Newsletter #24

A six-and-a-bit-weekly newsletter from author John Higgs. If you haven’t already subscribed, you can do so here.Winter Solstice 2020


Hello fellow inmates – I hope you are hunkered down and prepared for the duration. It’s amazing what people will vote for, isn’t it?

Here in the UK, at the darkest day, things aren’t going too well. But take heart – 2020 is nearly over and I can exclusively reveal what next year has in store:


PREDICTIONS FOR 2021

JAN – Heartbreaking scenes of overcrowded migrant boats in the English Channel as untold thousands flee from Kent.

FEB – The “Tis but a scratch” Monty Python Black Knight promoted to Foreign Secretary.

MARCH – A patch is finally released for Cyberpunk 2077 which replaces all the 20th century attitudes with 21st century ones.

APRIL – The first newspaper columns wistfully nostalgic for 2020 arrive.

MAY – The UK achieves a world first, becoming the only nation ever to score minus points in the Eurovision Song Contest.

JUNE – In an attempt to bring healing to the vicious inter-generational warfare, Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift duet at Glastonbury. Macca’s version of Shake It Off divides critics, but Taylor’s Frog Chorus is a revelation.

JULY – Donald Trump realises he hasn’t seen Melania for months, and starts to wonder.

AUGUST – Untold savagery and bloodshed as Conservative MPs finally bring down Boris Johnson. He is replaced as Prime Minister by Bob Mortimer’s Train Guy.

SEPT – The world has a moment of clarity twenty minutes into the fifth episode of Disney’s The Falcon And The Winter Soldier when it realises it is totally over the MCU.

OCT – The ‘It’s a Royal Knockout’ episode of The Crown series 5 results in the House of Lords branding Netflix a terrorist organisation.

NOV – Following a disappointing foxtrot, edgelord events manager Dominic Cummings is voted off the first episode of Strictly.

DEC – The bestselling book of the year is post-Brexit cookbook Nigella’s Turnips.

…or something like that, anyway. That can’t be far wrong, surely?


QUICK NEWS AND BLATHER UPDATE

I’ll keep this newsletter short as you will want to be out in the fields absorbing the ‘Christmas star’ Saturn and Jupiter solstice conjunction. But before you head out, here’s a few things you might like:

Issue 1 of VALA, the new journal of the Blake Society, is available for free download online. Amongst many other good things it contains a piece by new Blake Society president Kae Tempest. There’s also an article by me about Blake in lockdown.

Paul Duane’s latest documentary Welcome To The Dark Ages is now online to rent or buy. This is the story of why The KLF became undertakers and are attempting to build a brick pyramid in Totexth, and I pop up in it briefly.

I was thrilled that my book Watling Street was chosen by Lucie Green on Radio 4’s A Good Read – here she is talking about it with Alexander McCall Smith and Harriet Gilbert.

I wrote a few words about Tim Arnold’s latest album, the lockdown-created When Staying Alive’s The Latest Craze, which is well worth a listen.

I know I’ve linked to the annual Future Crunch list of 99 Good News Stories You Probably Didn’t Hear About before – but given the nature of 2020, you’ll forgive me if I do so again. This is all the stuff which your news service of choice keeps quiet about, but which you need to be aware of if you are to have a balanced view of the state of the world.


Here comes the end of 2020 – you’ve made it! The strange little sound effect you just heard was your experience points levelling up. We will have to be extra vigilant next year looking out for those around us who are isolated or who lose their livelihood – a habit we should keep always, of course.

The turning of the seasons on the shortest day does not mean that spring has arrived – it means that spring is inevitable. There will always be cold and rain, but they will be increasingly balanced by the warmth of the sun. Likewise, the defeat of Trump and the arrival of vaccines does not mean that things are better now, but it means that we’re getting there. Hold the line.

Nadolig llawen! Look after each other, pilgrims.

jhx

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