So, that's Christmas over-and-done with, the traditional feast of televisual WWII nostalgia has finished (at least the "Heroes of Telemark" has plenty of snow in it, so it feels a bit more 'seasonal'), and we've almost reached the end of the year, eh? Hell, end of the decade (assuming we're counting from zero, naturally - some folk get very pedantic about that sort of thing) - not that it matters, it's just a date, as arbitrary as any other. Of course, what media columnists/ bloggers/ random drunks hanging-around bus shelters typically feel the urge to do at this point is offer us some sort of round-up of the year gone by - or decade, if they're feeling ambitious, and want to properly bore everyone with their oh-so-intriguing and salient personal insights into the major world events we all lived through already, thanks very much.
As an antidote to those 8-page-special-features-with-pointless-quiz-attached reminders of our general lack of progress as a species, here's the Mid-Life Bassist "one very deep breath (don't forget your inhaler)", no chronological order, and possibly a little jaded-and-cynical summary of the last 12 months...
Greedy politicians, greedy bankers, greedy celebrities, greedy libel tourists, "isn't it cold? wow, it's hot! where did summer go? gosh, what a shock, it's cold again!", "bang! bang! we're all dead!" (because I'm a zealot with a head full of hatred & religious fantasies), a rich guy with dubious attitudes towards children "Beat It", come visit England's Lake-in-the-middle-of-your-high-street District, You've been kettled!, real pirates don't say "arrr", Tiger tiger strayed at night, MacAskill does the right thing for the wrong reasons, dense cloud of hot air suffocates Copenhagen, English voter apathy gave the bigots their tickets to ride the Euro-gravy-train, Homecoming Scotland didn't, mass RAGE boosts the Cowell/Sony Benevolent Fund, the remarkable aerodynamics of Italian souvenirs, and Molly still may yet trip up Trump...
(apologies if I left out many events of great personal or international significance for anyone out there, and also for switching between present and past tenses with wilful disregard for grammatical regulations. I'm just lazy)
For me, 2009 saw the exciting launch of my very own music website - which, in the space of a couple of months has seen over 2,000 visits (most of them probably by mistake - just like this blog - "Braw Neeps" is the oddest recent search term that's landed someone here. Ah, the great mystery of life that is Google) ...and a grand total of 8 downloads, even though they're "pay as little as 'absolutely free' if that's what you want". This may well reveal something about the quality and/or desirability of my 'tinged with a sense of longing' instrumental offerings. I couldn't possibly comment.
Still, I have learned a few things this year, at least...
I now can pretend to be a bouzouki player (of sorts), which may actually turn out to be more useful and artistically rewarding than memorising PI to 100 decimal places. You never can tell...
In spite of being 40, I (hopefully) still have half of a lifetime in which to 'achieve'...something (or anything, really). Although this is the half where I can only get slower, more decrepit, and my mental powers (such as they may be) will dwindle away inexorably. Mind you, I am a bass player, so this last difficulty shouldn't affect my music to any great extent.
Next, Virgil was talking twaddle when he stated "Love conquers all things". No, as I've discovered to my cost, choices/decisions we made years previously can continue to control our lives for far longer than we ever would have thought possible. Dammit.
The same "load of old tosh" concept applies to any offerings of the "Where there's a will, there's a way" and "If you want something bad enough..." schools of trite non-thought. People who respond to your woes in life with mindless regurgitations of anything approaching these adages should be [this section redacted to protect the impressionable].
And finally, thanks to a christmas present I opened yesterday, I've realised my writing style is far-too-often uncannily similar to Armando Iannucci's, except that he's a deity of modern satirical comedy rather than a single-parent 'hus-been' & musical obscurity.
He's also hilariously clever. And since his written work has been published worldwide, it'll look like I'm simply copying him - which is very annoying, because if I were, this site would be much, much funnier. Ah, well.
As for the decade as a whole, well, to rip-off Oscar Wilde both clumsily and shamelessly:
"To lose one long-term relationship may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness."
It's all a bit "2 steps forward, 3 steps back" at the moment.
Best wishes to everyone for the year (and decade, if you're not right up yourself mathematically) to come. Hope you have a great one.
All the best,