I found Cary Elwes down the back of a sofa. It all started in a lift, an…elevator. Apropos of nothing, some cat started complaining about an eyelash trapped in his eye like a simile of your choice. I suggested he try blinking, he said ‘Abe Lincoln?’ and from there it all got a bit Mel Brookes. Robin Hood: Men In Tights, easily my favourite 1990s Robin Hood spoof starring Cary Elwes.
Here at Frood we trust that you had an enjoyable end of December-type period and are slowly ramping up to the blank slate of an arbitrarily delineated new year. Two neutrons have been drinking in a bar for several hours. One turns to the other and asks ‘what state are you in?’
Last year I chose not to make any New Year’s resolutions: I wouldn’t decide to join a gym, give up drinking or change my opinion of musical theatre. It was a resolution I managed to keep for the entire year. So there’s that.
But it got me thinking that maybe the problem with these resolutions is that they’re symptomatic of a roundhead impulse in a cavalier mind. That is to say that it’s not that they’re ‘good’ that’s the issue, it’s that they’re so damn worthy. And being good-with-a-capital-sanctimonious takes far too much energy, so they’re doomed to fail. That’s before one factors in the general ghastliness of January/February.
I accept that it probably is good to try and be a little more open-minded about musical theatre even if it is a punishment for theft in some cultures. I’ll even continue to accept that as a proposition unless and until I have to watch 2 minutes of fucking Cats (very poor choice of words).
But all that being said, maybe the point of a resolution shouldn’t be to stick to it. To be trite, maybe the journey matters more than the destination. Maybe it’s not the finding, but the searching.
Some years back I decided to try something new every month that I would ordinarily avoid like a Michael Bay movie.
I signed up for ballroom dancing classes with my then girlfriend, the next month I decided to see if I could condition myself to like bananas by eating one every day (nope). And so on. I’m pretty sure I stole the concept from an episode of Friends but the idea was a minor revolution for me – instead of asking why, I’d ask why not. I wouldn’t let my natural wariness of looking genuinely like a pillock put me off and I wouldn’t dismiss something for being uncool or somehow beneath me.
I figured that some things wouldn’t stick, others might, but either way in trying new things, especially things that I definitely ‘knew’ I didn’t like, maybe I’d get a new hobby, or a new perspective.
Of course a revolution is defined as a turn through 360 degrees, the net result being that you end up back where you started. Which sort of explains the Russian revolution of 1917 if you’re in a callous or even glib frame of mind.
So obviously nothing I tried stuck with me for long except for tennis which lasted a whole 3-4 months. I really wasn’t good at painting and I loathe running. And I failed to change my personality wholesale – I’m still a cynical know it all in need of a sound thrashing.
But with hindsight I enjoyed the process. And I think I’ll try it again this year – not a resolution, but a revolution.
One thing I clearly won’t be giving up on though is silliness. Because everything in life feels far too serious and if I play along with that I’m worried I might get found out.
So I didn’t find Cary Elwes down the back of the sofa. That was a lie. I found him in a box in my attic. It was Kurosawa I found down the back of my sofa, with my self-esteem and some loose change.