Natural and man-made disasters fought for supremacy in 2017 but into which category does Donald Trump fit? Throughout, the orange clown with a long tie and a small woodland creature sleeping on his head dominated the news like a fatberg does a sewer. The enzyme which will dissolve this environmental threat has yet to be produced and so we place our trust in Robert Mueller’s investigation to develop one.
Elections will be held in Russia next spring to appoint the next president of the USA and Vlad The I’m Paler is in pole position to continue his administration. Civilised humanity fantasises that at some point in 2018 the threat of impeachment or some kind of fast-food fuelled paroxysm will force the short-fingered vulgarian to helicopter out of the White House because it cannot withstand another annus horribilis of tangerine tweeting.
Spicer, Bannon, Preibus, Gorkha, Flynn and, most unforgettably, The Mooch, a succession of comic actors and baddie caricatures straight from central casting, preceded Trump in exiting stage left from the White House tragicomedy but not before enthralling audiences with their walk-on parts.
With the dishonourable exception of the bloated bloviator and Harvey Weinstein, 2017 was an excellent vintage for the obese and the dictatorial as Maduro and Kim Wrong’Un both managed to survive the economic destruction and famine they wrought and maintained the implicit backing of Jeremy Corbyn in the process. Robert Mugabe was forced out of office by the simple trick of not waking him up from his afternoon nap.
Off the top of my head I can recall with immense sadness we said goodbye to Christine Keeler and Johnny Hallyday (at the same time; now that could be a marriage made in heaven), Bruce Forsyth, Glen Campbell, Hugh Hefner, Roger Moore, Chuck Berry, the bloke off ’Allo ’Allo, Tara Palmer-Wotserface and Ian Brady.
The old in-out
In Britain, Brexit retained its polarising stranglehold over every dinner party discussion and episode of Question Time and I have still not met one person who has changed their mind since the vote itself.
People shout at one another, make an odious comparison with Hitler usually within five minutes or so and then, after the debate breaks up into hostility and mutual loathing, go off ever more deeply entrenched in their original opinion.
Brexit dominated the UK election result, news of which I received, coincidentally, as I crossed the border into Albania. This was convenient because I was able to see from the ruins of Enver Hoxha’s communist experiment what a government led by Corbyn and McDonnell can do a country and it filled me with foreboding.
Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature, without writing any. The stockmarket in America benefited 22% from the Trump Bump although when the spell he has cast is broken and America awakens from its trance, I confidently predict the Trump Dump followed by a Trump Slump. FANG stocks sustained their pre-eminence but even they were occluded by Bitcoin, which I described as The Most Stupid Investment In History before buying some and watching it make some very foolish people look clever and vice-versa.
I cannot recollect a year in which so much damage was caused by meteorological phenomena and the hurricanes Irma and Harvey led to some memorable footage and headlines. I have a friend called Harvey who is dissipate in the extreme and I felt no compulsion to contribute to his Harvey Relief Fund. If storms weren’t killing people then terrorists were but at least this year television viewers could derive some consolation by watching images of ISIS’s “warriors” being annihilated in Mosul and Raqqa.
On a personal front, I began 2017 by getting sacked from Chaucer Securities for writing something “offensive and unprofessional” about Donald Trump and his caprine proclivities.
A corpulent and sycophantic pogonophile sought to ingratiate himself with the inarticulate and poorly-educated man who ran part of the business by reporting me and there I was, one week before bringing up my half-century, out on my backside and out of a job again.
I took six months out which sounds ideal in principle but in truth, having been mauled by the Doberman of love and professionally unfulfilled, I was incarcerated in the thickest and most impenetrable depression I have ever experienced for almost all of this time.
The slick man of Europe
When I eventually emerged, it was not like a beautiful debutante at the first ball of the season but like a seabird, whose feathers were tarred by an oil slick, flapping helplessly and flying nowhere. A friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer and spent the whole of 2017 being tortured, burnt, probed and poisoned by the medical profession. The bravery and positivity which he displayed in confronting physical extinction and tangible discomfort, eventually beating his disease officially, a full 12 months later, rather threw my own heartbreak and metaphysical distress into pathetic relief.
Bit by bit, I crawled out slowly from under the rock, beneath which I had cowered. The heart does not heal but broken, lives on and for the heart’s life is simple: it beats as long as it can. After a three-year hiatus I got my column back at GlobalCapital which serves as a therapy of sorts.
What I hoped would become a bidding war between two prospective employers descended into an offering war but nevertheless, Salvation Bank made me an offer I could not refuse — because there were no others — and I started back in the City at the height of summer.
I over-promised and under-delivered. I spend days paying a parody tribute to Rod Stewart singing “I am failing”. I do not know for sure if, when my probation period ends (oh irony of ironies, on Christmas Day itself), the contract will be extended indefinitely or whether, as my kids are opening their modest, home-made gifts and we start roasting the millet cutlet for lunch, there will come a knock at the door and a P45 is shoved through the letterbox.
I hope to be here riding the rubber dinghy rapids with you in 2018, gentle reader, but even if we evade the probation officer the MiFID II holocaust awaits. My life expectancy in this era is akin to that of a junior officer on the Somme in June 1916. When someone blows the whistle, I shall climb above the parapet and over the top and, with no consideration for my personal wellbeing, lead the charge on the enemy battery with the best of them. MiFID II shall have no dominion.