I tried to do some work today, but got pulled into watching television, initially by Gordon Buchanan's deeply moving documentary about elephants. The sight and sound of a herd of elephants joyously welcoming a new born calf - weeping and trumpeting - was one of the most uplifting pieces of television I've ever seen. The elephant programme was followed by Grease Live, the script for which was adapted by our friend Carey. It was really rather good. There was a lot of schtick, particularly from the woman playing Blanche, and I'm not sure any of the actors playing the lead characters had the same degree of star quality as, well, almost anyone in the original film, but the programme was an absolute feat of televisual stamina and planning. The end sequence was unbelievable, right down to the moment when one of the golf carts almost ran off the road as a result of its driver getting a little over-adrenalised! It was very easy to forget that it had originally been screened live. There is such a high degree of jeopardy in a project like that!
The adverts between the segments were truly irritating, however, particularly the one for swim wear which introduced me to a ghastly new word: tankini. Part tank top, part bikini. Inexcusable.
I guess it's on this day that we all feel obliged to sum up the past year, which I think, for almost everyone reading this blog, will have been testing in the extreme. It's been a year of death, misery, war and divisions. It's been the year I realised that I didn't understand people as well as I thought I did, and further more, the year I realised that almost my entire network of friends had been farmed from a mere 48% of the population. On a personal level, I've had a somewhat testing year. Beyond The Fence was an astonishingly destructive experience, which I had to fight hard to move on from, and, although I've kept myself incredibly busy, I didn't earn a penny of money from March through to December and have felt exhausted, burned out and like I've been generally treading water.
I guess it's been a good year for Andy Murray. World number one tennis player, Olympic gold medalist, Wimbledon champion, knighted in the New Year's Honours list and winner of the BBC sports personality of the year for a record third time. I was also pleased to read that Mo Farrah has become a Sir. I must try not to call him Mo Molam!
So, Happy New Year to you all! I'm off to my friend Matt's house and am very much looking forward to welcoming 2017. A new start. A new burst of energy. A new me.