Spiral Notebook: Weighing up the chances

By Giles Broadbent on January 5, 2013 4:16 PM |


On the way home, spilling from a rubbish bin, a box of chocolates. Not any old box of chocolates strewn across the paving slabs but truffles, wrapped in silver foil. Hotel Chocolat or similar.

I thought: there's a drama right there. Throwing out good chocolates. I surmised only two good reasons for throwing out good chocolates - the cat, neglected over Christmas, had taken to malevolent micturition, or, more likely, a giant New Year symbolic act.

Those chocolates were 2012 - indulgence, gorging, muffin tops and armchairs. Fling them. Fling them right out. Because I start as I mean to go on, says the confectionery reactionary, donning sweat band and cape.

I like the thought. The drama. (The sacrifice!) But it's a tough time to start, January 1. Gestures are all very well, but you're hooked on the carbs now. Used to wearing a Pringle tube as a sleeve. Still off work a little while long. Accustomed to cake with every hot beverage.

February 1. That's when to start. Clear the shelves of stilton and strawberry cheesecake. Wean. W-e-a-n. January is weaning month. Go cold turkey on the cold turkey.

There is a chance that in 2013 the Large Hadron Collider will get to the bottom of things, find the indivisible unit of existence.

If you don't want to know what it is, look away now. It's the calorie. That's the fundamental building block. It's everywhere, in everything. You can't escape the calorie.

Yes, you can chuck it out on the streets like an EastEnders bad boy - but turn around and its back. Lurking. Calories lurk.

They're still part of the deal if you eat standing up, or in the dark before bedtime, or straight from the fridge as a distraction while you're chopping healthy legumes.

Physicists say that it is the Higgs Boson that gives objects mass. Yes, but not with the cruel efficacy of the calorie. The Higgs doesn't haunt your crumble like the calorie.

The unforgiving, unyielding calorie, like a mirror on the human soul. Look at yourself! Making you feel sinful and weak and mortal and briefly alive before you're cruelly smited.

Forget the Higgs Boson, the calorie is the God particle.

Licence to grab your money

■ Here is some simple maths. Don't ask me to show my workings. This is not about a decimal points but political ones.

Think of 100 people, friends for life, at a push. Tall order but go with it. British, preferably, or living here at least and robust of health and fans of QI and Top Gear. Imagine you and your 100 pals dutifully pay your licence fee all your lives from uni halls in springtime to shambling bungalow of the autumn years.

Between you and your crew you've just funded ex BBC boss George Entwhistle's five-star gap year (though not his other ancillary benefits - that's the purview of some other goggle box chumps).

You laboured hard for that dosh. Entwhistle not so much. Cheers anyway though.

Wii are the champions

■ Mayor Boris Johnson says he understands the beneficial reassurance of physical things - like police station counters - in an age when everything's going virtual.

To a point. I could quite happily see municipal tennis courts ripped up as part of a move to make the entire sport digital. In that way, my supremacy with the Wii wand would erase all my various humiliations in the real world.