Dear New Year,
I wonder what you have in store for me this year. Based on the surprises you threw me last year I can honestly say I have no idea what could happen this year. Last year you gave me tremendous gifts, a tour round the country performing an exciting show, Ethiopia, several new shows to work on, several new professional relationships, my first series with the BBC, my beautiful, hilarious and wondrous girlfriend (who at this moment is sitting on the bed playing appalling guitar music to herself). You have given me a home in Anerley with my dear friends the Bin and the Bee, who at this very minute are shouting at each other in elation 'WE HAVE A WALL!!' (referring to the picture wall they have created).
You have also given me homes in Brixton, Darlington, Stockwell, Kennington, Addis Ababa, Stockton on Tees and Oxford as well as numerous other places. You have given me some very exciting new music and a new member of the Columbus Giant collective.
Now, what lies ahead. I have thoughts about what I would like to happen, but I think perhaps I will keep these to myself as...
1. I suspect they won't happen anyway
2. I'm pretty sure what happens will be far more interesting that what I thought would happen
I guess I would mainly like to continue thinking of other people more. The most important thing I have begun to learn in the last year (in earnest) is that doing things for others makes me far happier than I have ever been. Whenever I am thinking about myself I eventually end up focussing on the negative, so I'm going to stop doing this so much and concentrate my energies on making those around me happy.
This is what I hope for 2013. That in some small way I can brighten the day of all who I encounter. Maybe not all the time, but most of the time and in a kind of quiet, gentle way, rather than an astounding over awing kind of way.
Oh, yes, I also hope for adventure. To follow the spirit of spontaneity wherever she may tread.
So good night Old Year. It's been a blast. I'll miss you but always looking ahead.
To the Pretentious Knob at the Restaurant Where Amanda Works:
Dear Pretentious Knob,
I have just heard of your behaviour last night and am writing to offer my sincerest condolences for what I assume must be a pathetic little existence. It's lovely to hear that at a time of year when the spirit of Christmas is supposed to be alive and well, that there are still people like you who like nothing more than to ruin it for everybody.
I understand you waited 20 minutes for cocktails on one of the busiest nights of the year! Good God. Well, I must say that is just absolutely appalling. I think that's probably one of the worst things I've ever heard. I think that if I was to look at all the experiences of life of all the six billion people on the planet, that waiting twenty minutes for cocktails has to be up there with the most terrible of them! Forget the people who've lost loved ones, forget the senseless murder of millions, forget life debilitating illnesses (one of which the new waitress you abused has, by the way), forget the millions of people living below the poverty line in third world countries and the homeless on our streets, forget the downtrodden and the meek (don't worry too much about them anyway, they're going to inherit the earth), forget those lives that have been torn apart by natural disaster or human folly, yes forget them...
Oh wait. It appears you already have.
I'm so glad that nothing awful happened to you in the twenty minutes that passed as you waited and waited and waited in the warmth and lovely ambience of a beautiful restaurant passing time in the wonderful company of your two sycophantic companions. I can only assume the conversation was not stimulating enough to make the interminable wait tolerable. So well done on your choice of friends as well. I bet the conversation went a little like this:
Pretentious Knob: Good lord the service here is rubbish. I'm a knob.
Sycophantic Knob: God yes I agree. I'm a massive knob too.
Other Knob: Oh yes. Isn't it lovely that we can all be such knobs together. At Christmas, the time of knobbiness. Where are our cocktails?
So I'd just like to say that I wish you a Merry Christmas, since it's fairly plain that anyone who actually knows you (and isn't a knob) won't be wishing you one. I'd feel bad if you were left out of the Christmas cheer.
I wish you and your lack of understanding, your lack of empathy and your lack of knowledge about what would make this world a better place a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I hope for your and everyone else's sake, that you grow up soon and are able to figure out what is actually important in life. Given that you are fifty five years old I am surprised you haven't figured it out already.
One last thing. The new waitress is one of the sweetest, most giving and generous people I have ever met in my entire life. When she tried to smile as she apologised to you she wasn't doing it to spite you. She was trying to make everything alright. Well done for making her feel like shit.
ps. I know that you intend to write a review of the restaurant and post it on the internet, I think you said that a review like the one you are going to write will close the restaurant down for good. Well all I can say is that such a piece of prose would have to be very powerful indeed, I look forward to reading the work of an author whose mastery of the literary form is so substantial that he may close a restaurant with a stroke of his mighty pretentious pen. Having said that, I understand that the great authors all have something which you apparently lack. EMPATHY. So I'm not holding my breath.
pps. Just so you know. When you post your review. I'm gonna post this underneath it.