Maybe because they want to smuggle baijiu Caribbean style, but methinks not.

2016 was a pile of pish for most of us, and then some.

We lost many a brilliant and talented soul. Of the top of my head: Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Sharon Stone, Prince, Sonia Rykiel, Franca Sozzani, Carrie Fisher, Bill Cunningham, Johan Kruijff, George Michael, and the list goes on for a couple of pages (Lenoard Cohen will be missed by many but I have bad memories to his songs due to an unfortunate hitchhiking trip through Norway). The rest got injured and cannot play and be epic for the remainder of the hockeyseason.

Speaking of which –my team sucks. No other way around it. Silver-lining speak such as ‘two steps forward, one step back’ does not cut the mustard. In fact, we’ve taken the mustard and I don’t know where else to go with this sentence other than that everything sucks, mustard spilled all over the ice, and it’s a big mess and all I can think of is getting a stack of big, fluffy cardigans from Fida for those cheerleaders cos they must be freezing cold!

The other remedy would be making hotpot for the whole bunch, with some nice extra Sichuan peppers for the coach. I’m sure Larry David would have something nice to say in defense of the bald gentleman but I sure have not. If you don’t have anything nice to say… hotpot it is. The great equalizer. Hotpot with Baijiu, which was the great equalizer amongst Chinese poets – most of whom drunk themselves to bottoms of many a lake and river.

Meanwhile, nitwits are thriving. Spina still happily scooping spinaattispoothies there where the sun daren’t shine. Americans once more got over competitive after that whole Brexit pile of shite –there can only be one dumbest of them all- and decided to hire themselves a cauliflower for leader (‘MURICA!). Numbnuts think somehow it’s now possible to grab a hold of a truck and bluntly start plowing through crowds of people. Wilders somehow is still on the scene – and people are somehow still listening to his incoherent rants about nothing. That hairdye must have gone through his brain by now. Nazi-zombies from below the sea. I’ll start on the script right away. The most horrifying things go on and on all around us, and all we care about is thingie not winning some singing show, a bunch of other dumbasses doing a bunch of other things, some other idiot got Jalapenos on his pizza even though he didn’t want to and while we’re all reminiscing on their lavish adventures, China has pumped a range of islands out of the sea. Maybe because they want to smuggle baijiu Caribbean style, but methinks not.

What, then, about the next year. Somehow January 1st is a milestone for many. Everything will be magically different. We’ll battle hunger. We’ll be nicer, and buy less crap. We’ll go to the gym (hyii). If only there was such a thing as a magical-slate-clean-wipe-make-doer. January 1st many pretend that there is, and for a week they manage to behave themselves moderately, only to continue being a sloppy dumbass for the remaining 14 months of the year.

Did you know that Noam Chomsky reads 6 newspapers + 80 articles a day? Did you know that John Galliano used to run stretches next to the Seine every day in order to get inspired? How about Bill Cunningham, who lived decades in a stamp sized apartment in Carnegie Hall, walls lined with filing cabinets collecting each and every photography he ever took, riding a bike every day, exclaiming to the real estate lady who showed him replacement houses cos Carnegie hall was to house telemarketers in office cibucles exclusively: ‘I don’t need a clothes closet, and who needs a kitchen and a bathroom!?’ Speaking of Andrew Carnegie – did you know he insisted on pumping his excess profits back into society by supporting the arts and whatnot – because thought that to be his duty?

Without telling you what to do or what not to do for your new year’s resolution (they can work. Mine worked throughout the year as I made it a very small sacrifice – always a smart trick), let’s all be inspired by Chomsky, by Bill Cunningham, by Sharon Stone whose musical career blossomed by the time she as well in her forties. Let’s start reading more stuff (it’s fun. Books are friends!) and question what we’ve read at the pub or somewhere. Let’s start running; not at one of those treadmill monstrosities at those gym places (yuk), but properly outside. Bonus if you go in winter. Be careful not to break your hand. And why not keep trying to do that one thing, the thing that everyone says we have to let go cos a) we suck at it b) we’re too old for or c) we have no time/place for.

Ps.:

Grace Coddington – if you’re reading this, please be safe. Stay put with lots of blankets and tea and whatever it is you need to stay alive. We need! We need you to thrive for many years to come!

 

p.p.s: the resolution I’m starting today is learning how to properly finish a piece cos that I still don’t know how to do.

If only Saruman could be Finnish.

My number one just got knocked of his number one pedestal cos guess what – Sir Christopher Lee has brought out a christmas album a wee while back and it is amazing. It’s whatever the metal equivalent of pouring liquid velvet in your ears, cos of that voice. But then with metal. If only Saruman could be Finnish.

That put me straight in a jollier mood. I am somewhat of a christmas freak, not for religiosity per se, but for the cosiness of it all. If you’re lucky it might even snow (not for us sad saps in the low lands, though. A bishop from Spain brings us a round of gifts already on December 5, and there’s usually a festive load of rain come christmas. We’d find ourselves sitting round a fake tree, watching Home Alone where the flakes come down with buckets while outside it pours like during the days of Noah), and snow we like. Taking out the bike, trashing and slashing down a road that looks like a pristine newborn baby’s blanket. Just like Lorelai Gilmore I, too, have massive Snowdar.

