A year ago I posted a short, well, short by my standards, note here reflecting on the year that had passed. And wishing those of you who had shared it here with me a very ‘bon fin d’année’.
It was, also by my standards, well read and well received. And in fact up until only a few days ago I was minded to do pretty much the same again this year. In some of my vainer moments I think I might just have allowed myself to imagine that there could even be one or two of you who were actually looking forward to it. I know. What is it about analytics that encourages such delusions?
But now that it comes down to it I just can’t do it. I’m sorry. I’m afraid that it just doesn’t feel to me like we’ve really properly got to the end of anything this time. Nor, more worryingly, do we really seem to be at the beginning of anything else. Not that it has been an uneventful year. Far from it. But if, like me, you’re still keen to see what happens in the end then for now I’ll just have to wish you and yours a brief ‘bon continuation”.
Here in Brussels it’s a phrase that I most often hear in the city’s many restaurants and bars. It is most often intended to mean ‘enjoy the rest of your meal’ or ‘enjoy the rest of your holiday’ or just ‘enjoy the rest of whatever it is that you already seem to be enjoying’. The important thing seems to be that the ‘continuation’ should be of an existing state of enjoyment. But given that’s already the most common default setting of most of my fellow citizens here throughout most of the year it’s a wish that seems for the most part to be fairly easily fulfilled. Not least by an abundance of good meals and long holidays.
In a less specificly leisure related context I am told that it can also be taken to encourage perseverance. And not only in the pursuit of enjoyment: ‘keep up the good work’, ’hang on in there’ or even perhaps something loosely akin to the old hippie mantra: ‘keep on keeping on’.
There’s a big difference between persevering and just continuing, of course. And there’s the rub. Continuity has it’s fans, not least among those who enjoy the status quo. But of the two I’ve a feeling that its perseverance that’s going to prove more useful to most of us in the months to come. In fact as someone who was once described by his then employer as ‘a man who just won’t take yes for an answer’ I find myself quietly encouraged by the fact that that I seem to have seen a fair bit of it this last year. And not always where it might most have been expected either.
Among my children, I’ve seen India, who for those of you who don’t know her, suffers from Down’s Syndrome, though the word ‘suffers’ is here neither politic nor correct, begin to establish both a home and a life of her own. And to follow her sisters, Hermione and Ursula, in the pursuit of knowledge, unfashionable though it may seem in these times, for its own sake and little else besides. I’m happy to tell you too that I’ve also managed to pass an evening with them in the never less than exhilarating company of those perpetual ‘bon continuateurs’ The Rolling Stones. Because, let’s face it, no end of year DGMS, however thinly disguised, is ever truly complete without some passing reference to my all time favourite rock and roll band.
Professionally though I’ve been at my happiest this past year persevering with things that I didn’t really know that much about before. Like writing and producing a film that lasts more than a minute. In a language that I don’t speak.
So thanks to all of you who commissioned, collaborated, encouraged, shared or simply enjoyed any of it last year. I’ve made an attempt to keep on keeping on with the poetry too. Though only when moved to do so by events as truly seismic as those we witnessed in Scotland in September. And then only when the heavy lifting had already been done for me by someone else: http://wp.me/p2uah0-7X
In three weeks time the Greeks will go to the polls. On May 7 the Scots will vote as part of the UK to help to choose a new UK government. And before the year is out the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Poles, the Danes, the Finns and the Estonians will all have held elections of one kind or another too. What effect any of these events will have on the business of politics in these countries let alone in Europe is, of course, uncertain at best. Democracy is a messy business.
The Scots having rejected independence in September, for example, now seem likely to vote for nationalism, or nationalists at least, in May. Whatever the outcome of any of it though it seems to me at least that many of our politicians, if indeed any of them can still be said to be ‘our’ in any meaningful sense of the word, perhaps might not have that much time left to continue to enjoy the rest of their meal, the rest of their holiday, or the rest of whatever it is that they already seem to be enjoying. Maybe, just maybe then, some sort of end times are coming after all.
Hang on in there.