Ho Ho Bloody Ho

Purple baubles on dark background

Another year passes. Another year marked by wars and hatred and lies and stupidity.

In short, another year of shittiness. And here in the UK we seem intent on becoming the masters of all things shitty. There have been occasions this past year when I’ve felt a little ashamed to be British. As I’ve said before, this isn’t the place, and I’m not the person, to embark on political rants, but Rwanda. Sigh.

As we left 2022 behind, I wished for a kinder 2023. Might as well have wished to become an international bestseller with multiple movie deals. (Yeah, yeah, all right, I wish for that every year.)

It seems it is too much to expect people to try to get along with others despite them having different coloured skin, or worshipping a different god—or even the same god but in a different way… sigh—or having a different sexual orientation, or any of the myriad other ways we humans can differ from one another.

To shamelessly pinch a line from The Simpsons, Jesus must be turning in his grave.

Talking of graves, let’s spare a thought for those who have gone to theirs.

We said goodbye to more greats this year, including the gorgeous Raquel Welch (I’ll never forget seeing her in a fur bikini in the film One Million Years B.C.), Alan Arkin (who will always, to me, be Yossarian), and Cormac McCarthy (who wrote one of the bleakest yet utterly compelling post-apocalyptic novels I’ve read, The Road), to name but a few.

And Shane MacGowan has gone to join Kirsty MacColl at the smoke-wreathed piano in the sky, where I imagine them belting out my favourite Christmas tune ‘Fairytale of New York’.

But enough doom and gloom. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life as a grumpy old man, though finding stuff to be positive about in today’s world is not easy. Trying to be upbeat these days feels a bit like peeing into the wind, only without the damp trousers.

I’ll include a snap below of me smiling into the lens, Milo by my side, with our digital Santa hats on. And I’m going to keep telling myself that humanity is ultimately good and raise a glass to a kinder 2024.

Two frothing glasses of beer clinking together

And yet…

I can’t help but feel this is forced optimism in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I’m the turkey cheerfully wishing that next Christmas everyone will have turned vegetarian.

So, bollocks to it. Ebenezer Scrooge it is, then. Altogether now, in our best Bah Humbug voices:

Ho ho bloody ho.

Sam Kates and his dog Milo wearing Santa hats