January must be the month with most the ‘special’ days in it, most of them heralding some form of gloom or another. First of all there’s the First Day of the New Year, often spent in a black hole of hangover or worse; then next day, the first ‘proper’ day of the new year, usually spent hating your job, or if you’re freelance, having a minor panic attack when you realise no one wants to pay for your so-called skills anymore.
Then, after a period of resolve comes the 17th, aka the breaking of New Year’s resolutions day, as my yoga download subscription helpfully informed me in an ‘important message’ shouting YOU CAN DO THIS in pink caps. Incidentally, automated emails have been assuming an increasingly chummy demeanor of late- this year, for example, I got loads of touching Happy Birthday emails from Ebay, Opopdo, Easyjet and Amazon; I’ve also had a few saying ‘We miss you’ (ASAP.com), and my favourite, ‘Have we done something wrong?’ from 7dayshop. Who knew spambots could be so needy?
Anyway, as my birthday is on the 16th, it means it’s officially the last day for any hopes of a lean, smoke-free, well-organized (or whatever your hang-up is) fantasy version of yourself. Maybe that’s why I’m normally quite optimistic on my birthday, unlike some people who get all doomy thinking about their increased proximity to the grave; I think that every day, so birthdays are no different.
Bye-bye Magazine You
Anyway, having shelved ‘Magazine You’ for another year, on or around the 21st Jan Blue Monday descends, a date which supposedly marks the full psychological impact of post-xmas debts, resolution-failure and crap weather, and has the statistical pedigree of being the day with the most suicides- though I couldn’t found that factoid corroborated anywhere but Metro online so it could be bollocks.
According to some half-wit ‘business advisor’, the solution to wanting to top yourself on this bluest of days is to smile at strangers and give up your seat on the bus, so if you notice any weirdos mooning at you on public transport come Monday, you might want to have the Samaritans’ number handy.
And if you do make it through, the crowing glory of dire days awaits on the 31st Jan, a date which spells a special sort of horror to any freelancer- the dreaded Tax Return, which I still haven’t started. No wonder I’m feeling uninspired.
Having made no resolutions except to try and chill out more, I’ve also not had to endure any crushing sense of relapse-failure, and after the NYE-induced anxiety passed, I actually had a great start to the year. My mind was full of hare-brained schemes and ideas, and I even wrote a plan of when exactly I was doing to DO all this stuff. Except I’ve now released that getting obsessive over future plans is the exact opposite of chilling out more, so perhaps I’d already failed that resolution ahead of schedule.
No booze, no way
But I did manage just under a couple of weeks sans alcohol, until I found myself at a film screening with free whisky laid on, though it was practically a medical necessity given the drafty gallery space and solitary radiator.
Then the following day I found myself stretching the definition of ‘friendship’ with an old mate, which also necessarily involved copious amounts of booze to manage those awkward ‘are we, aren’t we’ moments (we aren’t, in case you wondered- as in, we are Just Friends). Life would be a lot more physically and mentally uncomfortable without alcohol.
So, on the night before Blue Monday, a Whatever Sunday for me: knackered after work (on Snow Day! So unfair) but still trying to plan out the week ahead and struggling to work out what exactly is a priority and what’s a waste of time. Am I really going to master cooking quinoa this week? Will I ever get round to editing those photos? And what happened to that ‘brilliant’ idea I had for video?
It doesn’t help that usually as an artist you make work knowing full well that no one gives a toss about whether you even get out of bed, let alone ‘push the boundaries’ of some pointless concept or other, so it’s not like you have to do anything; it’s a self-imposed job. Which is, however, also one of the best things about it, so I should probably stop moaning and get cracking on that amazing video.