It’s probably good form to start this by wishing everyone who stumbles across this post a Happy New Year; I guarantee yours was better than mine, which was spent in the grips of the prosaically named Winter Vomiting Disease. If you haven’t had it yet (and this is my second time in three years, so I’ve probably had your allocation), its best described as either: your body suddenly deciding to put you on the ultimate weight-loss programme; an invisible hand grabbing you and rinsing you out ; or my favourite and courtesy of an ex-housemate of mine: ‘spending three days as some foul Catherine-Wheel’.
I hope that helped with your hangovers. In no way am I bitter that when you lot were out enjoying yourselves at fancy soirees and suchlike, I was bent double over a cistern wondering when my kidneys would pop out. No, I had a great time, weak as a kitten in a steam-room, watching my body turn itself inside out.
Enough, Matt, enough. You didn’t come here to read about my ailments ( if you have though, please read this blog: www.mattbeestoniasawfulupsets.vom ). So I shall push on with a very swift review of the year that was by far my weirdest, if not Beeston’s oddest, 2010:
The year started off with myself drowning under a sea of cheap Merlot while engaged in an increasingly bizarre conversation with a Malaysian Damsel in Distress http://teresalou.wordpress.com/, which nearly got made into a radio play, nearly got serialised by a national newspaper and nearly got made into one of those crap books you by in desperation for someone you don’t much like at Christmas. But nada, so bah, I will have to find my fortune by taking up an offer a very nice Nigerian Prince has made to me, once I save up ten weeks dole to pay for the processing fee.
Around the time I was writing that epic, I also became single, and thus plunged into the murky waters that is internet dating. I didn’t write too much about this at the time; some unexpected discretion arose in me that has obviously died back considering the first paragraph of this piece. It was a very brief, yet fun experience, yet I sort of got it all wrong and when one ‘date’ asked me if I wanted to go on holiday with her abroad, I didn’t think this was odd in the slightest and did so. After all, we’d been on three dates by then.
Inevitably, we had a row on the Indigo to East Midlands, weren’t talking on the Ryanair to Malaga, and by the time we’d reached our apartment had declared war on each other, each others families, each others friends, and anything connected however loosely to each other (yeah, screw you, Malibu). I ended up in a grotty derelict yet cheap pension without shoes, overheard a murder, had to walk around in the day with my rucksack/ big coat on and eventually had a fist fight on the street with an unfortunate pickpocket who decided to dip me when my patience made The Hulk look like a Care Bear. It was such a traumatic trip that I pledged to never go abroad again( https://beestonia.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/the-bill-bryson-of-beestonia/), and yes, Dear Reader, I have kept to that pledge. Nothing to do with being super-poor, oh no, and if you were to offer me an all expenses trip to the Maldives until it gets a bit bloody warmer here, I will refuse. Go on, try me.
Spring sprang, and as the trees returned to a verdant green all else turned red, yellow and blue as the election loomed. To be honest, my memories of this period are hazy due to its sheer oddness: having the BNP candidate send me an email telling me off for calling him a holocaust denier (I denied I ever did. Though then I asked him why he’d tried to become head of the British wing of the Ku Klux Klan and he went all quiet, not even turning up at the count); watching the three parties tear chunks out of each other (Cllr. Watts battle with Anna Soubry’s agent was particularly juicy, and now quite odd following seven months of cosy Coalition); and the actual night of the election, where a mole at the count fed me insights via text as I kept myself awake with judicious swigs of red wine and nasty cider, before passing out and having some truly terrifying dreams regarding a certain candidate.
The result didn’t go the way I really wanted: less politics, more personality. We lost a decent, honest, hardworking MP and replaced him with a slightly paranoid, ineffective and not-exactly honest MP who proceeded to hire a party activist (not a good idea when you pledged not to who also turned out to be, oh dear, a bit of a twat who found it simply hil-arrrr-ious to hold up signs saying “BRING BACK SLAVERY”. He swiftly made an exit soon after the Nottingham Post took up the story (just a fortnight late, and they get paid for doing this). He later failed to take control of that lovely organisation known as Conservative Future (hopefully an oxymoron when Gideon’s cuts fail to do anything but ironically increase employment at Job-centres), due to his ‘media gaffes’.
