Right, 2009. We’ve been in it for a week. How’s it looking so far? Not enormously different from the end of 2008, admittedly – Kerry Katona’s still mental, Barack is still superman and everyone’s still running around blue-faced screaming ‘Recession!! Receeeeessiooooon!’ into paper bags. But can’t you smell the hope? The fresh possibility? It’s a promising smell, similar to that of new school shoes, new carpet, or a new pine flatpack desk (sorry MFI). There is newness all around, if you look for it hard enough.
Here’s one to start you off: new prices. Sorry, that should be new, stupid, prices. Suddenly my sandwich is £3.37, and that means the economy is going to be ok again? Are we expected to save up all the extra 3ps and 6ps and 19ps in a jar, until in 57 years’ time we can all buy a bungalow? It’s not that we don’t appreciate the extra 3p, Gordon. We really, really do. But being as there’s not an awful lot we’re going to be able to buy with our new 3p, and the government’s currently picking pits of fluff and toffee wrappers off the lining of its vast, empty pockets, do you not think that perhaps you need it more than we do?
Call it ungrateful, but the truth is nobody cares about 3p. We don’t want 3p, we want £75, and no less. Giving us 3p is like giving us the gherkin when we wanted the Big Mac. It’s a token gesture, and very nice too, but truthfully will 2009 just be the year of the coppers? Purses will have to get bigger and sturdier just to house all those extra pennies, which will cost more to manufacture, and thus to buy, and thus undo all the good work of the VAT cut. Doesn’t anybody every think about these things?
Another element of newness: the new Doctor. Though he actually won’t be on our screens until 2010, they’ve unveiled him now so we have a whole year to stew, complain, put him in Heat magazine wearing just his pants, and mourn the loss of David Tennant in a fitting manner (I’m thinking: tartan armbands and quiffs). The newbie, then, is 26-year-old Matt Smith, and no, you’re not meant to have heard of him. Whether his sonic screwdriver skills will be up to the job remains to be seen, but it looks like his main obstacle along the path to intergalactic harmony is going to be his floppy, foppish, ‘Byronic’ hair getting in his eyes. Yes, prepare yourselves Cybermen, this one’s posh.
Weird, that we have an instant distrust of poshness. I can promise you, the first proper reaction anyone had when watching Smith’s first interview was ‘Posh! Too posh! Get him out, no poshies in the Tardis!’. He said ‘I’m flabbergasted…Doctor Who is an iconic part of our culture, and now I'm taking that on’, and we heard: ‘To the rugger match, Jeeves! And golly if Hugo hasn’t quaffed all the champers, what!’. I don’t quite know what the fear is – maybe that he’ll want to start hunting the Darleks with teams of robofoxes while mounted on a space-pony, or running off to Mahiki with Wills and Harry when he should be fixing holes in the time-space continuum – but the slightest whiff of public school, and the fans recoil.
Interestingly, we don’t mind people being middle-aged and posh. Nigella Lawson’s allowed, Hugh Grant gets away with it, and no body has earned more inches of printed praise in this column than Papa Posh himself, Stephen Fry. No, it’s the young-and-posh we can’t stand, with all their polo parties and their gold-leaf cocktails and Emma Watson being generally encouraged. While I’m saving up all my extra 3ps in the hope of buying a Twix in three years’ time, they can continue galavanting all over the gossip pages without a care in the world.
Let’s just hope that by the time the former Head Boy gets to the Tardis, recession might have battered him into dropping a ‘t’ or two. It’s for the good of the universe.