2022. In Which Not A Lot Did Happen

It’s a bit depressing when one sits down to write a retrospective of the year past only to discover that there’s next to sod all to talk about. It’s not been a year containing a holiday, or a big swanky party, or a heap of highly-successful events. I haven’t even bought myself a nice jumper. A couple of Lego sets: yes. Jumper: no.

Mind you, I’m not much of a jumper person anymore. I used to be, when I was a fresh-faced single lad – back when I was fitter, and thinner, and less likely to make non-erotic-groaning noises whilst getting in or out of a chair. For some reason I thought ladies would like a sparkly eyed young chap in a nice jumper. I must admit that I quietly shelved my jumper collection when I got married.* Knitwear is a young man’s game.
 I daren’t visit the Edinburgh Woollen Mill any more, for fear of causing a sexy riot (and probably slipping a disk in the naked chaos that would ensue).

When you get to my age, you basically need a doctor’s note before you can even consider a cardigan.

But I can recommend the Lego Ideas Motorised Lighthouse, if that helps?
 If I’m honest, I’ve been contemplating the Dirty-Great-Big Millennium Falcon** for months and months now. I have a friend who got himself one and speaks very highly of it. But then I look at the price and it feels a bit . . . yeah. Hard to justify, that.

I do like the little houses though – I build them when I’m writing, taking them apart and putting them together again while I ponder what’s the best/nastiest thing I can do to the characters next. I’ve built and rebuilt the bookshop and police station several times, and my boutique hotel has a murder scene installed around the back. Which was the subject of an article I wrote for the Sunday Times Crime Club earlier in the year. It’s become part of my process*** over the years – switching the thinky bits of my brain off for a bit while I follow the building instructions, letting the subconscious parts contemplate dismemberment, cannibalism, and whatever daft thing Tufty will be obsessed with this time.

Initially I was surprised to find out how many people who do creative stuff for a living are into Lego. I suppose we’re probably getting something slightly different out of it, but for me it’s thinky anaesthesia of a most useful kind.

“Naw, hang on a minute,” I hear you cry, “if it’s the buildings and whatnot that is your bag, dawg, how comes you is thinking about spaffing your cash on this Millennium Falcon whatnot and shizzle?”**** Well, I’ll tell you.

Back when I was a nipper – before I’d discovered the scary aphrodisiac powers of woollen garments – I was taken to see the original Star Wars, and I loved it. Then came the follow up, The Empire Strikes Back and it was the best thing I’d ever seen.***** It still has that strangely nostalgic pull upon me. I toyed for ages with getting a Snow Speeder, but talked myself out of it, then in, then out, then, as I’d finally convinced myself to go for it, I discovered that they’d stopped making the thing about three weeks before. And I regretted not taking the leap when it was still leapable. Then came the fancy version of Slave One and I went through exactly the same process (even though it’s not nearly as cool as the Snow Speeder), until Lego stopped making that one too. Because why treat yourself to fun things when you can be sensible and dull and “grownup” instead?

Stupid sensible brain.

But so it shall be with the Millennium Falcon – I shall sensible myself out of doing anything about it (because let’s face it, it is hoooooringly expensive) until it’s too late, and then I’ll be able to enjoy a good regretting. After all, what are opportunities for, if not missing?

I suppose what I really need to do is cultivate some sort of inside source at Lego, who can subvert the normal control procedures and smuggle me some retired sets through an open bathroom window. Do you think they like crime fiction in Denmark?

It’s that or find myself a sugar daddy/mummy who can afford the hugely inflated prices these sets now fetch online. But they’ll probably want some sort of sexy favours in return, and I’m too old to get my jumpers out of storage . . . 
 * Fiona looked at me askance when she read that bit. “But I liked you in jumpers!” said she. “Yes,” I explained, “but it’s like this: when you set a honeytrap and catch a bear, you don’t then refill the trap with honey. You’ve already caught a bear.” Significant pause. “And, in case your wondering, in this scenario, you are the bear.” Apparently that was considered “somewhat less than romantic.”
** Another two points available for those of you with excellent taste.
*** Building things out of Lego, not writing articles for the Sunday Times Crime Club – that would be just weird. Not as weird as drawing Smurfs on your willy, but weird enough.
**** Which makes me think you should really stop hanging out with whoever it is that’s encouraging you to talk that way. People are beginning to stare, and not in a supportive way.
***** Bearing in mind, I was a little lad, and had yet to discover the exciting possibilities of boobs. 

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