What stays? What goes? How do you decide? Do you go with sentimental value, or the ones you are most likely to open again?
This year, I’m having a quiet one by myself (though quite why I felt the need to order a 12lb turkey is anybody’s guess). As we draw to the end of a terrible year, there is still so much to be grateful for. I am alive, for starters.
I quickly realised I was not a fan of oysters, but found that if I covered them with the onion red vinegar, black pepper, Tabasco sauce and lemon, I could just about get them down. In fact, I might as well have just cut out the middle man and had the drink in the shell. In my first month in Paris, I lost three quarters of a stone consuming mainly champagne and oysters; it’s still my favourite diet of all time.
I just don’t believe that we rise from the dead. I don’t even want to. It’s a nice comforting through to help humans deal with the fact that our breathing stops (all religions have their version of this), but that doesn’t make it true. I feel joyous in the knowledge that we pass things on while we are living, so many things that influence the lives of future generations; that, to me, is everlasting life, and I take immense pleasure in its simplicity. And, to be honest, there aren’t many people I ever want to see again; I’m done with most of you already.
Those hungry, widescreen Texans in Vegas really bug me. Who starts queuing for the All You Can Eat Buffet at 5am, for goodness sake? I tell you, they are going to consume every last morsel they can if it kills them. Forget building a wall to keep immigrants out, President Trump, just transport an army of buffet-bound Texans to the border; I guarantee no one will be able to get past them.
I was brought up in education with the Henry Grantland Rice adage: “For when the One Great Scorer comes/ To mark against your name/He writes – not that you won or lost/ But how you played the Game.” Well, stuff that for a bunch of soldiers.
If there was a defining moment in the Oscars’ history, it was La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz, statuette still in hand, stepping up to the microphone and giving Moonlight their moment in the sun. They had been denied their big announcement, but I suspect the end result overwhelmed initial disappointment. That hug between Horowitz and Moonlight producer Barry Jenkins will go down in history not as a moment of horror, but one of strength and unity.
Los Angeles still seems like the obvious alternative. I love the West Coast weather and, as a place to escape the summer humidity and winter winds of New York, it’s a great contrast. The problem is that the things I love about it are the things I dislike, too. Film, TV, showbiz and media are my passions in a life that I am grateful every day to be a part of. But then there is the downside of all that – the people struggling to make it in those areas and, invariably, being disappointed: the scent of hope, the reek of failure.
The Corsican red I was hoping to try is unavailable, but Corsican co-owner of Cliff’s edge Pierre Casanova enthuses about his country’s liquid assets. . I give him a smattering of my best French, and, after the red wine, I discover I am fluent in Russian, too. Again.
I don’t know what it is about being airborne that makes the hair on my upper lips grow at double, or even triple the rate as it does on land; but all I know is that by the time I’ve finished my entrée and watched a movie, I look as if I’m about to deliver a speech at the Nuremberg Rally.