October 12, 2008

Dark and Dismal Days Descend

Lots of people get dewy-eyed over this time of year, when the autumn chills set in and any last lingering thoughts of summer have well and truly disappeared over the horizon.

But not me.

Because, dear readers, I hate October, with a passion. There; I've said it now and there's no going back. But I don't care. There's no point in pretending otherwise; I can't stand it, and I can't wait for it to be over.

How so, you quizzically ask, one eyebrow raised in a gesture of incomprehension as the sheer enormity of what I've just written sinks in.

How could anyone not like this time of year, which has inspired the great and the good to wax lyrical about its charms and special qualities?

Didn't John Keats, in his famous poem To Autumn, witter on about the "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" as he looked forward to October's onset? He certainly did, but for reasons which baffle me.

And doesn't Mrs B look forward to this month, because that's when she celebrates her birthday? Oh, yes: but as the years tick by, she inexplicably seems not to get as excited as she once did. Funny, that.

I have several reasons for loathing this month, but the main one is that it signifies the start of the long, cold, dark, miserable awfulness of autumn and its stablemate from hell, winter.

It reminds me that the fun and frivolity of spring and summer have slipped away for another year, and that all we have to look forward to are the bleak, empty, dark-tinged days when the clocks go back, the temperature plummets, the leaves come down and my misery level rockets.

For a football fan whose team is struggling, it's the time of year when the early-season optimism has long since evaporated. It's when the league settles down after the excitement of early- season shock results, and you grimly realise that, yes, your favourites really are that bad and they - and you, of course - are in for a long, ceaseless struggle against relegation. Again.

For those like me who love feeling the warmth of sunshine, sitting out on balmy evenings and tucking into barbecues as you soak up the al fresco way of life, it is like the start of a six-month incarceration.

I know I can still go out, but who wants to when the mist and rain sweep down, the nights get progressively more chilly, and the sun gets weaker by the day?

In Van Morrison's magnificent song Moondance, he sings: "Well, it's a marvellous night for a Moondance,

With the stars up above in your eyes.

A fantabulous night to make romance,

'Neath the cover of October skies."

Make romance? Is he kidding? In these temperatures? No chance. Beside, it's hard to be romantic when you're wearing an all-in-one thermal suit, gloves, scarf and a home-knitted balaclava. Trust me; I've tried it.

Another reason I loathe October is that the countdown to those evil twins Halloween and Bonfire Night, the most pointless, over- hyped, troublesome and feared - by older people at least - events in the calendar goes into overdrive.

In Bramhall World - a scary place, I grant you - both of these would be banned.

No more over-indulged children roaming the streets in rubbishy ghost, ghoul and witch costumes knocking on doors demanding 'treats': no more teenagers pushing lit fireworks through the letterboxes of terrified neighbours. Any contravention of the rules would be dealt with by a sound thrashing followed by 12 months' community service which would involve listening to pensioners reminiscing about the good old days, and taking them shopping in a crowded supermarket on Saturday mornings. That'd teach 'em.

So you see, there's plenty for decrepit old sourpusses like me to despise about this time of year.

I reckon one of my favourite bands, The Kinks, had it right in their peon to the changing seasons. All together now:


Oh, my poor rheumatic back.

Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac."

NO WONDER the 1980s remain popular. There's so much about the early years of that decade which is familiar: industrial unrest, rocketing job losses, financial turmoil, tuneless music. Why, I could be talking about today.

Now there's another old favourite about to sweep back on the scene who should gladden the hearts of fancy dress shop-owners, make- up retailers and show-offs everywhere.

Adam Ant, the originator of Ant Music, is reportedly set on making a comeback after overcoming mental problems and writing a new album.

Thank goodness for that. At long last I can dig out my dandy highwayman costume again and prance about without shame. Oh, the joy of it. Welcome back, Adam - I've missed you.

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