The Friday Happy List: 17th July 2015


Because The World is Not All Terrible: Happy Friday

  1. Treat Yo Self

For those who have not watched Parks and Recreation religiously (if not, what is the point of you?), this is what happens on 13th October every year, when the materialistic and magnificently shallow Donna and Tom just go all out shopping. Donna explains (shimmering in a glorious sparkly dress with a beetle brooch): ‘I really like this dress, and I love this crystal beetle, but it’s expensive and there’s no need for it’. The decision: TREAT YO SELF.


I prefer charity shops, and wearing things that are creepy and threadbare (we all have our own version of treats, ok?) but I can wholeheartedly adopt this approach to life, and I think you should too. Every day can be Treat Yo Self day. So… it’s 11pm on a week night, and you haven’t stopped all day. The laundry is done, and so are the dishes. You should get a good night’s sleep. But you are wide awake. So TREAT YO SELF. Ladies, take off your bra. Gentlemen, get a blanket. Eat Ambrosia with golden syrup and watch videos of cats afraid of their own reflection.

Treat Yo Self isn’t shallow. Not really. When Tom comes to Donna with relationship problems, she brilliantly advises: ‘When it comes to matters of the heart, I say, treat yo self’. Warm, good feelings.

  1. Diplomacy

It was recently in the news that negotiations have led to a global agreement on nuclear weapons in Iran. I’m pretty ignorant on Most Things, so the entire thing was fascinating and all fresh news to me. (I’ll admit that). It was also facinating that a bunch of people in a room managed to settle on a compromise. Nobody likes compromise. Hours of intense negotiations, upon which rested a globally significant outcome (no pressure)…  did not end with someone going in a huff and throwing a sandwich at the most annoying person in the room. Happy thing this Friday: efficient diplomacy.

  1. Choose a new hero every day.

Dress each day as a (different) (amazing) movie character. Quite aside from your Batman costume (which, by the way, don’t listen to the haters, you look rad) this is a great way to make each day secretly wonderful. I have long and uselessly protested against the idea that Kate Moss is a style icon. She wears boring clothes and says awful things, encouraging smoking and drunkenness and dieting. She’s awful.

Kate Moss
Kate Moss

A real style icon is Marge here, played by Frances McDormand, in the movie Fargo.


Now there’s a hero. Her off-duty style is loosely based on that of a lumberjack. She plods around, out-smarting the bad guys with a cheerful, polite determination – tranquil, resilient, and hugely pregnant. She makes quilted jackets and hats look tempting. She is my style icon du jour.


  1. Poetry

I’ve had some wonderful adventures recently – running around London in the hazy heat, attending a truly special and joyous wedding, eating a lot of pasta, and even winning a fiver on a scratchcard (I plan to treat myself with that), but city life is busy. I will soon be returning to the Highlands for a very quiet break in a very dear green place, which is always, even in the enormous July rain, a serene hideaway. If you have not found a green place for being At One With Nature, there is a poem called The Beautiful Changes by Richard Wilbur. I’ve included the second stanza, below. If you live in the city, this is an emergency escape hatch.

The beautiful changes as a forest is changed
By a chameleon’s tuning his skin to it;
As a mantis, arranged
On a green leaf, grows
Into it, makes the leaf leafier, and proves
Any greenness is deeper than anyone knows.

  1. Haikus!

Chancing upon Richard Wilbur’s poetry was that feeling when you come across something bonafide. Like rummaging through Primark polyester dresses in a charity shop, and then coming across a hand made, pure silk, indigo evening dress. Clicking listlessly across the internet in search of something great, and then coming across Poorly Drawn Lines or Scarfolk Council,  or Mark Whalberg’s workout video from 1993. It was that feeling. I’d just found something real. I’m now intent on reading every poem he wrote (Richard Wilbur, not Mark Whalberg). But before that – from the sublime to the ridiculous, what about haikus? They are the junk food of the poetry world. The French fries, specifically.

Best of all: Hulk Haikus, from Jennifer at Captain Awkward who is pretty much my no1 Internet Hero (go there for sterling advice on anything, with occasional references to Prince).  That’s haikus in the voice of The Hulk. Haikus which ruminate upon the disturbing inner world of the Hulk. Here is a wonderful, just wonderful example, which made me happy for days whenever I thought about it:

Danceable Pop Song

Make Hulk Sing into Hairbrush

Hulk Feel Empowered

I’d like to add to this, for the ladies who dig Jane Austen, Darcy Haikus.

Endearing Moustache

Mysterious Rage Beneath

Too High Maintenance

I implore you to make up a haiku today! And then put it on a t-shirt. Happy Friday xxx

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