2020 Vision

Nostradamus, that famous clairvoyant from the 16th Century, would have been 517 years old this year had he not died in 1566. Many people laud his powers of prediction and believe he still has relevance today. For example, I discovered that if you take Nostradamus’s birth year of 1503, and divide this by my age (never you mind) you get 25, which is the number of unpaid parking tickets I found in my car this morning. Amazing!

Devotees of Nostradamus will cite that he forecast the French revolution and the rise of Adolph Hitler. Sceptics point out that the statements of Nostradamus were vague and have been fitted to these events after they occurred, something called retroactive clairvoyance. Personally, I think that predicting civil unrest in France and the rise of a nationalistic nutcase isn’t that difficult, and is something that I could easily have done.

In a bold step I’m prepared to prove my skills of clairvoyance by stating my predictions for 2020:

  • Donald Trump will not be impeached in 2020. Instead he’ll cut a deal with Nancy Pelosi whereby the impeachment process is halted in return for his exile to another country.
  • Vladimir Putin, flushed with the success of his Crimean conquest, invades Greenland on a Sunday in April while Denmark is distracted with ‘Dancing Cow Day’ (it exists – look it up). Vladimir had been alerted to Greenland’s mineral wealth and strategic importance by Donald’s interest in buying it in 2019. As a sign of his gratitude Vladamir gifts an isolated rocky outcrop in the far north of Greenland for a Trump Tower. Donald, Melania, Don Junior and a certain New York hairdresser now reside there.
  • In the UK a review of the first referendum finds that a computer glitch underreported the remain vote. The vote was much closer than first thought, a tie in fact, with 16,788,671 votes both to remain and to leave. After much debate in parliament it is agreed that instead of another referendum the result will be decided by the toss of a coin. This will be carried out at Buckingham Palace by the Queen using a specially minted gold coin with a pound on one side and it’s euro equivalent on the other.
  • The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s political life gets more and more difficult as fires rage across parts of the country while other parts drown underwater, adding to his woes is a growing body of evidence that the Barrier Reef is dying. His only respite was looking like a family holiday in the Marshall Islands. Unfortunately on his flight to the islands the resort is flooded due to a combination of spring tides and sea-level rise. The Morrison’s flight is diverted to nearby Manus Island where Scott spent the night in a refugee detention centre.
  • In the 2020 Oscars the early favourite ‘The Irishman’ is defeated on the night by ‘Jo Jo Rabbit’. This New Zealand movie gave the beleaguered Scott Morrison some relief as he was able to claim it as an Australian icon, along with Phar Lap, Pavlova, Russell Crowe, Crowded House and Lorde.
  • In New Zealand the 2019 investigations into electoral fraud by the two centre-right parties are completed, with shady dealings being proven. The centre-left win the 2020 election by a landslide.

There you have it, Cecily’s 2020 vision. Next year, when the future is the present I’ll look at these thoughts again. Whether I’ve been prophetic or not I’ll at least prove Nostradamus correct in one of his assertions, namely, ‘The present time, together with the past, shall be judged by a great jovialist.’ (Nostradamus). Until then have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


2019 Booker Long List

I was devastated to see I hadn’t made the long list for the 2019 Booker prize. If your reading is limited to 280 characters let me enlighten you on this award. The Booker is for novels; a novel is around 15,151 tweets long. In case you’re now worried Donald Trump might compile his tweets into a book and win don’t worry, the Booker is for works written in English. It is a very high profile literary award that even to be nominated for the long list is a mark of distinction. The winner receives a 50,000 pound prize, but this pales into insignificance when compared to the prestige associated with winning this award. So you can imagine the scale of my disappointment not to make the long list. This was only heightened by the fact that I had already spent the prize money on preparations for a massive party to celebrate the announcement of my award on the 14th of October. I’ve even had the invitations printed on a very expensive card titled, ‘Come Celebrate with the Cooker of a Booker’. I might have got ahead of myself.

Between bouts of depression I’ve spent a lot of time since the list was announced trying to explain the judges’ glaring omission. Firstly is there a prejudice against women? Possibly, but 35% of Booker prizes in the last 20 years have gone to women. Not brilliant, but better than the proportion of crash test dummies that are women (none), resulting in a diagonal seat belt that has elevated one of my boobs above the other, they’re no longer abreast. But I digress. Could it be because I’m not a resident of the United Kingdom? No, but neither were 70% of winners in recent years, including New Zealand’s own Eleanor Caton in 2013 and before that Kiri Hume in 1985. So given our small population size New Zealand women have done well. The issue certainly isn’t talent, sppelling or; grammar.

The only thing I can think of that might have kept me from this year’s list and the bookshelves of the world’s finest book stores is that I didn’t get a book to them in time. That was only because I didn’t write a book. That is so unfair! If Alfred Nobel (inventor of dynamite) can spawn a peace prize, and Donald Trump can be President without being presidential, then why can’t I be a celebrated author without writing a book?

It’s not as if I deliberately didn’t write a book. There was nothing intentional or premeditated in my failure to furnish the judges with a book. I just forgot to write one. This can happen to anyone; forgetfulness is a very common human foible. I feel deeply aggrieved that being human has come between me and my goal of becoming a distinguished author.

I forget other things too. Forgotten birthdays, names (sometimes my own), cervical smear appointments and reasons why I entered a room litter my past like U-turns trail a politician. All have been accommodated and generally looked over with a benevolent, ‘That Cecily, she’s a card!’ But not those Booker people. They’ve chosen the high road of pedantry. I’ll not forget this.

I will write a book for the 2020 Booker prize, unless I forget, and the inspiration for this endeavour will come from a best-selling book on Amazon after the 2016 US Presidential elections. The book was blank inside; the title was, and I kid you not, Why Trump Deserves Trust, Respect and Admiration. I think I’ll title mine, ‘How deadlines changed my life’. Take that, Booker people!

I won’t start on it just yet though, I’ve got an enormous credit to get through at a restaurant and bar first.