Dim your lights. Here's the highlights reel. The worst recession in 60 years. Broken windows and artless graffiti. Howling winds blowing empty cans past boarded-up shopfronts. Feral children eating sloppy handfuls of decomposed-pigeon-and-baked-bean mulch scraped from the bottom of dustbins in a desperate bid to survive. The pound worth less than the acorn. The City worth less than the pound. Your house worth so little it'll collapse out of shame, crushing you in your bed.
It goes downhill from there (the year, I mean, not the enjoyment of Booker's prose), though even a pessimist like me doubts whether my relatives will actually have to sleep on brain-stained bedclothes, "shivering in the dark as they hear bombs dipped in bird flu dropping on the shattered remains of the desiccated city above."
But it's the thought that counts, I suppose.
So, the new year is already looking pretty nightmarish, which is one of the reasons I decided to ring it in by spending its first few evenings re-watching George Romero's zombie trilogy.
There are few things like a good old fashioned zombie apocalypse to cheer a body up: the world may be bad, you think, but at least I'm not trapped in a shopping mall trying to keep my entrails from being ripped out and eaten by the undead.
Yeah. A little perspective is always useful.
Something else that might also help you get through the grim times to come might be a couple of wonderful (and quite remarkably zombie-like) photos of party-goers offered to us by Sorry I Missed Your Party (previously celebrated on this blog here.)
There will be many moments in 2009 when you need a little cheering up, a little, you know, laughter.
Just bookmark this page and come back whenever you need that little lift.
Don't you feel better now? Good.
And remember: when it comes to real zombies, aim for the head.
(Image sources: here and here. Frightening combination thereof: here.)