As I predicted in my rather gloomy New Year’s blog post, the world continues to turn much the same way as it did in 2017. The NHS is still in crisis, Brexit will happen, the trigger-happy madmen running the US and North Korea are still in power, and white people still don’t understand racism.
Plus ça change.
But fret not, it’s not all doom and gloom. I’ve discovered if not a cure, at least a pretty decent Band-Aid against despair, anxiety and depression. No, I’m not talking about Prozac or therapy; neither am I advocating the use of illegal substances, nor suggesting we all go on a booze-filled binge for the rest of the year.
I’m talking humour; comedy, satire, anything that makes you laugh.
If the cause of your low mood is the lunatic in the White House, the remedy of choice is Trevor Noah, the South African comedian hosting The Daily Show since 2015. Personally, I don’t miss a single episode, lest I drown in my own bottomless pit of darkness.
If like me, you’re not a fan of the incompetent politicians occupying Downing Street, and whose inability to grasp reality means that Britain is fast heading towards a collapsed public health service and rising knife crime, check out the spot-on writings of John Crace, The Guardian’s parliamentary sketch writer.
If Crace fails to turn the corner of your mouth upwards, look no further than Bridget Christie, one of the sharpest, funniest stand-up comedians Britain has to offer today. Her post-referendum show, Because You Demanded It, where she tore into all things Brexit, literally saved me, an EU citizen living in Britain, from the gutter of fear and despair following the Brexit vote. Sadly, the show is no longer on, but this spring Christie will embark on a country-wide tour of her next show, What Now? I’ve already got my tickets, and whether or not he wants to, my husband is coming with me.
Speaking of stand-up shows, not unlike a ‘prepper’ (semi-lunatics or survivalists who prepare for the apocalypse by stockpiling everything from toilet paper, canned food, first aid kits to more questionable items such as weapons), I’ve spent the first ten days of the new year buying tickets for a range of stand-up shows, to ensure my own, if not physical, at least mental survival through 2018.
I’m also stockpiling funny books and rereading old ones. Belatedly I’ve discovered the ludicrously funny 1978 radio comedy show of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which I’m currently listening to whilst journeying here and there on London’s public transport. Some of my fellow travellers throw me an odd look when I laugh a bit too loud but perhaps they’ve not yet discovered the truth of life:
I laugh, therefore I am.