Simon Carr: Starting tomorrow: more sex, more wine

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The Independent Online

Time was up until my last birthday in fact when there was so much time ahead it didn't matter much what one did. Now I have to be careful. These resolutions are important.

1. Alcohol. Very important to get this right. The consequences of misjudging alcohol get more serious as life goes on. And it takes a certain moral substance, if I can put it like that, to stick to the true path. My resolution is to keep drinking as much as I can before it starts to cause me physical, emotional or mental distress. In crude terms, that's a bottle of chardonnay a day. Or between 42 and 84 units a week, depending on who you ask or what sort of chardonnay. This is between double and quadruple the government guidelines, hence the moral substance needed.

2. Weight. This goes up and down. It's a question of inspiration. After the last dieting binge I went down to the government-approved weight of 82kg and stayed there for a year. It was ghastly, like having a second job as a shelf-stacker. But you can't drink chardonnay and stay within government guidelines.

In the last year or so I've edged back up to 112kg (dead in a decade, according to key indicators supplied by the NHS). More importantly, I'll have to buy new shirts if I don't get back to the right collar size. This means exercise. And the fact is, I do feel better after exercise, so I resolve to stop drinking periodically and live on 500 calories a day, when the weight goes over 105kg.

3. Ignore health advice, especially from nutritionists.

4. Start a campaign of civil disobedience. Enough is enough. I will change the station on the car radio without pulling into a lay-by. I will eat a sandwich while driving. I will not hold on to the rail of the escalator while it is moving. When I walk down Whitehall, I will say, "The Government's performance on pensions is disgraceful" without having written authorisation from the police.

5. I may try to eat less meat because when I eat it slowly I can't help thinking about the animal running around before it met its end. And then I get a superstitious sense of what I might be reproached with on the day of judgement. I will only eat meat that I've killed myself. And that includes carols singers.

6. No more jokes. We so expect jokes to be made that it's impossible to surprise anyone any more. And jokes aren't funny, as anyone who listens to the laughter on Radio 4 can tell. And I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out that there are things that we shouldn't make jokes about at all. The Queen, for instance. What's funny about the monarchy?

7. I will not start any businesses ever again. And thus avoid the delusions and debilitating work that are produced by the ambition of making enough to pay for your nursing care.

8. There must still be time to connect in a meditative way with the natural world. Once a year, I will take mescaline. But I don't know any drug dealers any more. Gardening, then, do more gardening. Specialising in mushrooms. In the hope of growing some magic.

9. Recreation needs to be taken more seriously. Many more holidays, much more sex, some more 19th-century lyric poetry. Only a little more alligator wrestling.

10. Fewer opinions. Less and less do the facts of modern life need commentary. We lot are valued, if we are valued, for what we know rather than what we think. The resolution is to restrict expressing opinions.

This is going to be harder than it sounds. I'll start tomorrow.

Exorcism is good for children

Faith schools have always presented difficulties to modern sensibilities.

In Catholic schools, particularly in the north west, we now have harder line bishops requiring crucifixes in the classroom and the abolition of safe-sex classes. Good luck to them, I say, it's what diversity means.

But the Pope is talking up exorcism, reportedly "to combat extreme forms of Godlessness". It's one way of maintaining discipline in the classrooms, I agree. But most of us only send our children to these schools because they teach reading and writing in a way that seems to be beyond the state system.

Still, maybe it'll help to combat childhood obesity.

* I've been keeping a list of terms that we journalists use in order to sound clever or interesting, but which now have the opposite effect.

Hilarious (meaning stupid). Magisterial (meaning cleverer than oneself). A daring argument (meaning a stupid one). Ludic (meaning you're still trying to write like Martin Amis). Uber followed by any English word, but especially "babe".

Prep-school adjectives that draw attention to one's background (like giddy, or bossy or show-offs). And we've had it with conversational interpolations in brackets (like "Whoops!" Or "Wake up at the back!")

"Despite or perhaps because of " hasn't sounded clever for five years. "I'll come to that in a minute." (This is intended to convey a perfect mastery of the argument.) "Broadly speaking" (to imply you know very much more than you're saying).

Examples are endless. Additions welcome. Please avoid using my own work as material.

simoncarr@sketch.sc

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