This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
Writing for A&G is a challenge. Producing encouraging, positive words in the current climate whilst knowing it’s being seen by readers desperate for any good news certainly tests the mettle. You know when they say “do you want the good news or the bad?” Well the following might appear to be the latter to start with, but bear with me.
As a mid sixties male living near Bradford with a lung condition it was only a matter of time before I caught C19. Withdrawing to sweat, ache and rage against it, I held my head in my disinfected hands and lost a stone in a week. But nothing was going to take me to hospital. Oh no. So it was solitary isolation for your correspondent.
Despite a zero appetite, a previous near death virus battle taught me I must to eat to fight. So I tried. Tinned soup. Threw it up. Scrambled egg? Same effect. I drank lots of water, changed the wringing bed-sheets and avoided my haggard reflection in the mirror.
Once I lay on the floor of my bathroom in the middle of the night weak and unable to get up. That was literally the lowest point. But despite coughing for Britain, ten days of Hell later I was over the worst – and had beaten it.
What stayed down? For the record arrowroot in warm milk.
Recently I took a call from the NHS about donating my blood. Apparently male plasma from C19 survivors is prized. Unfortunately I have another less threatening medical condition but the doctors haven’t the time to deal with it yet as the wards at my local infirmary are rather busy right now. But I’m alive. Yippee!!
So to celebrate this I thought I’d search the interweb for more instances of good news. Some of it is cheering, some bizarre and other stuff just downright funny. I think you’d agree we’ve never needed a laugh more than we do now.
Of course to the British, Americans are a constant source for this although the Japanese and North Koreans are never far behind – and naturally I like to explore the female perspective.
There are currently two women in space. NASA flight engineer Kate Rubins recently hugged and welcomed Space X Dragon mission specialist Shannon Walker through the hatch onto the International Space Station to join the five other men aboard. Apparently scientists are now keen to discover if male toilet jokes work in zero gravity.
Donald Trump has failed to win a second term in office (insert suitable comment here). US news channels reported fireworks in London celebrating this fact on Nov 5th. When contacted a Mr J.Biden of Scranton, Pennsylvania said he hadn’t heard of Guy Fawkes. Or Brexit. Or this bloke on the phone called Boris.
But not to worry. You can join in the Melania Trump body double conspiracy theory. Thousands of Twitter time-wasters can’t be wrong. Spokesman Paddy Power (who is a real Irishman) said “it looks like a case of Donald dumped”. Melania to leave Trump this year is currently 12/1 from 16/1 and for her to be deported is 66/1.
Barack Obama has a book out he hopes might appear under your Christmas tree. So has Cliff Richard and Phillip Schofield. Ring out solstice bells I hear you cry. But your friends wouldn’t buy you “The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump” would they? Author Rob Sears hopes they will as he’s gathered together his quotes and tweets which are described as the perfect stocking filler. I can think of better things to fill a stocking than that.
So my recommendations for books to keep by the side of the lavatory this Christmas are “Crap Towns Revisited – Back By Unpopular Demand” (is your town in there?), “Crap Days Out” (we’ve all had a few of them recently) and “Dull Men Of Great Britain”. Yes, Neil collects bricks, Kevin is a roundabout enthusiast and Keith’s actual job is watching paint dry. The nights must fly by.
Meanwhile in Panto-land, we’re invited to sit on our sofas this year subscribing to luvvies slapping their thighs in the hope you’ll zoom in to their zany antics. You might boo at me for saying this but Panto doesn’t work this way (oh yes it does). For me it’s all about sitting in a proper theatre and having a community experience. Not being in your lounge on a laptop paying to watch Bobby Davro.
Staying on the Christmas theme, Auntie has decided young people should no longer be exposed to the insults traded by Shane MacGowan and Kirsty McColl in their popular festive knees-up “Fairytale Of New York”.
They’ll be removing the words “slut” and “faggot” from the version to be played on Radio 1 this year. The more mature Radio 2 listeners however will continue to get the original (presumably because we’re more used to drinking stout and swearing). Radio 3 told me to **** off.
Bojo and his team of cheery medical advisers are now suggesting we play a quiz rather than games including shared pieces, which seems a good excuse to duck the annual scrap with relatives – that is – Monopoly. That slow painful burn of player elimination via bankruptcy as one player becomes insufferable with accumulated wealth and power whilst rubbing their hands as you land on the hotels they have in Mayfair. Festive fun for all the family.
Or why not avoid Scrabble? As far as I understand the aim is to collect as many Z’s and Q’s as possible whilst being thrashed by a teenager as you demonstrate your total inability to make up any words bigger than “cat”.
Finally to cheer us all up from North Korea comes the all female Moranbong Band (sniggerers will be shot). They perform a jolly song perfect for Eurovision as it has no discernible melody. Kim Jong-un wrote the lyrics and chose the girls. Even Despots like a sing-song. Clap along now.
Lots more from Northern Male here