Hello and welcome to what is traditionally regarded as the most depressing day of the year. Isn’t that a simultaneously bleak and comforting prospect? Today might be hell but look, in a few hours it’s all over and the rest of 2019 will be an absolute breeze.
Okay, so there’s still the ever-looming towers of doom that is the Trump presidency and Brexit ready to ramp up your resting anxiety levels. But still! It’ll be spring soon, then summer, and summer is basically – if 2018 was anything to go by – a license to spend three solid months with your brain switched off, operating purely on a set of base instincts, all of which seem to revolve around going to the park and eating ice cream in the park, or drinking beer in the park or eating hummus in the park.
We know that Monday’s are always tough on the soul, and this one is notoriously bad, and because we don’t have access to a time machine, we thought we’d prepare something special to get you all through a dim and dismal day.
What follows is a selection of the things that the team here at It’s Nice That and Lecture in Progress turn to whenever we’re feeling bluer than a room full of Yves Klein paintings.
Lucy Bourton, deputy editor
When I feel a bit lost, low or bored, I’m on a lengthy train journey or just can’t sleep there’s one podcast I always turn to: Criminal.
For anyone who hasn’t listened to Criminal it’s a true crime orientated podcast presented by the woman who has the most soothing voice in the entire world, Phoebe Judge. There’s something about when she opens with “Hi, it’s Phoebe” that automatically calms me down and settles any concerns I have. Also in terms of plot, Criminal uncovers some of the most terrifying stories from around the world that always distract me from worrying about something silly that happened that day. One I really recommend is titled Eight Years and follows the story of Melissa Anelli who set up Harry Potter fan site The Leaky Caudron, which takes a jaw-dropping turn. It’s basically a bit like Serial, but cropped into slightly scary and addictive 30 minute clippings. Thank god for Phoebe!
Josh Baines, news editor
As a food obsessed Hispanophile who loves nothing more than throwing back a glass or two of robust Tempranillo of an evening, perhaps it’s no surprise that whenever I feel a little glum I find that the one thing guaranteed to cheer me up is the sight of a half-cut Keith Floyd.
I’ve written about my love, respect, and admiration for the finest cook television has ever seen in the past, and on long nights I find his evident adoration of what food is about (which is companionship, sharing, finding a way of thanking those around you for being around you, as much as it is provenance, and taste) as comforting as a bowl of cottage pie.
Floyd was a sloshed old sod who seemed to embrace the good life. He may no longer be with us, but his spirit, his gusto, and his joie de vivre lives on in the grainy videos of him bombing around Galicia in a little car that slides around as easily as a jug of cerveza on a summer’s day in Cadiz.
Jennifer Whitworth, junior creative
On a sad or particularly blue Monday, my go-to pick me up is to take a bit of time to look at and admire the work of someone that I find both bright and free, which is usually the exact opposite of how I feel in that moment. A great example of such work is that by Sister Corita Kent, who also has some words of wisdom for days like this: “Rule 9: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.”
Sometimes I might go on to try and make something random and bright and free. Sometimes I might just go on to watch dog and/or Beyoncé videos. It depends.
Ruby Boddington, staff writer
I’m not afraid to admit it, anything Harry Potter is a sure fire way to cheer me up. I’ve read the books more times than I care to count, I’ve seen the films two, maybe even three times the number of times I’ve read the books and I dread to think how many hours I’ve spent listening to the audiobooks over the past twenty-odd years. If ever I need a little help getting to sleep, Stephen Fry reading the words “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much,” will send me straight off. Seriously… you may know people who know a line or two from the films but I can recite passages from the audiobooks… I may or may not have also started collecting the illustrated versions of the books as well. So, now you know.
Jyni Ong, staff writer
If anything can get me through the January blues, it’s TV. Not only because it’s wonderfully comforting to lie down on the sofa with a cup of tea while wearing some kind of fluff-related attire, but also because these current TV programmers, certainly know what they’re doing.
For those of us who are feeling a bit crap in the new year, watch the new BBC adaptation of Les Misérables. No matter how rough certain aspects of life can feel, I sincerely hope that we can all find some comfort in the fact that life cannot be as shit as what some of these Victor Hugo characters endure. And if that’s not really your thing there’s also Luther, Rupaul’s Drag Race All Stars and whatever else Netflix is abundantly flinging out, to help solidify an unapologetic status as a 2019-master-of-escapism, achieved through our digital HD TV’s.
Marianne Hanoun, staff writer, Lecture in Progress
We’ve all had those days when staring at your screen is the last thing you want to be doing. But there’s one thing that cheers me up –without fail – and that’s Disney fireworks music. It’s joy, concentrated. I tend to just listen to the soundtrack as I type away, but if it’s a particularly bad day, there are some high definition videos of the actual fireworks show. (Full-screen it, and bump the video definition up to 2160p. It’s clearer than life itself. Kind of like that feeling when you get new glasses.)
So if you’re looking for an intense shot of pure, downright magical pep, this’ll do the trick. No doubt. Give it a spin, and feel your heart rate shoot through the roof.
Protip: Parade music can have similar mood-boosting effects.
Connor Campbell, junior art director
Now there’s a cheesy message that you will all no doubt have heard at some point in your life. Be it your secondary school gym teacher with the tiny shorts x heavy tuck-in combo, a shrill voice over Xbox Live during an 8v8 capture the flag on Blood Gulch, your mum making you and your brother go to karate class so she can have a quiet night in on a Tuesday, or an encouraging voice inside your own head, I can assure you none of these compares to “don’t give up” as told by a Japanese fisherman who farms Asiatic clams in -10 Celsius weather. This is a man that truly believes in you.