Here Come the Belgians


I saw this picture on a Facebook wall on New Years Eve and it got me thinking about this whole resolution thing. I’ve never understood why people feel the need to try and reinvent themselves just because it’s the 1st of January. If you want to give up smoking or lose weight, why wait until the middle of winter which is, let’s face it, a bloody dark and depressing time – hardly ideal for ‘the first page of a 365 page book’! If you want to join a gym, do it in the spring or summer, at least then you’ve got more of a chance of going more than once, before giving up and watching £50 a month get taken out of your bank account, while you sit there getting unfitter (less fit?) waiting for the day when you can cancel the direct debit.

It’s not as if January 1st is proper new year anyway. For thousands of years the English celebrated new year on Lady Day – March 25 – marking the Feast of the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary that she was pregnant. Bit of a shock for a virgin you’ve got to think, which is why there’s something amusing about the celebration – Saving yourself for your husband? Tough shit – God decided he fancied a go first!

Since 1752 we’ve celebrated new years day on January 1 – marking the Feast of the Circumcision, when a local Rabbi visited the baby Jesus with a sharp knife. Still, I suppose the middle of winter is a sufficiently depressing time for that at least.

Back to the picture and, despite the cheery “you’ve had a shit life – make it better going forward” quote, it’s a nice picture of a crisp winter landscape. Then I looked a bit closer. Firstly I noticed the power station belching smoke in the top right hand corner – that’s no artistic wisp of cloud. You’d have thought that whoever took the photo could have framed it better.

Then I noticed the little red advert in the bottom centre of the picture. This is a beer advert. And not just any old beer either. This is an advert for Stella Artois aka ‘wife beater’, that drink of choice of the yob. Regular readers will know, I’m an ale drinker and consider lager to be an overchilled and fairly tasteless brew. However, there are two types of lager – cooking lager and premium lager. Unlike your usual cooking lager, premium lager actually has some taste, even though it’s also usually 5+% ABV. Stella is a premium lager and, when I very occasionally chose to drink lager i.e. when there’s no ale, Stella is on the list of what I’ll drink (my preference is 1664 though).

While drinking Stella doesn’t make me a yob, after all the baby Jesus (see above) was born in a stable but he wasn’t a cow, I’m aware of the effect the high ABV can have. This explains two things – (1) why the photographer included the power station (we should be grateful it’s fairly well framed at all), and (2) why Stella chose to originally post the picture on their facebook page on 28 December!

Of course, it may not be that those working for Stella also continually imbibe their products, it may be that (1) you can’t actually move in Belgium for power stations, and (2) the Belgian new year starts on 29 December.

Finally, when you read the blog, if the voice in your head didn’t say ‘baby Jesus’ in a Jeremy Clarkson style, it will now.

The normal blog will return next week, once I’ve been to a quiz.


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