It’s the end of January. You’re suffering from lack of light, lack of money, general grumpiness and restlessness and you have nine days to complete your tax return. What yer gonna do? A course on mindfulness? If that’s not for you may I offer the next best thing, advice from that great agony uncle PI Philip Marlowe courtesy of Raymond Chandler. Let’s throw him a few questions and see if he can fix us for the coming year.

Q. Philip, I’m thinking of moving to the country. What do you think?

A. You take it friend. I’ll take the big sordid dirty crowded city. *

Q. Should I reduce my coffee intake?

A. I (just) went out to the kitchen to make coffee-yards of coffee. Rich, strong, bitter, boiling hot, ruthless, depraved. The life-blood of tired men. *

Q. What do you think of dry January?

A. Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine.*

Q. Could you describe a recent meal for us.

A. The eighty-five-cent dinner tasted like a discarded mail bag and was served to me by a waiter who looked as if he’d slug me for a quarter, cut my throat for six bits and bury me at sea in a barrel of concrete… ***

Q. Oh dear, well moving swiftly on should I get divorced?

A. The first divorce is the only tough one. After that it’s merely a problem in economics. *

Q. I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather should I visit my GP?

A. Doctors are just people, born to sorrow, fighting the long grim fight like the rest of us. **

Q.What do you think of this “I grow old… I grow old… I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled.” What does that mean Mr Marlowe?

A. Not a bloody thing. It just sounds good. *

Q. Here’s another one “In the room the women come and go/ Talking of Michelangelo” Does that suggest anything to you?

A. Yeah, it suggests to me the guy didn’t know very much about women. *

Well, thank you for your time Mr Marlowe, I’m sure that’s made us all feel a whole lot better, hasn’t it? But whatever you do, reader, don’t go and kick a hole in a stained glass window. Unless you’re a bishop of course. If you’re a bishop and you just happen to have seen a blonde go right ahead.

Who do you read to cope with the January blues?

* The Long Goodbye

**The Lady in the Lake

***Farewell My Lovely


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