Monday, 5 November 2018


It’s John Scott who introduced me to the word “gathering”. It has a rich sound to it – a gathering together of ideas and creative thinkers – it beats the hell out of a “meeting” (too sterile) or a “get together” (too casual) or, angels and ministers of grace defend us, a conference call (a handy alternative to Valium.)

And after a week of Hallowe’en and Guy Fawkes we’ve witnessed happenings evolve. Otherwise sensible men and women dressing up as vampires and witches, smothering themselves in tomato ketchup and screaming hideously. Or burning twenty pound notes in handfuls or what we call fireworks.  Something has changed though. We live in a world where the principal enemy is boredom (pity poor David Cameron our ex-prime minster who claims to be bored being out of government – try being decapitated for creating today’s chaos Dave -  that might be a bit less tedious than lounging about).

We live in a world where we need glitzy events to keep us going. We need more anniversaries and events. We need delightful days off and why not? If it makes us happier it’ll make us more productive.
Birthdays used to be a casual affair when you were lucky if you got a cake and where Christmas and birthday presents were not infrequently combined (still are for my poor wife who was born close to Christmas). We really knew austerity in our young day but now there are eight or nine events and I suppose given the increasing success of Hallowe’en, Guy Fawkes and Mothers’ Day the marketeer in me is surprised we haven’t created more of them.

So how about adding the following (source countries are shown in brackets):-

  • January 26th:  Hygge Day – miserable chilly month - time for log fires, soup, stews, pies, gallons of red wine and whisky. Time to hug and chill out. 
  • February 19th:  Chinese New Year – given the importance of their economy we should hold great banquets - crispy duck, hoisin sauce , pancakes, gallons of red wine and whisky.
  • April 2nd:  Tomb Sweeping Day (Hong Kong) – we should celebrate those we loved in our lives who’ve passed on. A second Christmas. Memories. Watch Some Like It Hot. Feel sad. Drink copiously.
  • May 24th:  Culture & Literacy Day (Bulgaria) – give a book, go to a gallery, listen to great music. What a wonderful idea. Gallons of red wine….yes I know
  • June 23rd:  Mid Summer’s Day – the summer Christmas -  Turkey Caesar Salad, Salmon, lobster, celebrate English wine – big promotion so those overpriced  £15 bottles are sold at a more reasonable £10
  • August 6th:  Picnic Day (Australian Northern Territories) – what a great idea. Communal picnics. Street parties. Celebrate summer.
  • September 17th:  Respect for the Aged (Japan) – we put on parties for everyone over 70 – the lonely, ignored and isolated. Conversation, food, wine and laughter. 

Time to gather, create what my mother used to rather grimly describe as “fun and games” and celebrate being human beings living together.

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