once a week. Even if you feel sad. Especially if you feel sad. Next: I want a costume.
13. Failure. Fun fact: I auditioned to be in this film, starring Ted Danson and the monster-work of the Jim Henson company, when I was 10. Sometimes failures become more rewarding as time goes by.
14. Dude Watching with the Bronte Sisters. There are many things wrong with 50 Shades of Grey, not least that it manages to destroy romance in a slightly less modern way than Samuel Richardson did in his 1740 bestselling romance of unbridled misogyny, Pamela. Thank goodness there are wise, witty cartoonists like this to point out the nonsense of the tortured romantic hero. Oh he wants to destroy you because he can’t be with you? RED FLAG.
15. Bjork. I mean, obviously. I was listening to her talking to Jo Wiley on Radio 2 and heard her mention her song-writing (and anyone’s creative pursuits) as simply building ‘your own cathedral’ so you have somewhere to ‘hang out when you’re 85’. I just. I mean. I just want us to be best friends. I want to brush her hair. It’s not weird.
16. The Retro Typescript Signs of L.A. Look at this curly consonants. Look at those blue skies. Don’t you want to go get tacos and watermelon margaritas? Don’t you want to put your jangling hoop earrings in and go karaoke with me? Don’t you want to rollerskate in hotpants in the morning and lie flat-out on the beach all afternoon and cook ribs late at night outside on the barbecue? We’ll do all of this, one day.
17. Eating takeaway in bed.
18. Discovering you have everything you need to bake a cake right now.
19. The Internet Cat Video Festival is on in Glasgow this year – there are still some showings left! Yes, it is a beautiful curated collection of the funniest cat videos. Playing on the big screen. In an actual cinema. Oh my days. If you can’t quite manage it… maybe you could set up your very own private viewing. Like this. *Fist bump*
20. Important dates in March:
Monday 9th – Panic Day. Saturday 14th – Crisps Day. Friday 20th – Happiness Day. Monday 23rd – Tidy the Office Day. Tuesday 24th – Chocolate Raisin Day. Saturday 28th – Skipping Day
These are twenty good things. Let life bring to the table whatever sadness and bad things it damn well chooses to bring. We’ve got a heap of good things here.
(Apologies to all the people who like Jean-Luc Godard films, including some lovely pals of mine whose opinions I respect. I’m sorry – maybe I’m just not getting it? I just don’t get it. By order of the French government, I’m not allowed to ever wear a beret, because (they said in the letter they sent me) I just don’t get it.)