In summer, I took up my usual habit of cycling aimlessly round this mighty town, and occasionally slipping into the neighbouring hinterlands of Erewash, particularly the area past the Nature Reserve but before Sawley, where as well as the best blackberry bushes in Beestonia are found, the innocent rambler may stumble across this bench, with this plaque attached:
Exhaustive investigation (well, I emailed Erewash Council) ensued, but I’m still no closer to working out who the dickens this Mr Crosby was: it’s not the singer, as he died well before that. And possibly wasn’t from Long Eaton. The investigation is still open, so any further theories are welcome…
I also spent far too much time over summer at hustings for the new leader of Labour, first by annoying David Milliband (and not by making the joke that I preferred his brother, Glenn), and got caught up in a bizarrely rubbish race-riot when the EDL tried to storm the building Diane Abbot presented from. Of course, I didn’t attend the eventual winner’s hustings, but I did apparently share a train carriage with Ed, which resulted in what still remains my Favourite Text Message of the Year, courtesy of a fellow passenger, the mighty Dan E: “He was sitting in economy of all places. I think he walked past to use the bog and it was probably a number 2 as he took his time”.
Autumn saw Tesco suddenly leap into life, as unscrupulous contractors worked illegally to get the store open for Christmas. I campaigned against it , fruitlessly, and now we have the hulking mass of consumerist imperialism dumped atop Beeston like a fresh turd from the arse of Mammon. I have kept my pledge to never shop there (yeah, take that, Sir Terry Leahy, you’ll be on your knees if I don’t spend my £62 per week JSA on your produce), but have hit an ethical dilemma. You see, much as I hate Tesco, they do have a nice range of red wine: I like red wine. And its cheap. So cheap in fact, it can only be a loss-leader: so provided I don’t get suckered into buying anything but cheap wine when I venture in, they LOSE money with my every purchase. Thus, if I buy enough wine, Tesco will actually record a loss and have to close down and we can build a town-centre butterfly reserve / rehab centre. If anyone even attempts to point out any logical inconsistency here, I shall break down and cry, and that would be good for no-one, ok?
2010 has been a remarkably odd year for Beestonia, yet I’m remarkably positive about the future. I nearly left over the autumn, to move to the North West, and while that still happen I’m still very proud to live in Beeston, despite it being under the Tescopoly and Tory-ran. I predict the Coalition will implode around May time, and the ensuing General Election will return an MP who doesn’t treat the non-Tory electorate as second class constituents; the Demonic Kay Cutts is ousted from Notts County Council and her swingeing attacks on anything that smells slightly community-orientated: care-homes, the CAB, Beeston Resource Centre are stopped and more sensible options on revenue-raising are put in place: how about setting up a log-flume over Beeston weir, £5 a pop? I’d certainly squander my meagre dole on it.
Sorry for the very lazy compilation nature of this post: I was going to do one of those talking heads programmes where no-mark comedians react to clips they’ve only just been shown but pretend they have held dear for years: something like ‘Britain’s Best Beestonia Bits’, where Ashley Peacock from Coronation Street pisses himself into a puddle over how much he loved my picture of Dave Miliband’s crotch*, followed by Terry off Big Brother 5 guffawing to the camera about how he loved my reminiscence of romantic teenage shenanigans in Blackburn**, but even I’m not quite that lazy….
And, next time, I have a bit of a mission for YOU, yes YOU. I want you to tell me who should be Beestonia’s Hero/ Villain of 2010, plus best New Thing, Most Missed Thing, and your predictions for 2011. Send to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via the comments thing here. I have pretty much made my mind up already about who the winners are, and only cold, hard cash will influence me into changing my opinions, but its nice to know if I’m on the same wavelength as you lovely, lovely people.
Now you must excuse me. My stomach is making a noise like a fire in a pet shop, and I’m about to once again about to spend quality time with Mr Armitage Shanks…Have a Happy, Healthy New Year.
(interestingly- to me, anyway-when you type ‘Miliband’ into this software it automatically corrects it to ‘Millbank’ : Tory HQ. This is up there with ‘Tony Blair MP’ being an anagram of ‘I’m Tory Plan B’ for those who are inclined towards conspiracy theories. And if you are one of those, I’m one of THEM.