Seven New Year resolutions to get 2015 off to a flying start
‘Abstinence and cutting back are tough enough at the best of times, but in grim January, it’s even more torturous’
A resolution for RTÉ: since Santa brought Montrose the early Christmas present of Ray D’Arcy, the station now has to figure out how to maximise his talent. Here’s a resolution for it: give him a big TV gig.
The main problem with New Year’s resolutions is that we make them for themselves. As any good consultant will tell you (for a nice fee, of course), people don’t often know what is best for them.
When it comes to giving ourselves advice we tend to cheat a little, lie a little, convince ourselves that cutting corners isn’t so bad, and that we are right all along. We reserve the best advice for doling out to others. We lack the perspective to honestly tell ourselves what are the best things we should resolve to do.
A good way to sidestep this is to skip punishments and abstinence and instead make an annual to-do list. Instead of stopping things, add to your life. A checklist of things you want to achieve in 2015 gains more power when you put it on paper.
January is a terrible month to commit to doing anything. Gym owners rub their hands with glee at the prospect of people with great intentions but poor staying power signing up in the first week of the year. With every standing order comes a fresh pang of guilt that you slacked off weight training or didn’t stay on the rowing machine long enough.
Television broadcasts are full of ads flogging nicotine patches, gums and sprays. The bloated cartoon characters depicting the adverse effects of indigestion look strangely familiar, possibly seen in the mirror that morning. Under Quality Street wrappers, and heels of bread transformed into skyscraper turkey sandwiches, a strange worry arises that sluggishness might be tipping over into gout. And so we resolve to be better.
Abstinence and cutting back are tough enough at the best of times but are even more torturous in grim January, a month some see as a fresh welcome, others as a money- strapped no-man’s land to traverse towards the welcome border of February. It’s cold, it’s dark and it’s the wettest month.
The first resolution is for potential instigators of new political parties. New hypothetical political parties and/or groupings and/or movements and/or collectives have finally overtaken the 1916 commemorations as Ireland’s Most Boring Topic.
Resolve to put up or shut up. The public can take no more lofty opinion pieces from political operators doing a merry kabuki dance with no conclusion.
The second resolution is for Sinn Féin to keep the head down. While tweeting all kinds of oddities, throwing metaphorical grenades around the Dáil and using parliamentary privilege as a weapon of mass distraction might play well within the party, it’s as transparent as they come. Sinn Féin would do well to begin the year with a vow of silence before its games start to grate.
Give Ray D’Arcy a TV show
Part of D’Arcy’s mystery package (now he’s no longer giving out about overpaid RTÉ presenters from a distance, one assumes he won’t be placing his own RTÉ salary under similar scrutiny) is a television project; and, as Today FM listeners know, D’Arcy is at his best when talking to guests. A chat show would be the perfect fit.
Resolution number four is for the Irish film and television industry. Native film and TV makers should resolve to write decent parts for women, fund films directed and written by women and make sure the dramas we watch do not depict female characters as insignificant or whimpering, as currently they largely are. There won’t be as many eyes on the IFTAs this year, following last year’s broadcasting shambles, but that doesn’t mean the industry cannot make a resolution to represent audiences better.
A good resolution for the various Irish tourism marketeers is to come up with more decent ideas to rival the genius that is the Wild Atlantic Way. Ghost estates turned into trick or treating Halloween theme parks? The Scenic Sellafield Slope charting a journey along the east coast? House of horrors trips charting the worst-built buildings during the boom? Deciding to make something of the Liffey in Dublin city centre other than just a passageway for rescue boats, killer seagulls and discarded traffic cones? The possibilities are endless.
Resolution number six goes to Enda Kenny, who should resolve to do an interview in the next 12 months.
Finally there would be a resolution for women in Ireland. However, as our Constitution implies, they cannot be trusted to make decisions for themselves, especially medical ones, so we’ll put that resolution on hold for the time being. Maybe next year.