Let’s hear it for January – the best month of the year | Blaise Tapp
I’ve long made it one of my many mini missions in life to defend the honour of January which is, without doubt, most people’s least favourite month.
That it is the Millwall of the Gregorian Calendar is unfair because the first month of the year should be the pick of the bunch, not the one the majority dreads the most.
For many, January means four weeks of eating beans and pulses due to December being overdone in every way imaginable.
It’s the month when standing on the bathroom scales – if they haven’t been smashed in a cellulite rage incident – is mandatory, as is moaning about how pulling on a pair of jeans is akin to actual bodily harm.
For several weeks the pavements of suburbia are at their busiest as the January Joggers sweat in vain to make up for the fun they had over the festive period.
These amateurs usually pack away their ridiculously expensive leisure clobber well before Valentine’s Day but not before they’ve spluttered over unsuspecting pedestrians and dog walkers.
This is the month that, in normal times, the hospitality industry dreads the most because, apart from the most loyal of regulars, pubs and bars are at their quietest largely due to the fact that they don’t accept Amazon vouchers or chocolate buttons as payment for a round.
Then there’s Dry January, which is the annual rabbit punch that publicans everywhere can well do without and is a concept which will always baffle me because this is the month that so many of us can really do with a drink.
At this time of year, every year, I make a real point of nipping out for the occasional pint or three because this is when our pubs and bars need us the most, especially after the car crash of a December that most of them have just endured.
Having said that, my kitchen worktop currently resembles the bar at the Rovers Return, after we grossly overestimated how many people might want to let their hair down at ours, and I’ve a sneaking suspicion that the Christmas port could be hanging around until the summer’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
At least all our cheese has now gone. Just.
January’s reputation isn’t helped by Blue Monday, a phrase which no longer makes people immediately think of a ship in a harbour, but instead instils much of the population with a sense of unnecessary, not to mention manufactured, dread.
If you tell people that there is a day when they’ll feel skint and as miserable as Morrissey then that’s precisely how they’ll feel.
I prefer to stay upbeat at this time of year, which I largely achieve by not setting childishly simple resolutions such as ‘be more successful’ or ‘lose enough weight to fit into that tight black T-shirt that was fashionable in 2000’.
These days the promises I make to myself at a minute past midnight on the first day of the year are far more nuanced, such as ‘I will grill my black pudding rather than fry it,’ or ‘I’ll mute even more idiots on social media this year’.
January is a time of new hope, a clean slate and when we are actually looking forward to being patronised by a man in a hi-viz jacket down the local tip because it means we are finally clearing out the shed.
This is the month when we tend to plan for the rest of the year, which includes booking holidays, even if you still won’t be sure whether or not you’ll be able to go.
Right now our family calendar is mind-bogglingly full, although it is more populated than it was this time 12 months ago.
This is the month of FA Cup giant killings and a month when David Walliams isn’t on our television screens.
Rather than dread the next four weeks, we should embrace what January throws our way because, after all, we’ll soon be asking ourselves where the year has gone.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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