ARTS / Cries & Whispers

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The Independent Culture
THE PARTY is well and truly over, and it's time to make my New Year resolutions - for other people.

Rachel Whiteread: to have a new idea. There's nothing wrong with the old one, but let's face it, it's had a good run.

The management of the Forum, Kentish Town, formerly the Town & Country Club: to bring back the sweet-shop.

Meryl Streep: to realise that if God had meant her to do comedies he wouldn't have given her such a serious face.

Newspapers (and we may even be guilty ourselves here): to ignore Newman and Baddiel in the hope they'll go away.

TV critics: to admit that Absolutely Fabulous lives up to its title, when Slightly Better Than Most Other Sitcoms would be more accurate; come to think of it, One Foot in the Grave isn't as good as it's cracked up to be either; and while we're on the subject, that's enough sitcoms about old people.

Britain's multiplex cinemas: to devote more screens to home-grown talent - Naked, where are you?

The bouncers at the new Comedy Store: to chill out (overheard on opening night: 'just fucking sit down now please').

Kathy Lette: to be in every single thing on telly, including the Nine O'Clock News.

Senior staff of the Royal Opera House, London orchestras, the RSC, the BBC, etc: to stop whingeing.

Angus Deayton, Sharon Stone, Stephen Fry, Madonna, Armando Iannucci, Danny Baker and Henryk Gorecki: to take a long holiday - how about 52 weeks?

Melvyn Bragg: to go out for a drink with Michael Portillo and sort out which of them is going to keep their new hairstyle.

Mark Lamarr: to be more graceful about his employers at The Word and never, ever, to threaten to urinate over young women in the audience (or indeed men), as he did the other night at the Big Top comedy club.

The Gate Theatre: to see what happens if they go a whole year without putting on anything old and Spanish.

Club DJs: to stop pretending that playing Kraftwerk LPs at 45rpm is a new idea.

The Late Show: to be on a bit earlier; to get a new title sequence; and to be preapred to talk about rock singers, instead of just using them for musical interludes.

The Writers' Guild: to recognise new talent as well as old (and we mean old) at the next British Comedy Awards.

Anne Robinson: to refrain from giving us that smug wink.

Peter Cook: to continue the dry run and keep working.

Mr Blobby: to retire.

Whoops. I nearly forgot. Britain's record companies: to slash the price of CDs. Happy New Year.