A special kind of blue descends on these days following New Year. Before the gripes and grumbles of work supplant the hourless hinterlands of Christmas time, we find ourselves in an odd unwelcoming place. Torn from the bosom of family, friends and the enforced warmth of the festivities, we now feel decidedly and strangely empty. We have awoken from the cheese-induced coma of ennui and turgid bliss that we call Christmas to find ourselves alone.
The turkey has been sandwiched, curried, stewed and souped: the gnarled bones just a distant gut ache in an urban fox skittish beneath a watery moon. Gout tugs at our toes like Jacob Marley’s ghost, dredging up our past failings in the cold death of night. Christmas Trees line the pavements like corpses, bristly and browning like tramp-hedgehog hybrids. The wind batters the windowpane. Our favourite coat, soaked with unrelenting drizzle, lies forlorn in a corner like an aging dog. We daren’t look in the fear that it will not last the year.
We have taken a long hard look at our life. Mistakenly activating the GPS on our life course like a thumb, numb and clumsy with cold, butting carelessly across a smartphone screen. Where am I? Where am I going? Where have I been? Is this really the best way to get there?
There’s the inevitable talk of resolutions and abstinence and diets to block out these self-appraising misery missions. Plans and promises made in this bleak no man’s land of post-Christmas lull are mere chatter to fill the silence. We long for noise even if it is the incessant bickering of loved ones, Dylan naming reindeers in lusty croaks, the obligatory after dinner trumping that has made itself acceptable through the Trojan Horse of ‘we’re in this together’ comaraderie, even Paul fucking Ross sticking his talking head into some 110 Funniest Christmas Sitcom Moments Ever programme. Bring back the noise.
What other options do we have? We can’t drink anymore – our livers won’t allow it. Nobody has any money to flee to warmer happier climes. Comfort eating is out of the question. We have already made as many meals as is possible from reduced sausage meat stuffing, brandy butter and brussel sprouts.
We may well hit the sales and try to wrestle some last semblance of cheer from the mitts of a beefy bargain hunter, get involved in a tug of war over an orthopaedic pillow (60% off we’ll have you know) in the bowels of a House of Fraser somewhere. It won’t fill the void though. The crass commercial behemoth that is Christmas has turned up at our door, stinking of sour gin with red lip-stick smeared across tear-stained cheeks, cleavage oozing, asking if the Christmas party flirt was the start of something more serious. Capitalism’s empty husk is ultimately as bitter and useless as a pistachio shell in a sofa crack.
There’s always Sherlock though and crying and tidying and alphabeticalising anything that starts with a letter and walking aimlessly in biblical storms until step by soggy step we find our feet in 2014. Happy new year everyone.