Invisible Stranger

Invisible Stranger

Collecting Crises on Old Compton Street and Beyond

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Little Tinker

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Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Calendar Boy
I've given up on New Year's Resolutions this year. Usually by the time the blood's been mopped up on Albert Square, I've broken most of them anyway.

This doesn't mean, however, that I've signed on to sail serenely through 2004, rudderless and lacking ambition, taking each day as it comes, and ignorant of any glittering new horizons of opportunity. For, instead of the Resolutions, this year I seem to have gone just a tiny bit overboard on the Calendar front.

You'd think two Outlook accounts, one at work and one at home, would be enough for a control freak like me to record all my appointments and reminders, deadlines and goals for the coming year. Of course they're not. That's why most stuff is also backed up in the scheduler of my mobile phone, just in case the server at work breaks down irretrievably, and I simultaneously wipe my entire hard drive. This year, I've also gone fashionably retro, darlings, and bought diary and address sheets for the black, ridged-rubber Filofax I last used sometime back in the early nineties.

On the hallway table stands an absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder desk calendar of Berlin, on which I've circled in red the dates I'm flying back this year, as well as all the other important dates for 2004: you know, those really important events I might miss if I hadn't already entered them in the Filo. And the mobile. Oh, and, of course, those two Outlook accounts. Not forgetting the Post-Its on the PC.

On the wall by the bookshelf hangs this year's classy French World Cup Calendar. Surprisingly, no dates or deadlines are marked up on this calendar, as it was bought purely to convey the sporty side of my nature, as well as my love of this noble and ever-so-butch game of rugby. The fact that the black-and-white photographs of the team are as outrageously homoerotic as only self-confident and heterosexual Frenchmen can ever be has absolutely nothing to do with it. At all.

In the kitchen there's the Sainsbury's calendar which I get every year, mainly because it's free. Every thirty days, I am presented with Delia's new Recipe of the Month, complete with thoughtful suggestions as to the best wine to accompany my family's meal. This month's delicacy is duck cooked in a tasty mango and ginger sauce, which I'll probably get around to trying just as soon as I've figured out how to boil an egg, and successfully divide by four. In the meantime, I'll concentrate on the wine tips.

My final planner for 2004 is a magnetised-poetry calendar, onto which you're supposed to place random blocks of individual words until you come up with a halfway-meaningful phrase or sentence. Apparently it's designed to allow your creative juices free flow, but the only "poetry" I've managed to come up with so far runs: Beneath dancing skies I lie, hard between animal and shadow. While this might be the final and definitive statement on the human condition for some, it means sod-all to me.

Each month is accompanied with its own cheesy set task, presumably to give you inspiration for your own creative-writing endeavours. At the birth of this New Year, I am encouraged to take a look at how my personal "garden" is growing, and set aside some time to decide which metaphorical seeds I have to sow in the coming year.

Set aside some time? Er, sorry, but did you make an appointment for that? You see, I can't find any mention of it on my calendar. Not on any of them.