If the weather and looming recession have you yearning for the duvet to hide under, feel free: here’s the highlights of 2008 so you can stay safe in your bed
Old Murray’s Almanack – Being Sound and Dependable Prognostications for the Year of Our Lord 2008 Derived from Astral Observations and Sundry other Divinations.
January: A terrible froste holds the lande in its wintry grasp. Snow driftes occasion traffic jams; icicles depend from the noses of pensioners makying their miserable way to the outlying Tesco; many do slippe and fall, cracking their pates. Master Al Gore, a mountebank and blowhard from the Colonies, says it is Global Warminge and a terrible answering of our sinnes.
February: The Government’s chief doctor of physicke says the population continues to wax fat, many do have girths as bigge as an oxen’s arse, and unless something is done and right faste a terrible calamitee will ensue. It is, says he, like unto a time-bombe just wayting to go off. Mistress Victoria Beckham announces she has placed an order for two new brestes in the latest fashion.
March: The England Footballe Team lose by ten goales to nil in a frendlee gayme with the Pitcairn Islanders. The England captain sayes he suffers an ague lyke a distempered parrott. Hedgehogge flu sweepes the countree. Says the chief doctor of phsyicke, it is a new variante which mankind will catche, not if but when.
April: Mistress Tessa Jowell says the coste of the forthcoming Olympick Gaymes has risen to £15m. “Bange on target juste as we had predicted,” she adds. Alchemysts at the University of Camden Towne saye tomato ketchup lowers cholesterol, occasioning a runne on the shoppes. Mistress Beckham says her new brestes are of divers sizes and must go back.
May: Trees in blossome, hedgerows throbbe with small creetures reproducing themseylves, the lande basks in sunshine. Master Gore says it is Global Warminge and we are all to blayme. Her Majestie’s Publick Records Office says it has lost all its records. ‘Somone putte them in the poste, we know not who,’ says a spokesperson.
June: Much stinke in the stretes with foule rubbish clogging footpaths. Many soules lay the blayme on the monthly binne collection introduced by our masters to cut down on wayste. Much commotion and excitement when it is sayd there is to be Pole Dancing in Trafalgar Sq. The moode of the multitude turns to despaire when an immigrant plumbers’ formation troupe turnes up.
July: Much rejoicing as every childe in the lande passes GCSE with Grayde A, even those who have not satte the exams. Alchemysts of the University of High Barnet say tomato ketchup causes wartes and distemper. My Lord Gordon Brown in the companye of sundrie publick relations strumpets announces his new fragrance soon to be in the shoppes. It is called Despair and will do welle.
August: The Worshipful Companye of Sperm Donors hold a photo calle to mark the opening of their new hands-on exhibition and visitor centre in Hyde Park. The burghers of Bury St Edmonds close all stretes, alleys, footpaths and byways in the interest of pubklick safety. “People trippe in stretes,” says a spokesman, “and maye sue the pantes off us.”
July: Birdes sing. The sunne shines from an aquamarine sky. A gentle breeze ruffles the leaves and maidens disport themselyves prettily on the sward of Regent’s Park. Master Gore says it is Global Warminge and we have onlie ourselves to blayme.
August: The BBC announces a newe five-second news bulletin to be redde by Mistress Jordan. A spokesman denies this is dumbing down. “Au contraire, ducky,” he says. “It is dumbing up.” The missyng publick reckords turne up on eBay. The burghers of Islington passe a by-law permitting multi-cultural gay weddings to take playce on the borough’s nuclear-free footpaths.
September: Her Majestie’s Government announces sundrie crackdowns, initiatives and publick consultations. “We shall not rest until every home has a wyndefarme of its own,” promises a minister of the crowne. Alchemysts of the University of Tooting say they have founde the secret of sexual attraction, but are not lettyng on.
October: A newe and virulent form of fish flu is discovered on a pond in Newby Parva, Wilts. “Mayke no mistake,” says the cheef vet, “no one is sayfe. It is not ‘if’ but ‘when’.” A police constable who went missing in 1978 turns up unharmed in Bristol. “I was behind my desk all the time,” he jestes.
November: Mistress Jowell says the laytest coste of the Olympicks is £25m. “Just as we forecaste. Bange on Target.” A survey reveals that 66.3% of Britons close their eyes when makyng love while 22% eat porridge for breakfast sometimes/occasionally/never.
December: Master Al Gore wears a polar bear costume, strappes a miner’s lamp to his forehead and wins the Turner Prize. “It is a starke paradigm and a warnyng to us all,” say the judges.