Things I Don’t Want To Read About On January 1st


New Year celebrationsI 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.

12 comments on “Things I Don’t Want To Read About On January 1st”

  1. Alan G says:

    Sparked a memory there, Mr Fowler. An idiot at Heathrow, well refreshed, thought it appropriate to steal a power source I needed to transport a patient. I remained calm – but he looked mighty cheerful to be led away by armed Police.

  2. stephen groves says:

    Hi Chris,

    A happy new year to you and yours.

    All Best


  3. Dan Terrell says:

    Well said, but if your five groupings were followed to the letter, there would be a LOT of white space in the communications world. And wouldn’t it be restful. There is, indeed, so much pap and so little serious news.
    As to your last, may I quote my Mother who would be 102 were she still about: “You’ve got a brain. Use it.”
    I’m looking forward to 2013. A new year of Fowler slogging and walks with pics and comments. As to Red Gloves, it was excellent, but here in the States short story collections are now few.
    Alan G: that’s a well tossed tidbit care to toss a bit more?

  4. Phil says:

    Chris, you are a beautiful man that writes beautiful things. A very happy new year to you. Please keep on being beautiful in 2013!!

  5. Rick D says:

    Thinking happy thoughts for 2013. Here’s something else to chew on – I could add a lot to this list! Over to you…

  6. Chris Lancaster says:

    All the best for the New Year… And I for one thought that Red Gloves was your best book of 2012. Not that the others were bad, I should add 🙂

  7. Helen Martin says:

    I have Hell Train and Hellion, too. I look forward to this year and wish you all the best for 2013. I just learned about the red underwear bit from a friend so next New Year may be more interesting than this. The things one can learn on the internet.

  8. Alan G says:

    Dan – that was a very strange day. The normal protocols had to be abandoned and we had to move the patient through the concourse to get him on his flight. He was in a powered rig which had electric outlets, and we had to wait a few minutes while the boss went off to find out what the Hell to do. So a drunken idiot thought it would be funny to plug his mobile into the chair. I remained calm and serene as I smashed his phone, he was not happy, but not so drunk that he did not realise the danger he was in. The Police, staggering under the weight of their guns, got him safely away from me. I’ll just point out that I hate violence, am extremely good at it but that was beyond the pale.

  9. Alan G says:

    Helen – red underwear? You should not do that to us…

  10. Vivienne says:

    This post is in the wrong place, but I have been following the Invisible Ink column in the IoS and meant to write as I’d missed some and hadn’t kept a list. Now I have the book and can catch up with all these unread authors whose books used to line the local library’s shelves when I was about 12 – and I ignored them, they sounded so boring – Rex Warner, Peter Tinniswood, Ronald Firbank. I was wrong then about Waugh’s Put Out More Flags, which sounded like bunting for a local village fete, so should have known better by now. Thanks, Vivienne

  11. Helen Martin says:

    Alan, little do you know how shocking that sight would be. I normally wear underwear *under* the rest of my clothing, however.

  12. Steve says:

    I’m a bit late…but to quote Alastair Sim playing Scrooge:

    “I don’t know anything, I never did know anything, I don’t know anything, all on a Christmas morning”.

    Happy 2013 all.

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