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Roll on January 2nd!

There – still a few days to go before normal service is resumed but I think I’ve just about got through the festive period unscathed. There’s a point at which, when you live alone and – if you are left to your own devices – the whole of your existence becomes a matter of glorious routine in which you please yourself and rather enjoy it.

I don’t wish to sound like a saddo-loner or even a Bah-Humbug Scrooge (albeit some might make the allegation!) but I have never been the type who craves constant human company or feels that they have to socialise every day perhaps in case – were they to be left on their own – they’d feel lost and/or unwanted and/or become so full of self-loathing that they’d descend into a depression or worse.

I have never celebrated my own birthdays, not because I have ever been afraid of passing yet another milestone but because I just have never seen the point.

When it comes to the gene that makes people seek the limelight I suspect I had a by-pass.

Furthermore, my capacity for small-talk being so limited, at social gatherings I have always been more of a people-watcher than a participator, plus in any event I don’t particularly like meeting new people (I have enough trouble conversing with the ones I already know).

When I was a kid I endured my own parent-organised birthday parties only because I was unable to avoid them and it may not surprise my Rust readers that I spent much of my teens looking forward to the day I became a fully-fledged adult because then – erroneously presuming that then I’d be able to make my own decisions – as soon as I was able, I’d make the pledge never to hold another one.

But life isn’t like that, of course.

Other people, starting with those closest to me, not only brushed aside my stated preferences as being of no consequence but insisted.

Even my late wife – knowing full-well my feelings on such things – went behind my back and organised me a secret 40th birthday dinner party for eight: I came home from work that evening intent upon nothing more than downing a restorative gin & tonic and sandwich in front of the television before going to bed … and found myself as the unwilling guest of honour at a full-on three-course meal that carried on almost until midnight.

The irony of the situation was two-fold. Whilst I was left afterwards with an overriding after-taste of disbelief that anyone could be so insensitive to my wishes as to organise such an event, I actually also quite enjoyed the evening, so I suppose it must have ranked in the record books as a one-all draw.

Anyway – back to this Christmas period!

When it comes to television I tend to organise my daily routine via certain staples, e.g. BBC2’s Politics Show, the news bulletins and one or two other programmes I routinely follow.

Over the festive period, of course, the television planners clear their decks – and schedules – and swamp the airways with reviews of the year, endless children’s cartoons, ancient Christmas time-aimed movies that everyone has already seen until they’re sick to the back teeth of them and – naturally – lavishly budgeted special Christmas editions of shows that the ratings have been telling them that this year’s mass audience will like.

In other words, pap.

On top of which, the news & current departments – inevitably reduced to a skeleton staff who have drawn this year’s short straw and therefore have to work over the holiday period – have nothing much other than the Royal Family’s annual church-going walkabout at Sandringham, England cricket’s latest Down Under disaster, various world leader’s Christmas messages (and possibly the weather) to report.

Yesterday on my television’s BBC South channel I had to watch some hapless young male reporter – stationed beside a snowman built the side of the 9th hole at some north-east Hampshire golf course – reporting four or five times during the day (from first light, through mid-morning, lunchtime and into the darkening gloom of the late afternoon and evening) the stunning news that snow had fallen overnight, thereby preventing any golf being played for the time being.

The things that some people have to do in order to make a crust!

At some point last week I watched a programme looking back over the history of the BBC with half an eye upon highlighting the differing approaches to broadcasting that have been in vogue since the first ever BBC (then the British Broadcasting Company, not Corporation) transmissions of ninety year ago.

Yesterday’s poor frozen BBC South reporter brought a smile to my lips as I recalled the BBC news report of about 1950 that featured in it – amounting to nothing more than the announcer, in classic BBC received pronunciation-speak, stating:

Here is the news. There is no news today …” [end of bulletin].

Oh for the good old days of yesteryear …

About J S Bird

A retired academic, Jeremy will contribute article on subjects that attract his interest. More Posts