It was easy to make me deliriously happy when I was a child. The night before Christmas I would try to expel my pent up excitement by jumping up and down on my bed until the wee hours, then jumping up and down on my mum’s bed at five in the morning. Being allowed a 99 flake on a summer’s day would elicit squeals of delight and Disneyland was my childish Mecca – a place so magical that you had to wander around it with a grin constantly plastered to your face – and even the fact that Sleeping Beauty’s castle was just a gift shop didn’t dampen my spirits.
Now I am an adult, that level of joy is harder to reach and sustain, especially in wet and windy January. This week we experienced Blue Monday, supposedly the most depressing day of the year due to debt, weather and a lack of motivation. Despite being a PR stunt from 2005, it must be true as it has been graced with its own Wikipedia article. Bearing this in mind I’d like to share with you the collection of essays, Modern Delight. I picked it up in a charity shop quite a while back and it contains bite sized 500 or so word essays from well-known people as diverse as authors Phillip Pullman and Nick Hornby to politicians like Vince Cable and even Henry “The Fonz” Winkler.
It was designed as an update of J.B Priestley’s 1949 book of 114 essays called Delight. In gloomy post war times when The Ministry of Food controlled our food supplies and the economy was in tatters he wanted to boost morale by reminding everyone of the small happinesses of life like giving advice, not going to a party and the perfect G&T.