Laura Craik says good riddance to January

‘Thirty days hath September / April, June and November / All the rest have 31/ Excepting January, which has 103’ is a meme that’s been getting all the likes this month, and with good reason.

London’s current mood: bored. Frustrated. Didn’t stick to the plan. Didn’t even have a plan. And so here we are, stepping into February like the out-of-shape, meat-guzzling, binge-watching, wine-swigging, dead-end jobbing losers that we promised not to be. That’s the thing with promises: they get broken. Maybe it’s better not to make any in the first place.

Nothing is more soul-crushing than failing to achieve an unattainable goal. I’m no life coach, but it seems to me that change can happen when you least expect it to; a gradual acquiescence rather than a grand volte-face.

I didn’t mean to become a vegetarian, and I’m not, yet can’t remember the last time I ate meat. Never underestimate the power of laziness as an enabler. One of my kids went veggie in 2018: to avoid the ball-ache of cooking separate meals, Quorn has become my friend. Insofar as Quorn can ever become a friend, which is debatable. 

Even if you fail at being principled yourself, the ripple effect of other people’s principles is undeniable. Surrounded by friends doing Dry January, you end up drinking less yourself. Consumed with self-loathing every time you see the well-intentioned face of Greta Thunberg, you wean yourself off the Zara website, a process tougher than renouncing meth.

Greta Thunberg (AFP via Getty Images)

If the recent Paris couture shows are anything to go by, within the fashion industry, even the most stalwart fur-lovers have had a rethink, thanks to passionate anti-fur advocates like Stella McCartney. One day, January will be over. And with it, the compunction to be a better you. Freed from the pressure of trying to live your best life, you might just find yourself eschewing the sales, recycling the batteries and donating to the Australian Red Cross anyway. If Harry and Meghan can leave the royal family, you can learn to love ultra-processed fake meat substitutes. And if you can’t, don’t worry about it.


Jean Paul Gaultier (Laurent Vu/SIPA/Shutterstock)

Londoners d’une certain âge will remember the Saturday afternoon delight of swooping on a Gaultier bargain, usually found somewhere in Soho, and wearing it out clubbing that same night. At 67, the world’s oldest ‘enfant terrible’ unveiled his final Paris couture show last week, promptly reminding everyone what a pioneer he was. From androgyny to racial, gender, age and body diversity, Gaultier put it all on his catwalk first. Whatever happens to fashion in the future, JPG’s retirement is its loss. 


I bow to no one in my apathy towards a) cooking lasagne and b) cooking in general, and after years of feeling useless in the face of Nigella, I have found my patron saint — Paris Hilton, whose new YouTube video, Cooking With Paris, truly captures the horror of making every nonna’s favourite dish. ‘Lasagne is like really hard to make… it is a lot of steps compared to making like toast or something,’ she says, breaching 53 health and safety rules as she tosses her hair extensions near a naked flame while holding a chihuahua. Only an heiress would wear fingerless silk gloves to grate mozzarella (‘I wish this was already shredded, but whatever: life could be worse’). Could it, Paris? There’s a simple way to make it better: save yourself the bother entirely and buy a ready meal.


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