Review 2008: Um 2008


Obama Hope!, originally uploaded by Maryland1RN.


Dear 2008,

Hello! I’ve never written to a segment of time before, but I just thought someone should take a moment to say goodbye before your replacement arrives in a few hours and you’ll be taking a well earned rest. Well I say rest, but it’s unlikely, unless there’s some bizarre Groundhog Day inspired hijinks that we’ll all have to live through you again, so it’s more like a retirement. You probably know already there’ll be some people who’ll be happy to see the back of you, but don’t take it personally. I’m sure every year makes a few enemies along the way.

I’ve often imagine what it must be like to be a year (or at least I have for the purposes of this letter). Do you have a union? Does it have subcommittees? Do 1939-45 get together every now and then to reminisce about the wars? When the financial crisis happened, did you give one of the 1930s a call for advice on how to deal with it? When you bump into 2003 in the street, does is he always saying ‘I told you so...’? Is there a year none of you can get along with like 1996? You’re all bobbing around in the timestream and then ’96 comes rowing along and you try and make yourself scarce? When 2009 is born, will Old Father Time hand out cigars?

Anyway, I’ve been searching for an adjective to describe you and it’s very hard. If I was simply talking about your effect on Liverpool it would be cultural. I might have only managed to get to the opening ceremony for our capital of culture just as it ended, and most of anything good was far too expensive for the average pocket (especially mine), but I still tried to see as much as I could. Jonathan Miller and Richard Dawkins offered some great lectures, I attended the awards ceremony for the Liverpool Arts Prize, chased around parts of the city I’d never visited before searching for Superlambananas, looked up in wonder at a giant spider twice and saw the amazing Art in the Age of Steam exhibition at the Tate.

I could also say you were difficult. I didn’t feel like I really accomplished anything and still running on the spot. Yet I did writing and writing and more writing and that included my first professional commissions. I discovered how useful the world ‘nevertheless’ is, survived a sort of road traffic accident, listened to loads and loads of music and watched more Doctor Who and related products in a year than I ever have before. As well I as reading, lots and lots of reading and I discovered that Shakespeare was an even bigger genius than I first thought because he was forever editing and improving his plays, something we’re only just realising now.

But the wars continued, though UK involvement in one of them is ending soon, we did particularly well in the Olympics and everyone will be tightening their belts ready for the impending depression (because I can’t imagine it will be anything else). This new US President you’ve brought us should cushion the blow (though I’m sure 2009 will try and snatch some of the credit even though you and 2007 did most of the work). That election kept me nicely entertained and distracted, thank you, though it would be nice if you could pay a visit to 2011 and 2012 when they’re with us to give them the benefit of your experience. You know yourself what these youngsters can be like...

I'd best let you get on with the packing. Have a good evening and try and behave yourself. What kind of retirement present do you think you'll get? A watch would be too ironic.

Take care,

Stuart.

[Why I've done this!]

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