In the newspaper world there is a mythical top drawer from where tried and tested ideas are plucked when the time is right.
In the past week or so, a significant proportion of the country has been in an almighty sulk either because they voted Remain, had put good money on England’s footballers ending 50 years of hurt, have hoped for some summer sun or are Boris Johnson. It is at times like these that millions of people require help with simple tasks, such as smiling, and newspapers, despite being regarded by many as doom-mongering scandal sheets, are only too happy to oblige as, after all, the readers won’t return if they are fed a diet of misery.
It didn’t take a genius to surmise that much of the nation’s mood was as flat as a Roy Hodgson team talk, which is why a succession of publications and websites reached for the trusted formula of lists of reasons to be cheerful.
We have been reminded it is 30-odd days until British athletes aim to restore some national pride at the Rio Olympics and it is little over five months until Christmas. But even this isn’t enough to make us forget our status as the joint second best footballing nation in the British Isles and that Westminster resembles the opening credits to Fraggle Rock.
In a bid to keep the dreaded black dog away, I have my own list of things which keep my spirits up:
- The fact that England’s rugby players have rediscovered the ability to upset Australians everywhere;
- Being guided through arguably the most tumultuous few weeks in living memory by the imperious John Humphrys – I wouldn’t want anybody else to deliver me bad news;
- Working out how to change a nappy at the same time as changing the channel;
- Finally being able to grow the semblance of a beard at the age of 39;
- Despite suffering the heartbreak of play-off defeat little more than six weeks ago, being giddy with excitement about my team’s first pre-season friendly;
- Not being American, because if we think we have problems politically, then remember that they have to vote for either Trump or Clinton in November;
- Having never met Nigel Farage.
We’ve all got a list in us, and next time it is all getting too much, give it a try.