AS we reluctantly packed away the last bauble and kissed goodbye to the mistletoe, life's doom-mongers wasted no time in reminding us all that "Blue Monday" awaits - January 21, also known as the most depressing day of the year.

Surely that is just wishful thinking on their part.

I am not a pessimist but I know from simply watching the news that there’s going to be plenty more grey daze ahead without setting one day aside.

As the astrologer Patric Walker warned John Lennon, "life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

John took the credit for that now oft-quoted philosophical gem.

Yet I think we should ignore such man-made tags as Blue Monday - what does it actually achieve?

It has been thrust upon us in recent years like the commercial sales stunt known as Cyber Monday and Black Friday.

I propose we should start every new first day of the month with a 'gung ho' optimism – a declaration of individual and collective defiance to be upbeat and positive.

We could welcome: Jolly January; Friendly February; Matey March, Awesome April; Magical May; Jubilant June; Joyful July; Amazing August; Sensational September; Over-achieving October followed by Nifty November and ending off the 12 months with Dazzling December.

Banish any thought of Blue January.


IF only we could banish Brexit ...

Monday's Channel 4 drama Brexit - The Uncivil War - illustrated how Remainers and Leavers have all been hijacked on an un-magical mystery tour.

Now, we have just 80 days before it's deal or no deal time.

This one-off, sobering drama never even explained some of the phrases that have been lost on us voters over the last two-and-a-half years since the referendum such as "Backstop, hard borders, custom union."

The programme left us with the chilling message 'the story continues to unfold.'

Next Tuesday, it is time for the "meaningful vote" cue The Clash classic Should I stay or should I go?

One BBC political commentator said we should be prepared for "Boomerang Brexit votes" – they will keep coming back.


TALKING of come backs – Only Fools and Horses was a classic sit-com and one I felt would have transferred well to the big screen, just like previous comedies before it like Rising Damp and On the Buses.

Now I hope the stage musical - which opens next month in London - will become a huge hit and then tour.

The iconic three-wheeler van could end up being a stage favourite like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Now Paul Whitehouse has teamed up with original writer John Sullivan's son to bring the Peckham Posse back to life.

The show will certainly be a boost for the London Tourist Board enjoying the success of the returning Mary Poppins.

It is unashamedly nostalgic set in 1990 – when, sadly, social media was just a novelty.


MAKE an appointment tomorrow night for BBC 2's six-part documentary Hospital.

Six Liverpool hospitals trusts will be featured over the coming weeks.

Excellent timing as Theresa May launches her NHS ten-year-plan.

I was actually back in the wards this week, but as a visitor, when I went to see Radio Merseyside's Roger Lyon who had been admitted.

When I arrived at his bedside he awoke and squinted, staring at me with a look of bewilderment.

He is now back on air and he told listeners that when I visited him he was convinced he had seen "the Grim Reaper."

Now, I have been called many things in my life but the harbinger of death is not one of them.

I must get a cheerful new overcoat in the January sales.


FAREWELL festive season, welcome Movie awards season with Bafta and Oscars to come.

I am saddened that the Stan & Ollie picture didn't get any prizes in the Golden Globes.

One of my favourite reviewing nights in 2018 was attending a preview of this lovely film.

At the screening in Fact, Liverpool, we were all given Laurel & Hardy bowler hats.

We all watched a classic film from the duo, made 86 years ago, which had the audience howling with laughter.


And seeing so many black bowler-hatted couples getting the train back to Wirral was a sight to remember long after the credits rolled.

The ghosts of Stan and Ollie who visited Liverpool Empire on their 1953 tour were certainly smiling that night.


GIANT Killers ...

I have seen enough of them last month wearing my panto critic's hat but now I want to see more fairy tales in football.

It was uplifting to see many Davids beat Goliaths - Newport, Barnet, Oldham and Accrington Stanley made it to the fourth round.

But the magical element in this year's competition is the welcome revenue made for the smaller clubs.

Even though Woking lost to Watford they did pick up a £150k cheque.

This meant cash-strapped manager Alan Dowson can now afford a kettle.

He can celebrate with an FA cuppa win of his own.

Peter Grant