Without wishing to seem precipitate – for anything can happen between going to press and you reading this – wasn't it great, at last, that the sun came up this morning? Sunday night was the longest night of a long year. At times, it seemed as though it might never be over. But given the rule that everything gets better the minute the days start to get longer, from today onwards we are in for some long-awaited recovery.
In up-and-coming SE23 we set a vigil through the longest night with roast goose, hot spicy cider and some jumping over fires three times sunwise that showed a new grit and determination, as well as the usual pagan enthusiasm. It was a little bit of rus in urbis – if several armfuls of stolen ivy wound around the banisters counts as that. Everyone had their own reason to be relieved that things are finally getting lighter.
As I tried to impress upon the neighbours, south Londoners need to celebrate the winter solstice more than anybody, especially when the days are metaphorically even darker than they are in reality. Human beings are programmed to respond to the sun. We are not supposed to drive to offices in darkness. The result of all this activity is fatigue and ennui, winter vomiting, hibernation and the entire economy going belly up because everybody's brains were wrongly programmed in the dark.
While I won't predict an end to the credit crunch by the end of the week, I would be surprised if the mood of despondency didn't start to lift. Shopping will seem less draining. Lending will take on a Christmassy cheer. Gordon Brown may indeed have saved the world, when he made the sun come up this morning (correct at the time of going to press).
Service with a scowl
There's nothing like Christmas shopping to make you think that some shops deserve to go belly up in the credit crunch. At Woolworths I always found that customer service was looked upon with contempt. Waitrose, on the other hand, should live long and prosper. This doesn't bode well for the banking sector, however. God help Lloyds TSB if every company that hates its customers goes bust.
My late prediction for "surprise" Christmas best-seller is I Can Has Cheezburger? by Eric Nakagawa. Essentially some photos of cats with surreal captions, it is the cleverest and funniest book since Me Cheeta: The Autobiography, which was supposedly written by a chimp. Maybe 2009 will be a better year for human literature.