Holidays are a time of joy, hope, reflection, heaps of chocolate and for once a wee drink here and there is not so much frowned upon, as well encouraged. ‘Pikkujoulu’ they do here; little Christmas. If you’re lucky there’s fifty of these celebrations crammed within the same weekend. l’Chaim. For our office’s pikkujoulu we had crappy Chinese in a deserted restaurant. The chef cooked according to the Belgian school; he provided us with load after load of foodstuffs dripping and steaming straight from the deep fryer (dumplings, peking duck, apples, uruk-hai, it didnae matter) which did not impress me much despite of the lazy Susan. Still, a nice gesture it seemed. Also there was wine.

The day before the event Empress Oink had instructed us (or apparently she meant to) on the do’s and dont’s of the evening. There were a lot. She tried to point them all out in the most incoherent speech I have ever had the displeasure of witnessing. I knew the Chinese have a knack for holding long, exhausting speeches and my boss insisted to make her countrymen proud. Thirty minutes came and went, confusing looks were exchanged. I had to re-assure with a coworker afterwards on the contents of the seemingly never ending slew of word vomit. Something about toilets, coffee breaks, coffee in the toilet. Something about the others -mates from the other store. there must have been a point somewhere, but I couldn’t decipher it from the gibberish in chinglish.

Thankfully there was wine. A bottle conveniently found it’s way smack next to my plate (terve kaveri!). The bottle did not leave from there, I made damn well sure it wouldn’t. Three glasses sort of made the evening slightly cosy, and also was the location close to home, so I could bike. Cycling clears the head even better, though the contents of that speech still haunt me. I made sure not to make too much eyecontact with the Others (they sat far away, so no worries there), and I want to stop talking about this evening now; it was a while back and there was wine, and that was all there is to it.

Friday is the pikkujoulu with the grownups from school. I know they can tank, and also we did a project on wine, so a little accumulative research is in order methinks. I want to elaborate on Empress Oink and the other fritters at my office so much, but I need to find out first in what way it interferes with my hefty confidentiality paper thing. I shall ask the grownups. They’re grownups, they know what to do.

 

Questions on work:

What do you do, when you don’t want to be ungrateful for the chances given, but when the place where you are contractually obligated to show up and perform a certain row of tasks is driving you up the walls batshit insane?

Should the place where you go to make your living not be a place of excitement? Should it not be a place for growth, possibility? Should it not be a place where you go to learn, rather to stand still? Should it not be a place to develop, rather than to be confined?

Is it normal to be watched, and is it expected to be told to move two centimeters to the left, as that is where you ought to belong? Should you be guided rather than to be constrained? Is initiative a bad thing?

Should I be a sheep? When five start doing the tasks of one, does that not mean that by the end of the day one fifth of the job got done? I hate to follow just for the sake of following. I rather am a member of a pack of wolves; where each has their own function to fulfil. Is it so wrong wanting to be a wolf?

 

It gets wild. People as far as the eye can see. Guomao at peak rush hour.

‘Doris, go shopping!’ he said. He meant the bookstore, but I’ve been there already too many times; I’m barred. So off to Fida I went, on my trusted vehicle.

I am not one for shopping. Stockmann in particular makes me nauseous. Too many pompous people, who are studying the ceiling with their nose in the air pompously, whilst marching, plowing as on a battlefield with ferocity -and whilst looking ridiculously pompous- through the crowds of peasants and serfs, through piles of pompous knickknacks, as if the Swedes were due back here any moment. I saw Kirsi P, I am pretty damn sure of it. For me that’s a big deal, he couldn’t care less.

My dear fellow, apple of my eye, man’s best friend etc. let me wait. Surrounded by the skirmish that is Helsinki during the holiday season (it gets wild. People as far as the eye can see. Guomao at peak rush hour) I put myself under the clock, which is where a lot of people like to meet. There’s also a tram stop, and a Christmas market, and the clock hangs smack above the middle of an entrance. People galore.

Les People, the good folks, the laobaixing -there is a time and a place for everyone and everything, and today was clearly neither time nor place. From the moment I fetched my vehicle from the valet (= took bike from shed), people had universally agreed to be in my way. It was a done deal. Shadows on my path, from the island well onto the bike rack (I love me a good bike rack, don’t you?). The shrieking hordes began to well take shape before the gates with the twinkly lights. Apparently there’s some sort of a window display but I was none the wiser as I made my way to the clock, losing a shoe and half an arm in the process.

My gawsh, the vicious crowds.

And he made me wait, which is not that big of deal, except that today the menacing crowds were so much harder to deal with than usual. As that Frenchman once said: hell, it’s the others. Pinching and shoving and bumping and glaring, there they all were. I was after all the thing standing between them and the things in dire need of consumption, therefore I must have deserved the pinching and the poking and the toe-stomping somewhat. Therefore, when invited to join in the mayhem, I politely ignored the invitation to treat (Doris, go shopping! Go and consume, you woman!) there and then, and took to my vehicle (bike against rack) after our business was done with.

Now, there’s three UFF’s, two Fida’s and two Lidl’s on the way home.  It would be rude to not grace at least one of these institutions with a presence. Fida it was. Three shirts that I cannot wear until the temperatures are back in the double digits again – minus a student discount. As I zipped up my coat, a few posters congratulated me on the fact that my purchases had helped a school get writing equipment, and a girl got a little push in the back on her road on becoming a teacher. I’ll happily wait those fourteen months before it’s acceptable to wear sleeveless again.