Charles Shaar Murray’s New Year Message

5801_10151800295393012_1187020312_nGood morning, good evening … and Happy New Year, one and all. Even Tories and Republicans, in the hope that a sudden attack of conscience and common sense will show them the error of their ways …

My sweetie and I were planning a gala gathering for New Year’s Eve, but managed to lose eight of our ten guests, for a dizzying variety of excellent reasons. Some dropped out because of health issues (an occupational hazard when you’re as old as I am and move in a social circle which includes so many of my contemporaries and near-contemporaries); some because of economic issues (our designated Boxing Day guest missed out because his benefits were abruptly cut and he literally didn’t have tube fare); some because of family issues … undsoweiter.

So: 2013, we hardly knew ye. Hail and farewell to Nelson Mandela and Mick Farren; Lou Reed and Gypie Mayo; John Fortune and James Gandolfini; Peter O’Toole and David Frost and … well, let’s just say I cried no discernible tears for Margaret Thatcher. I shed enough over the effects of her policies while she was in office (and those policies’ longterm effects through Blair, Brown and beyond), so I was all dried out.

Praise be: Wilko Johnson is still with us. Yay, go WIlk!

What I’d like to see in 2014: the worldwide application of Ice-T’s invocation ‘Get together! Open your mind! Get wise! Get your brain in gear!’ I’d love to see more and more people, all over this beautiful-but-allowing-its-potential-to-be-pissed-away planet, realise what their political, economic and religious ‘masters’ are doing to them … and somehow find a way to do something constructive about it.

Face it – there is NO EARTHLY FUCKING REASON for poverty, disease, hunger or oppression (let alone Simon Cowell) to last another nanosecond … unless we can somehow be persuaded that these things are somehow in our best interests. Which they aren’t, nu?

So: be nice to your neighbour. Persuade said neighbour to be nice to his (or her) neighbour. And make it spread.

I’m an ancient fuck now, but I was just old enough to be a hippie, and just young enough to be a punk. I believe that the world can be changed for the better, if We The People can overcome artificially instilled fear/hatred of each other in order to work together long enough to see off the robber barons who hate us all and the (not necessarily rubber) bullets they’ll use to protect their trickle-up economics.

From my ridiculously brave, brilliant and beautiful beloved – see above pic – and my grizzled old self … peace be upon all y’all. (And a special shout-out to those of my friends who’ve dived into the fire to drag me out of imminent disaster … and to those who would’ve if they could’ve.)

Here’s to an infnitely better tomorrow … against all the odds.

Oh yeah — and it would be lovely to see a bunch of y’all on the spring 2014 Hothouse Project course, where I pass on my accumulated journalistic wisdom and tell a few stories.