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Happy New Year?

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It's already February and I still haven't written my happy new-year's letter! I'm late! 2013, well, we've got so far.

I still remember when in the last days of 1999 we waited for the new millennium to begin. I know someone who was convinced that as soon as the year changed, it would rain fire from the sky. Only those households that had candles blessed in the Catholic Church would be saved. The rest would burn. Nothing burnt, except for maybe somebody's patience with that silly prophecy.

I also know a guy who flew his wife and baby all the way to Sidney from Europe, so they could be amongst the first on the planet to welcome the new millennium that would make everything better. Their baby got sick, and they had to stay in the hotel instead of going to the streets to celebrate with everyone. That wasn't much of a party, was it?

2012 came and went, and the world did not end, as it didn't burn in 2000. It's 2013 and we're still around. I wouldn't say any better than before, maybe even worse, but still around. I'm not feeling very positive lately, but I don't think you can blame me, with all those awful things happening all over the world! Bad business!

We columnists tend to complain, I find. So I will try to fight my nature and write about something nice. I will write about two artists who haven't made it to the limelight yet, but are nevertheless great. That will make us all feel better.

Music. Music calms the beasts, they say. Music brings joy and improves health. There's this really interesting folky North American musician living and working in Southern Spain. Dan Kaplan and his KRooked TRee Band are about to release their new album The Indescribable Hat. Dan Kaplan plays the guitar and harmonica and sings. It's fun music. Makes you want to dance. Makes you think of the sun and prairies and leaves swinging in the wind.

Visual arts. They don't go to your marrow as music does, but they make you think and dream all the same. Alex Mitchell makes fairy tales and sharp ideas come true with her hands. She uses plastic, wood, cloth and paints to breathe life into the most delicious little creatures and landscapes. She is amazingly skillful and clever. Her art makes you laugh and think. It awakes a fantastic combination of human emotions. Mitchell's art is naïve and funny, and it hides stinging statements of life and the human being.

Both artists should definitely be checked out.

There still are nice good things happening around.