Bournemouth off-season is like walking into an entire town based around OAPs homes. It’s already (sorry Mark), the town I attribute to my decision that I didn’t really want to live in the UK in the long run again (ludicrous nanny state beach signs right after I came back from India the first time were the final straw – fun free zone!), though it’s actually quite a pretty place in an old fashioned, typically English way. But that was in the summer, in the winter it’s still more odd.
Once you write off the beach (straight after Christmas – you must be joking!) and add in the selection of pensioners (most 80+) spending their Christmas holidays in a random hotel than the whole place reminds me of that South Park episode where the old people are driving around really slowly in cars running everyone over. Our hotel was like something out of the 70s, all floral patterns, twelve-inch televisions and hair dryers attached to wall sockets. There was even an outdoor swimming pool. In the foyer a dozen or so barely conscious old folk were sipping whiskey and discussing the war, at least until we came in, when the precense of people below pension-grabbing age seemed to be cause for quite considerable shock.
Having escaped in the evening to watch the (excellent, incidentally) Avatar, it was the morning when I felt the full force of retirement home hotel, eating my breakfast alone. The fifteen other tables seemed to be taking turns in talking (meaning each couple spoke to each other perhaps once every 15 minutes), and there were two topics of conversation: yesterday’s weather, and today’s. I know I shouldn’t go on in this slightly ageist way about just how dull it all was, but frankly, if I ever turn out like that, shoot me. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so uncomfortable. Maybe when you’ve been together for 50 years you don’t have anything to talk about except the weather, but then again, there’s still current events, hobbies, what you’ve done on your holiday (okay, it was in Bournemouth, but still), surely? In the words of The Who (ironically, pretty old themselves now), I hope I die before I get old. Sometimes.
New Year I spent in Ballinrobe, which is a little farming town in Mayo. They have one club, which is apparently quite laughable awful, but they do also have a resident Villa fan (no, it wasn’t me) and – despite it having the potentially to be the quietest New Year in living memory – it turned out to be a cracking night. So much so that after some political debate with the local Uruguayan contingent, we conspired to wake up my possible future mother-in-law at 4 in the morning as we didn’t have enough whiskey. The fact that we did that clearly demonstrates that we had more than enough whiskey. I’d like to put it on record that it was in no way my idea, despite the fact that the two siblings inside the house informed said poor lady that I had stayed outside because I was ‘too drunk to come in’. I was playing with the dog, I swear! Great night, though.
New Year’s resolutions for this year… to be honest I didn’t really make any. Aside form earning more and getting some articles into some more exciting places (though the last few months have, from a writing perspective, been brilliant, to be honest, but you always want to go further…), which kind of goes without saying really. I plan – if possible – to try and see even more live music this year, too. I’m going to aim for one a week (and for getting in for as many of them as I can free with the magazines – why not!) and see how that goes.