After sinking into rather a melancholy state before Christmas, the thought of dedicating a whole day to being depressed really didn’t tickle my fancy. But with ‘Blue Monday’ propaganda contaminating the streets of London yesterday, it took all my might not to fall into the unhappy abyss. It was as if our nation was encouraging us to cross over to the dark side – it was natural, it was scientifically proven – you were meant to feel low. There was even an equation:
There’s enough misery in the world without us dedicating a day to consciously feeling miserable. ‘Blue Monday’ is an evil marketing ploy (invented I am told by Sky Travel) which maximises on the vulnerability of humans’ mental states in this hostile month. Waking to a white London yesterday morning, I was adamant that I was not going to succumb to this devilish ruse. Shades of grey were thrown at me last year; blue was being thrown at me now, so I fought back with another force, the force of black and white.
I went to review the Greenwich Maritime Museum’s (black and white) exhibition of Californian photographer Ansel Adams. Wrapping my coat around me, I then pulled on my Dubarrys and set out to face the freeze. From the City to Greenwich, hmmmmn, a rather long voyage on the tube and a high risk of being infected with the 24-hour depressive virus – no that would not do. I needed an alternative; I needed a taxi – but not a black cab. Aha! I needed a river taxi.
So instead of burying underground with spreaders of the sad syndrome, I took to the Thames on one of the fabulous KPMG clippers and had a picturesque, efficient and rather rapid journey to Greenwich pier. What’s more; I did all of this while drinking a steaming cup of Costa Coffee (served on-board).
Once in the Gallery, I was transported from London’s preying misery to California’s open majesty. Mirror lakes, mountains, waterfalls – Adams captured raw nature at its finest. From seaweed, to shipwrecks; there is an emotionally moving quality to all of his photographs. Indeed, towards the end of the exhibition there are clothes lines, filled with pegs which hold up bits of paper, on which the public have written what Adams has inspired them to do.
Ansel Adams has inspired me to: “recognise the incredible peace inherent in the stillness of nature, perhaps available to us all, if only we look in the right place.”
Reading this and the others, I too picked up a pen and wrote:
Ansel Adams has inspired me to: “concentrate on the happiness rather than the sadness that the world provides for its inhabitants.”
And then I realised that (aside from the ‘finding oneself’ chapter of my book) this was probably one of the most pretentious things that I had ever written and I swiftly removed it from the peg and destroyed it.
However, I was still happy and it was then that I decided to ban ‘Blue Monday’ from my life. ‘Blue Monday’ is banned and I highly recommend that you ban it from your lives too.
Fighting Blue Monday with Black and White