Happy New Year. The start of January is always a relief to me, as it signals that the sheer living Hell of Christmas is out of the way for at least eleven months.
The December party season is without doubt the worst time of year to earn one’s living as a stand-up comedian. Playing to audiences of drunk office parties made up of people who don’t even like each other is an annual chore we all approach with the same degree of enthusiasm as Theresa May must approach PMQs each week.
Having said that, this year I actually found myself entering into the spirit of Christmas more than I normally do. I made an advent calendar. To be totally accurate it wasn’t an advent calendar, it was a Brexit calendar. Every day I opened a window to find a picture of a different member of the government who had resigned in 2018.
January is normally the month when we make predictions for the year ahead. If the last few months of 2018 can be seen a bellwether, only a fool would have a go at forecasting what is likely to happen in the first fortnight of 2019, let alone the fifty remaining weeks of the year, For example, who would have bet on Jose Mourinho getting the sack before Theresa May?
Stubborn, arrogant, unbending, underachieving and unpopular. Aloof and monosyllabic when dealing with the media. Parking the bus, trying to convince their critics that their unattractive route one game plan is the only tactical approach on offer, totally unwilling to accept that there might be a plan B. Hated and ridiculed by many on their own team. It really is difficult to tell the difference between May and Mourinho?
It reportedly cost Manchester United around twenty-million pounds to give Mourinho his jotters, but they obviously thought it was a price worth paying. God knows what the cost will be to Britain of allowing May to stay in her job.
Two things it is practically impossible to predict are who will be next Brexit Secretary or who will be the next leader of leader of UKIP…Indeed, these are the only two growth areas in employment in the UK after 2016 referendum.
In its three-hundred year history, up until June 2016, Britain had never had even one Brexit secretary. In 2018 alone, there were been three and possibly 2019 may have produced more by the time you read this.
The fact that Theresa May somehow managed to make it through to the end of 2018 merely confirms a theory of mine, namely, that three forms of life will survive a nuclear holocaust: cockroaches, Theresa May and the Duke of Edinburgh
The one thing I can predict with confidence is that much more embarrassment in Europe lies ahead for Theresa May or whoever happens to be Prime Minister by the time you read this column. However, there are many people in Britain who admire her stubbornness, those people who find foreign countries to be an inconvenience, even when they holiday there.
I was in a Spanish tobacconist last September, standing behind an English couple who continually asked for twenty Lambert and Butler in very loud slow English, despite the fact that the person behind the counter kept telling them they did not stock that brand and offering them numerous alternatives. The dialogue went along the following lines:
‘Twenty Lambert and Butler’
‘Twenty Lambert and Butler’
’I am very sorry, we do not sell these’
’Twenty Lambert and Butler… English cigarettes’
’Ah, English cigarettes. We have Benson and Hedges’
‘No. Twenty Lambert and Butler’
Eventually, the guy gave up and left the shop without any fags, probably hoping to find a vending machine in a bar he could shout at. It strikes me that Theresa May negotiated her deal with the European Union along very similar lines, and with a very similar outcome. Even when she returned to Brussels to try to re-negotiate the deal, she found that she couldn’t even negotiate her way out of the back seat of a limousine.
Having said only a fool would make any predictions for 2019, here are mine:
* Jose Mourinho will be offered a number of highly-paid jobs in Europe.
* Everyone is going to be bored shitless by endless documentaries celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing.
* The pound will become so valueless, Hearts fans will be able to throw even more coins at Neil Lennon.
* Theresa May will not be offered any sort of job in Europe.
Aside from that, anything could happen in the next twelve months.
Vladimir McTavish will be appearing at The Stand, Glasgow with his solo show ‘25 Years Of Stand-Up’ on Sunday 24 March as part of Glasgow Comedy Festival www.thestand.co.uk