Pippa's bum, bluff camaraderie on local radio and the Titanic ... 25 things I'm wishing for in 2012
Yes, it's time for my much-anticipated annual list of New Year wishes. So here you are ... from celebs and politicians to Titanic and town centres to local TV and radio, here's what I'm really hoping for in 2012.
1 One full calendar year with the Executive simply and quietly proceeding with its business without anyone grandstanding on 'the Border', 'the Union', badges, lapels, flags or any version of the lily.
2 Another few Majors spread among Darren, Rory and Graeme would be nice. Let's keep the momentum going.
3 Sewers - let's wish all the roadworks are completed everywhere over one long weekend, preferably during the hours of darkness.
4 Another Royal mouth to feed? Let's hope for happy news from Clarence House. (No pressure or anything ... )
5 One year without dreadful natural disasters anywhere - a little light rain, would do; and a touch of sun every now and then. Whatever the normal climate needs wherever one lives - no more and no less. Just once.
6 My fiancé boasts he is on his third North Korean dictator - he's that old - as if (like the Archbishop of Canterbury) he had something to do with the succession of power. So no 'unnatural' disasters either, please. We've had enough of Gaddafis and Mubaraks and Assads in 2011 to do us all for a lifetime. It makes the dull accountants running Greece and Italy dangerously attractive.
7 I wish the Titanic signature building might do the job and bring some of the magic the big ship displays in other places to the city where it was built but was disowned in for such a long time.
8 Christine Bleakley - here's hoping for her continuing rise among the stars of British TV as she joins Dancing on Ice ... and a glamorous wedding to give us all something to delight in.
9 The Olympics - let's all wish for a truly spectacular occasion and one that has benefit for Northern Ireland in some way we might not yet be able to identify.
10 Let's wish Her Majesty all the birthdays and jubilees a lady of her years can manage in this special year marking 60 years of service to the nation. And for the Duke of Edinburgh to make a full recovery so that he can be by her side throughout.
11 Women to keep their kit on - and I am looking at youse 'uns Rihanna, Gaga et al. Yes, you are doing very well, I suppose, in your standard uniform of leotard, fishnets and skyscraper heels. But just who is The Highest Selling Artist of the Century so far, eh? Adele, that's who. And the only thing she flaunts is a magnificent voice and a great taste in tunes.
12 An end to the recession. Or at least the beginning of the end. A big one this, I'll admit, but I suspect none of us can take another year of gloom and doom or worrying about Italian government bonds or levels of Belgian debt. Depressions may have been great for the Waltons but we are simply not built for this type of misery.
13 The disappearance of the word 'like' except when being used properly. Remember a couple of years ago when yoofs started putting question marks at the end of straightforward statements: "I'm studying English and history?" as if it was still a subject for debate. Now it's the use of "like" as in: "So, like there I was, like, just standing there, like, when she was, like, 'Who do you think you are, like?', and I was, like, 'Don't you like stand there, like.'"
14 An end to people wanting to be my friend. Of course, I don't mean real people - I'm talking about people wanting to be my virtual friend. You can't open your inbox without finding out 'Jill Dawson' wants to be your friend, unleashing a wave of panic. Who's Jill Dawson? A varsity chum? An ex-boyfriend's now married sister? Who? Sorry Jill. It's the trash can for you and I ...
15 A final farewell to Big Brother and I'm a Celebrity. For all our sake's, it's time to pull the plug and put everyone out of our misery.
16 No more Chantelle and Alex Reid. A poor man's Pete and Katie, your time's definitely up.
17 Someone to tell me what the Kardashians exactly do? And why the only way is Essex? What does that actually mean?
18 Something decent from the local TV channels, apart from the wonderful Julian Simmons, thankfully restored to full health. Give or take the odd Lesser Spotted Ulster, can you name a local programme you'd miss if it was gone? Come back Give My Head Peace ... all is forgiven.
19 The demise of 3D films. Even the kids are bored now. Paying a stiff few quid extra for the privilege of wearing silly glasses, straining your eyes and being unimpressed as an owl flies out of the screen at you.
20 Less of Pippa's bum. I think we can all agree that it looked superb on the big day but at the end of the day it's only an, er, bum. Seven months and hundreds of articles and pictures later it's time to turn over a new cheek ... er, sorry ... leaf.
21 A better quality of "bluff camaraderie" on local radio and TV. You know, those wee bits where the presenters say things to each other that aren't on scripts and autocues - as if their lives are an effortless round of wit and repartee. Or try a bit of banter with some hapless reporter marooned in a windswept wilderness. Or with the weathergirl. It usually consists of one lame remark met with a one word response - and that one word is always "Absolutely". Saying "Absolutely" is not humourous, ad libbing or entertaining. Oh no, absolutely not.
22 I really, really wish that people will remember that newspapers remain the only thing the powerful, the wealthy and the scary are afraid of ... whether they're cheating celebs, swindling MPs or dirty hospitals.
23 Better times for all our retailers and particularly our town centres, but do something about the service. Do not make me queue for ages, then talk incessantly to your mate on the next till without so much as a "That'll be £4.99 please" before giving me a fiver's worth of change in 5p pieces while shouting with all the insincerity you can muster "Thhorry about that now." You will be ...
24 To see a bit more of George Michael in 2012. Yep, he's been a pain at times but you've got to say that when it comes to grace under pressure, he's a national treasure. First, he does stir for reckless driving without whining, then launches a comeback tour which reminds us just what a great pop icon he is. Finally - and thankfully - recovering from the pneumonia that nearly cost him his life he seems more loveable than ever - vulnerable, emotional yet dignified. He has spent the last few weeks in a very dark place. Welcome back, Mr Michael.
25 And, of course, a peaceful and prosperous 2012 to each and everyone of you.