Happy New Year.
It is now, according to the Jewish calender, Five Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty Eight.
The year, 5768, is calculated by adding up the ages of certain people in the Bible back to the time of Creation. God knows who did the sums.
Now, since there is no mention of the birth of the Cosmos in the Bible one man’s Creation is another man’s Big Bang – but as there’s no mention of the Big Bang in the Bible I’m assuming that our ever expanding universe, and the resulting matter that’s been hurled in all directions by that catacylsmic explosion, is merely the figment of a Boffin’s imagination, either way, it’s all ended up in my daughter’s bedroom.
I am Jewish by mirth, which means my knowledge of Judaism could be written on the back of a matzo ball, although I’m told my inflection is a dead give away.
On Saturday night, Yom Kippur, a listener called up LBC and indignantly complained that I was on radio and why wasn’t I atoning for my sins in a Synagogue somewhere near me?
In true Rabbinical tradition I argued she shouldn’t have been listening to me in the first place but rather should be atoning for her sins in a Synagogue somewhere near her .
Either way I’m sure both our sins have been absolved.
So on Sunday, to celebrate The Jewish New Year, the end of Ramadan, the Vernal Equinox and the beginning of the daughter’s second year at university, 38 adults, 14 assorted children and 3 dogs, met up in my garden to eat, drink and get very merry.
The weather held as we stuffed our faces with bagels stuffed with cream-cheese and smoked salmon, jerk chicken with rice and peas, sausages with new potatoes and tzatziki, sweet cholla and ciabatta, fruit, trifle, cheesecake and chocolates as well as four hundred and thirty eight bottles of wine, all lovingly supplied by the guests.
I had been so busy that it turned into share and share alike, eat and eat alike, kiss and kiss alike.
There was more hugging on that lawn than there is after an Arsenal game when they’ve just scored their fifth goal against Tottenham.
It was a wonderful way to start the week let alone the year.
The week previous had ended backwards.I slipped on the carpet in the voice over booth and bruised my toe so badly it turned red and blue and swelled up to the size of a Spanish chorizo sausage; it didn’t stop me from walking home to Battersea although it did take me three hours. I sauntered through the Mayfair squares, towards Hyde Park, down Sloane Steet, up the King’s Road and over Albert Bridge.
The river, at 21.00 hundred hours looked beautiful, with the lights of the pink Sherbert Bridge (as my daughter calls Albert) twinkling away. The sign that tells troops to break step when crossing the river always tickles me. I always expect it to say ‘When troops cross the bridge can they break wind’ Yes I know its infantile. Jim says I need my head seeing to.
But my walk was prompted by spending so long in a voice over booth. It’s hot, it’s small and it’s so concentrated that when I come out I need air – fresh, free air. I love the streets around the studio. They are quintissentially Soho; loads of little offices, coffee bars, and taxis. If you gaze up at the windows there’s another world of signs for models, accountants and bespoke tailors and, very possibly, a blue plaque.
I was thrilled by my newly discovered one on Argyll Street dedicated to Major General William Roy, 1726 -1790, who founded the Ordnance Survey. Since it is so near to the Palladium and ‘The Sound of Music.’ I mused that they should honour the Maj.Gen. by re-witing ‘My Favourite Things’ to include
‘Raindrops on roses and whiskers on Tigers,
Bench Marks and Foot-Prints and Tuples and Buffers,
Neat Conture Features and Aliasing,
These are a few of my favourite things…’
Just a thought…..
Round the corner in Berwick street there’s a tailor who has stuck a big blue paper plaque in his window. It reads. ‘Tom Baker 1966 – 2041. Lives here but works round the corner.’ It made me laugh out loud as I collided with a hairy cyclist who was delivering data to a director in D’Arblay Street.
There are those days when everybody is smiling and those days when they aren’t. On the day I had to visit my accountant I was pleased to see that everybody was beaming – from the ticket collectors at Victoria to the cabbies in Old Compton Street. Whoever I looked at was either giggling with somebody or smiling to themselves. Which was funny because when I came out from the accountant I was laughing on the other side of my face.
It’s now 19:27, that’s the time not the year. I’m shattered from yet more ‘Food Poker’, pogged on too much miso soup with tofu and preparing to meet a girl called Charlie who lives with a bloke called Vivien who comes from a village called Gee Cross Well Dressing, don’t ask!