Happy New Year and welcome to the time period set to be known as two thousand and nine. I for one am thanking Jehovah and all of his Witnesses that 2008 has finally passed away peacefully in its sleep, what a mistake of a year! Although I was the only person who wasn't made redundant and had my house repossessed, largely due to the fact I was never employed nor a homeowner, it still was a naff old time. Upon returning to university this year I've been suffering from the well known second year blues. The novelty of sitting in overcrowded lecture theatres with lecturers who believe the whiteboard is cutting edge and PowerPoint is just a place to plug in a desk lamp is long gone. Any aspirations of being a City Boy fizzled until my only aim is to gain employment where my pay was not stated per hour and the uniform did not include a name tag. Every cloud has a silver lining and my silver lining was the university ski trip.
Ski trips are to students what Mecca is to Muslims, what Hollywood is to actors and the Jeremy Kyle Show is to tracksuit clad scoundrels. Especially trips to France. France is quite simply a promised land. In those seven days away absolutely anything is possible; wine is cheap, snow is plentiful and after you've spent what's left of your overdraft you're home for Christmas and your mum pays for everything. The day arrived and I gleefully sat myself on the awaiting coach in the type of comfort usually reserved for battery hens. After a ferry journey less stable than Kerry Katona, hours of enduring the company of a gentleman I now know to be a serial exaggerator and a brief stint in Italy courtesy of the coach driver, we entered Tignes.
First day of skiing: Myself and my three, sizeable, rugby player roommates unpack ourselves from the room which was seemingly designed for three amputees only to traipse down to the lifts where just two beginner runs were operating, and all because there was too much snow. With the queues resembling the post office on pension day it didn't take long for us to console ourselves with horrifically overpriced-due-to-the-ridiculous-exchange-rate beers. It's not often that customers are left disappointed because they are provided with too much of what they want. As we've seen over the past weeks the norm is in providing vast arrays of exactly what nobody wants to buy and then mysteriously going down the pan. On this day in 2009, I - like Barrack Obama- believe in change.
Reading about HMV and their move into live performances it seems that at least someone else does too. Finally, a company who actually seems to be doing something about their woes rather than whining about how their dwindling sales are all someone else's fault. I am so fed-up of hearing about how the record business is being crippled by pirates. Even the term "pirate" is such an exaggerated expression for what is essentially a bunch of fourteen year olds on the family computer.
Pardon me if in the near future we don't see many oil tankers pinched by a band of Heeley clad youths. Illegal downloading has been going on in a popular manner for what must be at least 6 years (on a side note, I bet the iPod wouldn't have taken off if it wasn't for every SATs age child in England each possessing at least 10,000 tracks). SIX YEARS of whining and not actually doing anything. Admittedly HMV isn't that original, it wasn't many moons ago that Virgin owned record stores, a record company and a music festival.
Maybe it's the New Year spirit, the lease of life I've gained from the Special K Two Week Challenge and the fortnightly magazine on Classic Tractors I've subscribed to, but I believe 2009 is going to be the year of change, where we'll see companies and entrepreneurs listen to their master's voice rather than looking up administrator in the phone book and signing seven tonnes of P45's like everybody else. Rock on the year of the Ox!