Man About Town: Who would have thought that being a ginger hack could have such advantages

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The Independent Online

In these tough times, it's nice to see Oddbins giving something back. The chain of off-licences have come up with a discount scheme this month, where every weekend, a different put-upon minority gets 10 per cent off their drinks bill.

I happen to do particularly well, as on one weekend thirsty journalists (in the same category as bankers: 2012 was kind to neither) can get 10 per cent off.

And then a couple of weeks later, those blessed with red hair get the same deal. Who would have thought that being a ginger hack could have such advantages?

I'm not sure, however, whether I'll be able to pass myself off as a member of one of the other groups who get discounts.

In a couple of weeks, Germans will get 10 per cent off, while this weekend, the offer is for mothers. The accent's one thing, but giving birth by Sunday could prove beyond my abilities.

Without wishing to question the wine merchant's generosity too much, the publicity-attracting deal, one suspects, is also to help drum up sales during January, traditionally the month when the public reduces its alcoholic intake in order to feel better about 11 months of pretty solid excess. But perhaps what Oddbins also knows is that this is the perfect time to go out.

The new year blues can't be beaten by sitting at home, staring at the paunch Santa brought you for Christmas. Plus all the busiest places are often empty in January.

Always wanted to go to that hard-to-get-into restaurant or that self-importantly exclusive nightclub? Now's the best time.

For those of us who do want to go out, or write about going out, times are quiet and invitations are very thin on the ground. The professional partygoers in the celebrity world also take time off to go on holiday, which means that the less-heralded get their moment in the spotlight.

Those taking full advantage included the "troubled actress" Lindsay Lohan (visiting the UK this week), the stars of Dancing on Ice and those barely famous types keen to lose any remaining dignity and credibility: known as the Celebrity Big Brother contestants.

They, like us journalists and red heads, need to take full advantage of January.