Your New Year’s non-resolutions!

Malaga hospital staff with the heart transplant patient. Credit: [email protected]

I LOVE lists. Especially lists in alphabetical order. In fact, I love them so much I will share with you my latest for 2012.

About what you should ‘avoid’ at all costs:

1. Cookery shows on TV. Cook a gourmet meal in 30 minutes? Well, with superb knife skills, a personal herb garden and a professional kitchen/chef at your disposal … Simples!

2. Jargon. ‘Stake holder’ (for me, it’s a guy with tongs hovering over a grill). ‘Fayre’ (what’s wrong with ‘Fair’?). And isn’t a ‘boutique’ hotel, er, just a ‘small’ one?

3. Kids’ carol concerts. Maybe I am in a minority but I cannot stand carol concerts with five-year-olds singing out of tune and one precocious little brat taking over as if auditioning for the X Factor.

4. Name dropping. Oops, as they say in presidential debates: verging here on Michael Winner territory (‘Elizabeth Taylor’, clunk! ‘Marlon Brando’, thud!). Not to mention Winner’s ego – enough of that to make topless calendar boy Vladimir Putin look self-effacing.

5. Overcooked food. The sight of shrivelled, dried-out turkey next to pert baby brussels sprouts always brings to mind those infamous engagement photos of Hugh Hefner and ex-fiancée.

6. Piped muzak in stores, especially Christmas jingles. Stores spend millions on what customers see but zilch on what they hear. Pity the poor assistants who have to endure it all year long.

7. Product placement in films, on TV or in books like Stieg Larsson’s references to IKEA etc in his Millenium trilogy. (Oops, again. In one of my own novels, one cigarette brand is named – though I don’t smoke. Really!)

8. Slebs memoirs – and the latest blow-by-blow instalment of the riveting lives of Z-list ‘celebrities’ (‘My first day at primary school’) desperately trying to revive flagging careers. Since most men put off thinking about Christmas until Christmas Eve itself, doubtless though when they do finally hit the high street as the stores are closing, their eyes will alight on just the gift for Auntie Ruthie …

9. Spam. Got spammed by a message purporting to be anti-spam but which came from a site advertising, yes you guessed: Viagra, fake Rolexes, more Viagra.

10. Wish lists – that are never, ahem, fulfilled. Ah, well, there’s always next year’s … it’s being so cheerful that keeps me going! Happy New Year!

Nora Johnson’s novels, Soul Stealer & The De Clerambault Code ( now also available at in paperback and as eBook. Profits to Cudeca 

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