'New Year, New Me', one of my friends said, as she answered my call. I was alarmed. Not only did I very much like the old her, but I was also almost certain that I wouldn't like this New Me. I do not like change. I like predictability, and comfort, and friends who want to make bad decisions and stay up too late on a school night, rather than leaving early and blowing me off for yoga. There's a peacefulness in things staying the same that tends to be forgotten in the new year. It's one of the many reasons I'm taking a stand against all the language of January: Change and Fix and Start and New.
I am taking a stand against this rush to improve and alter and refresh, and turning my back against a movement that insists that who I was, happily and unhappily, for the last 365 days, isn't good enough. I'm not stopping drinking (boring and unfair on publicans and restaurant owners- who, despite all of Jamie and Gordon's assurances to the contrary, are not usually millionaires). I'm not exercising more (if there's any time at all to legitimately avoid the gym - and I once declared Sunday off limits as 'God's Day', it's January), and I'm not eating 'better' (food, despite the edicts of thousands of lifestyle bloggers, is not a moral issue).
In 2016, I will be continuing to trundle along much as I did in 2015. I will face the cold, and the gloom, and the irritation of other people's New Year's Resolutions with humour, and forbearance and wine. Lots of wine. In fact, I might just pop back into Enoteca Rabezzana, which is an Italian wine and tapas bar in the Barbican.
I was wary, at first, of heading to the Barbican. The last time I had been there, I arrived 4 minutes late (potentially my fault, but I'm not certain the door manager knew that) to an experimental opera, and despite promising to creep in imperceptibly, was forbidden from sitting with my friends. 'You do know there are other things around the Barbican, not just the Barbican centre?' I was asked. Deeply mistrustful, I nevertheless bravely ventured to Enoteca Rabezzana, and was surprised to discover that my friend was right. (I can't write 'pleasantly surprised' because discovering that one is in the wrong is never pleasant). There is a whole, delightful section of London minutes from the Barbican station; filled with restaurants and pubs and expensive-looking wine bars.
Enoteca Rabezzana is the type of restaurant that makes passers-by feel like Tiny Tim: it has huge, street-facing windows and is filled with wooden tables, warm lighting and a carefully-drawn map of Italy, presumably so you can finally end debates on mnemonics for remembering the location of Sicily. Its USP is simple: it has over 150 Italian wines served by the glass. They are able to do this because of some sort of fancy preserving or opening device, which was graciously explained to me several times during my dinner, but, as I might have mentioned, they have over 150 Italian wines by the glass.
I would like to talk a little bit now about the food. I can only really talk a little bit about the food- specifically, the extremely good tapas we had to start with, which included crisp and moreish pecorino cheese balls and tomato dip; very good mussels and clams served in one of those tomato-garlic-wine sauces that I wish more food were submerged into; paper-thin lashings of Italian cured-meats. We ate more than this, naturally, it still being 2015, where gluttony was encouraged rather than disparaged, but we also made great progress with the wine list, so my notes on our later courses are rather looser: "Steak: delicious. Love steak." "How do they deep fry the octopus-bits that come with calamari? Investigate. Could be good longform feature."
New Year, New Me be damned. It's 2016, and I'm not changing anything. If you need me, I'll be happily working my way through the wine list at Enoteca Rabezzana. Do feel free to join me, Old Yous.