And so it came to be that an age routed period of pagan feasting wrapped up in a Christian fable and submerged in a crass commercial festival came to be celebrated. And what a fab time seems to have been enjoyed by so many including myself. I base my assessment of others good times upon the posts on facebook by various friends. I’ve not seen many folk in recent days.
I have struggled in prior years or indeed most of the past decade to gain serious joy out of this period of the calendar but am delighted to say I have enjoyed the month: yes the month and that is the month to date as another week or so remains in my end of year celebrations as I wrap up this year and start to unwrap the challenges of the year ahead.
In earlier weeks I have enjoyed many nights out with friends from over the years whom I do not see regularly. That sets the tone for me, the wrapping up and bringing together and upon which friendships can carry (hopefully) into the future.
Christmas period 24-26th was by selfish selection of what to watch, listen to, smell and savour. I used to mock my father when back in Ireland as I turned 20 or so a few decades ago he used to take a telly guide and mark therein what he wished to see often with overlapping conflicting choices. For him it was perhaps liberation from the time (earlier still in history) when Ireland only has one television offering or perhaps the misguided hope that my Mother would concede some token concession programmes that did not disrupt her planned relaxation. A game of bluff perhaps. I do the same now with the programme guide although following the departure of Milly the 7 legged spider from my home I get to make the big choices. Milly left following 2 assassination attempts by the Celtic warrior brigade (i.e. me) and she should have known better than rest upon an open page. She lives but our relationship is beyond repair as is one of her legs.
Mood setters are essential and 2 good movies on Christmas Eve in the form of Mama Mia and Hotel Marigold got me right in the festive mood of good cheer and happy will. Christmas day passed peacefully between movies such as White Christmas, Avatar (fellowship and friendship of the former and how we screw up Mother Nature and the environment in the 2nd) and 2 excellent programmes on Ballet by Darcey Bussell showing how male dancers have changed the way ballet is presented. Billy Elliot and Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake are good examples of current trends but Carlos Acosta from Cuba another. Least enjoyed and my only viewing on the top 10 for the period was Mrs Brown’s Boys which is now truly tired in script, lazy in acting and past its best by date. Sprouts can only be reheated so many times.
Two enjoyable movies on Saturday at Tyneside Cinema brought to an end a period of relaxed viewing and post on Facebook yesterday said; “Double bill at TC of Suffragette which did well in movie time to tell the tale of the national struggle for voting equality, the personal struggle of Maud played very well by Carey Mulligan whose interaction with Cop Brendan Gleeson could have been so much more firey- a missed opportunity. Sadly it took the martyrdom of Emily Davison to galvanise the opposition and a further 2 decades approx before all women got the vote. It would take a much better Director than Sarah Gavron to make best work of the impact of the various struggles in such a short time i.e. better as a series on telly.
Brooklyn is delightfully sweet movie of a young Irish woman in New York in early '50s. Great acting by Saoirse Ronan and others, sharp script played carefully between stereotypes and gosh I knew (even know!) people like that and those who engage with life with passion.”
Have set objectives; new year resolutions sound great in January and tired in the month of Mars although Objectives rather scary as early morning sun rays plays upon the floor, in each of the 4 key areas of my life Family (much more positive), Work (tuff) Personal (my playground of the mind), and a Miscellaneous hodge podge group for which am searching a name. Same in concept to prior years but more specific, more focused and better still to measure how much joy I extract from this life. I can still reflect happily upon the dozen days or so spent lazily in a hammock in Place of 4,000 islands upon the Mekong in Southern Laos 15 years ago but there are times for action too and this year will bring forth plenty opportunities which I will not squander. Have booked some 20 shows in a variety of places in the period till mid May or about 1 a week. One big holiday planned for first 2 weeks of January in Gambia and shorter trips away a new must do for 2016. The big challenge is permanent work to provide a platform of stability and plans in that direction are going very well with meetings to progress last and next week. Classes at Explore, Lit & Phil, and Newcastle Uni diarised. Comedy Club will abound merrily plus many more as mu divorce from telly proceeds with glee.
Later today it will be Sri Lankan cooking with some beef
brisket a far different cut than my fine fillet steak of Christmas day. Sri
Lankan Beef Smore with Mallung and Pol Sambol and all the spices and idiot
guide from TheSpicery. Release the flavours and dance upon the Sky.
Find me on twitter at @fionamaccarthy for the more impulsive me