New year, new you! Or the same old you but with a whole bunch of new, exciting stuff set to happen? Either way, the fact is 2019 is about to knock on the door, so now's a good time to get ready to open it with a smile on your dial, hope in your heart, and a handy list of 10 things that'd be good to see in the coming year.
1. More cars on our roads
There's a shocking crusade against cars and motorists and roads these days. It's all about the damned bike, and don't even mention them wretched Lime scooters, which will surely be the death of some innocent passersby this year — it better not be me, I'll be livid with rage if it is. Cars are good. They look good in the country and they look even better in the city, up and down the whole length of Queen St, honking and idling and accelerating, big safe steel boxes with music and phone chargers. I want to drive a car in 2019. I want to get my licence, too. One more can't hurt; hand me the wheel.
2. Something better than Dancing with the Stars
It was my solemn duty to watch and review every single episode of Dancing with the Stars last year. It was such monumental trash and the only way it can improve is to get worse, but I don't think I'll have the stamina, the constitution, the guts. Is the age of franchised reality TV mindless garbage over? I hope not, but Married at First Sight has become unwatchable, and The Block has become unspeakable. We need something new. A new reality concept, maybe not even a contest, yet something that we can engage with, feel involved, and want to see it out. I think it should somehow or other involve cars.
3. A New Zealand political sex scandal involving pretty much anyone, but preferably from National
Okay so that was on last year's wish-list — and look what happened! Talk about prescient! Talk about getting what you wanted, and then realising the truth of the old adage, "Be careful of what you want because you might just get it!" That is, I wished it, and that incredible creature Jami-Lee Ross appeared. The JLR saga of 2018 was basically a sex scandal. He took it all too far but it was certainly very entertaining for the first 48 hours. We need a repeat in 2019, with one vital and crucial difference: we need a New Zealand political sex scandal involving pretty much anyone, but preferably from Labour.
4. The arrival of a rare bird
I experienced one of the chief mystical pleasures of my life in 2009 at a damp, spongy field in Takanini, where I went with Jeremy Wells to catch sight of one of the most sensational arrivals in New Zealand birding history — the Franklin's gull, a lone, poignant bird which had been blown off-course by strong winds and found landfall at the bottom of the world. The gull breeds in the prairies of North America, and makes an annual migration to South America. There were rare birds here last year, too — the laughing gull turned up at Cape Kidnappers, the Cox's Sandpiper at Lake Ellesmere. But we need something else, something truly spectacular, a bird so amazing and come so far that the Herald puts it on the front page, where everyone can stare at it, behold it, marvel at its existence.
5. A new boyband
Everyone agrees that pop music hasn't been the same since One Direction broke up. The mightiest of all totara had fallen. They went out with three incredible songs, achieving a pop nirvana with Steal My Girl, Night Changes, and, even without Zayn Malik, Perfect. All gold, all of a quality and feeling that has yet to be matched.
We need another 1D. We need another boyband. Somewhere out there, in London or Los Angeles or maybe even Longford Park, Takanini — what's happening out there these days? — a boyband is forming, practising harmonies, wearing interesting clothes, combing their hair, and preparing to reintroduce the joys and ecstasies of boypop to a waiting world.
6. A thrilling Rugby World Cup final in which the All Blacks lose by an agonisingly narrow margin and the country goes up in flames
There was something immensely forgettable when the All Blacks won the 2015 Rugby World Cup. They were expected to win it; they duly won it; Richie McCaw held one handle of the cup, John Key held the other, and a massive boringness settled over the people. But a loss in the 2019 final, in a game not merely of two halves but more intense and nerve-wracking fractions, when the lead changes, tight play erupts into open play, someone gets punched in the face, the crowd are on fire, the referee has a mental collapse, and, right at the death, the All Blacks die — wouldn't that be something? Let's hope!
7. The return of the tucked-in shirt
This was on last year's wish-list, too, and look what happened! Nowt. Everywhere, shirts continue to run free, amok, untucked, and it's a national disgrace. New Zealand men! Follow my lead. I will go through summer with my shirt tucked into my shorts and it will look real fine.
8. The return of classic Roses chocolates
The most tragic event of 2018 is what Cadbury did to the jewel in its crown — Rose's chocolates. It took out the peppermint creme. That's like draining the water from Lake Taupō or removing tussock from the Desert Road, a natural catastrophe. It also put a stop to the twist wraps, and shoved the chocs into vacuum-packed wraps, like condoms. Who wants condoms in a chocolate box? Please, Cadbury, do the right thing, and bring back the glorious past of cremes and twists.
9. The end of Twitter
The internet is a very bad place and Twitter is the worst thing on it. It encourages, it inflames, it incites. It's that opinion you never thought you even had but suddenly shared with the world and made people mad at you. It's that latent aggression you thought you kept a lid on but was given room to wander and cause havoc. It's the whole weird need to go public all the goddamned time. It's got to go! I hope it rots and dies in 2019 for the good of mankind, because what we need right now
10. World peace
Okay I wished for this last year, we all did, we always will, and that can't be a bad thing. Happy New Year.