I counted down to midnight in Barcelona, where it’s traditional to give your partner red clothes and to scoff twelve grapes on the twelve chimes without choking to death in order to get good luck for the year. Now I’m heading back to flooded-out London, having missed the fireworks.
Never mind; 2012 was an interesting year; London had the a century of appalling weather squeezed into one summer but the Olympic Games stayed dry. I launched books that did well, like ‘Hell Train’ and ‘Bryant & May and the Invisible Code’, and books that vanished unnoticed, like ‘Red Gloves’, of which I had been inordinately proud. My US publication dates went back, and I once again failed to sell any short story collections there (catch up guys, you’re 150 stories behind!)
Because I work at home and slog through most weekends, I travel to escape. After ten years of France, I finally grew tired of being ripped off on the Riviera and headed to Spain, although electronic portability means that I work there too. Just as well, because the upcoming load is daunting. I suspect I’ll continue much in the way of the Hatton Garden jeweller who said, ‘I’ll retire when I can no longer get up the stairs.’
As the newspapers go electronic and the Cloud takes over we’ll see more scenes like the little boy who approached a park-keeper to ask where he was supposed to recharge his phone, and sights like the one I saw yesterday – a teen had unplugged the Christmas tree in a shopping mall to charge his tablet – becoming commonplace.
And here are the things I don’t want to read in the press on January 1st:
1. Journalistic opinion. Yellow is the new black, why men look better in beards, whether Lady Gaga is over – give me facts that you’ve gone out and discovered for yourself. You’re a reporter – report something instead of writing a ‘feature’.
2. Talent trickledown. You start with Pablo, you end up with Paloma, so no Romeo Beckham, no Victoria or Giles Coren, definitely no Madonna progeny. I’m not interested in your vicariously-played-out public lives. You were born with a network in place, that’s all.
3. No more EL James, Eddie Redmayne, Pottermore, Jimmy Carr, Benedict Cumberbatch – and Kardashians. I’m over the over-exposed.
4. Hangover cures and diets (there’s an easy answer; eat and drink a bit less), hot new restaurants and obscure places to go on holiday – if they’re just getting over a civil war the last thing they need is me arriving in my shorts to take Instagrams.
5.Pieces about empowered Western women who balance careers and families. UK females may get twice the cancer funding that males get, but they still lag a long way behind in equal pay. Make wages equal and the opportunities will follow. It’s not rocket science.
And a very Happy New Year to all of you – keep messaging, commenting and adding to one another’s knowledge of life, the world and everything in between. We learn until we die, or we just die.