No grandad or gal, but a steady job in windsurfing

Related Topics
HELLO AGAIN, and Happy New Year. Let's catch up: well, my Christmas went much as I predicted, with every member of the extended Solip family more or less conforming to type, apart from my grandfather, who died. For me this was a doubly tragic event, since it was one of my New Year's resolutions to get to know him better. Now I'll need a new one. I suppose it will end up being the thing about improving my posture, which narrowly missed the cut this year because of my emergency resolution to be 100 per cent millennium bugproof by April.

Although I'm still stuck at my mum's house because of the funeral, I nevertheless tried to put together a little "look back at 1998" by going through the basket of old news-papers next to the fireplace. Unfortunately, the collection is woefully incomplete, and all out of order. After some consideration, I decided that review pieces which rely heavily on last year's "news" always end up routinely rehashing the same minor twists and turns in the political fortunes of a small and remote elite. For me, the personal is the political, as well as the financial, even while it steadfastly remains the personal. This tripartite ideology is the driving force behind The Solip 1998 Year In Review.

January. Julie (not her real name) agrees to my suggestion for a trial separation rather than a break-up, and moves out. I get this thing on my lip that won't go away, then it finally does. Also, my contact lens prescription changes.

February. I embark on a full-scale campaign to get Julie back at any cost, plotting a strategy to prove my devotion to her. Later, I am forced to abandon the hunger strike after only 22 hours, due to an important lunch meeting with a couple of people from Punch. Toward the end of the month, I develop a passion for Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, which ends as quickly as it starts.

March. I notice whatshisname's car parked outside Julie's flat. Next day, when I return her spare ironing board cover, he is there. On the employment front, I get four days' work sub-editing at Top Sante, where I make myself indispensable by personalising the filing system. In the end, they let me go after only one and a half days, due, I believe, to financial constraints. In hindsight, a blessing. Develop cough.

April. Cough ends. Receive what turns out to be the worst haircut of 1998, in a place just off Charlotte Street. Julie allows the official final deadline for an end to the trial separation to lapse without contacting me. I authorise an emergency three-week extension when I discover she is in New York with whatshisname, and notify her by telegram.

May. Not applicable.

June. Not applicable.

July. My continuing struggle with the Visa people comes to an end, when my mum's husband Jerry is forced to pay off the total because the bastards were harassing my mother about the debt. By way of thanks I pay a surprise visit to mum and Jerry in the country, which ends badly. New lamp from Conran shop.

August. Julie remains incommunicado, despite repeated warnings about the looming new final deadline. I write four stunningly suc-cessful columns for the Independent On Sunday, getting tremendous response from readers, both very positive. Despite a last-minute invitation to Tuscany with my brother and his wife, I remain committed to the column, filing two from Italy on my brand new laptop.

September. As windsurfing correspondent for the European, I relish both the challenge of covering a sport about which I know nothing (I didn't tell them that, of course!) and the steady employment that gives me the confidence to double my mortgage. I make a final attempt to convince Julie I've changed my life, but her mother won't give me her new number.

October. Not applicable.

November. Best haircut of 1998. I become increasingly upbeat about my finances, the atmosphere at the European notwithstanding. Begin wine cellar.

December. Julie gets married. I meet with her briefly after her honeymoon. She tearfully insists that under the circumstances, she cannot accept my Christmas present, a diamond engagement ring. After I sing her a bit of "our song", about both people liking breakfast at Tiffany's, by those one-hit-wonders whose name I can never remember, we part friends. I'm invited to write two more successful columns, of which this is the second. Grampy Biggs dies. I hope you found that as cathartic as I did. See you, somehow, somewhere, in 1999!

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

Read Next

i Editor's Letter: Why it won’t be the i wot won it – our promise to you

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
A relative of dead Bangladeshi blogger Washiqur Rahman reacts after seeing his body at Dhaka Medical College in Dhaka on March 30,  

Atheists are being hacked to death in Bangladesh, and soon there will be none left

Rory Fenton
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor