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Blue Monday: Survival Guide



As I woke up this morning, I read on Twitter that today was apparently ‘Blue Monday’. Whilst I normally welcome a celebration (see Christmas, Birthdays, the second coming of Take That), ‘Blue Monday’ seemed somewhat strange to me. I just couldn’t understand why everyone was dedicating an entire day to Antony Costa, Duncan James, Lee Ryan and Simon Webbe, otherwise known as the boy band ‘Blue’. Sure, they had a couple of hits in the past, and had represented our Great Nation at the Eurovision song contest (2011), but they have been quiet for sometime now, and I can’t remember the last time they charted (I won’t look it up out of principal). At the very least they deserved an afternoon, not an entire day. Still, the nation seemed caught up in the ‘Blue Monday’ phenomenon, so I quickly gathered all the Blue songs I could find (three), and prepared for the day ahead.

It was only about halfway through reading Antony Costa’s Wikipedia page (he had a role in ‘Grange Hill’ as a child) that I decided to look up ‘Blue Monday’ again, then realizing that the day was NOT dedicated to the boy band (sorry) but was actually the most depressing day of the year. Lovely.

According to an ancient Celtic myth (lie), ‘Blue Monday’ is scientifically the most depressing day, for countries in the Northern Hemisphere. There is even a ‘scientific’ calculation for ‘Blue Monday’, which you can look at below.

As that makes absolutely no sense to me, I’m going to choose to pretend it doesn’t exist, like the French language. However, I do believe ‘Blue Monday’ may have some relevance, as January IS the Monday of Months, so it does seem fitting that ‘Blue Monday’ would fall within it. I’ve decided that I need to help everyone power through not only today, but the entire Month of January, as no one likes Mondays, especially not an entire Month of it. So here are the three official Ben on Toast Tips for beating those Monday Blues.

Start your New Year resolutions in February

January is already difficult enough. You have to try to get all those Christmas songs you memorised word-for-word over the holidays out of your head, you have to go back to work and face the endless “how was your christmas” interrogations, plus you probably started the month with a hangover (over 18’s ONLY). The last thing you need to be doing is changing something in your life right now. By starting our New Year resolutions in January, we are adding unnecessary pressure and stress to an already dire month. If we use January as the gap between New Year and the coming resolutions, we can all relax a bit longer after the holidays, and make the resolutions less of a chore, and more an enjoyment, which will make us less likely to give them up.

Don’t book a Holiday – Buy something utterly ridiculous

This is the greatest lie about ‘Blue Monday’. Apparently it’s the day that most people will book a holiday, as they want to escape the harsh realities of life and go relax on a beach somewhere (such as Greece, Italy or Blackpool). Professor Richard Wiseman (google him) says that the best way to cure the Blues is a holiday and NOT material gifts to yourself. Professor Richard Wiseman is wrong. If you book a holiday now, you will have months to wait for it. The anticipation will make you hate your current situation more and more, extending Blue Monday/January for an unnecessarily long time. Instead, buy something online that you’ve always wanted, something utterly ridiculous, something that you don’t need but desperately want. The thrill of becoming a ‘kid in a candy shop’ will make you forget all about ‘Blue Monday’, and by the time the excitement wears off, January will be over and Fun February (©BenOnToast) will be here! It’s also a lot cheaper than a holiday, so you’re even saving money (ka-ching!).

Watch happy films, but skip the end

If you’re really feeling those Monday/January lows, and nothing else will work, try this tried and tested method (by me). Gather as many uplifting, inspiring, happy films as possible. Good examples include ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. All these films feature characters hitting a low point in their life, but rising up and succeeding in the end. However, skip the end. This way, you can say to yourself “at least things aren’t as bad as it was for…”. For example; “The paperwork is piling up on my desk, but at least I wasn’t defeated by Lord Voldemort” or “I hate January, but it’s definitely better than being locked up in Shawshank for a crime I didn’t commit”. Works like a dream.

Please feel free to use these three methods as use wish, even if the month isn’t January or it’s a lovely Green Friday. The important thing is you never forget them, so I suggest printing them out, sticking them on the ceiling above your bed, and reading them EVERY evening until you can recite them backwards (and forwards, obviously). I hope you all have a better ‘Blue Monday’ than you did last year, and please remember to keep Boy Bands who have fallen out of the limelight in your heart at all time.

As a bonus, here is a photo of me WITH Simon from the band ‘Blue’, about 3 years ago in a club in Norwich. Happy Blue Monday to all.

Simon Blue

Five seconds after the photo was taken, I was grabbed by security, and never saw Simon again.

Listen to the breakfast show with Ben, 6.30am to 10am Monday to Friday, on RunwayRadio!

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Ben On Toast

Southern Rail – What happens next?



The Southern Rail Strike saga just keeps getting more and more complex. After announcing there would be no more strikes, Southern Rail have now said that this week they and the RMT union are going back to ACAS for talks this coming Monday.

However, the main news that is concerning rail passengers today is that thousands of passengers STILL haven’t heard back from Southern about compensation for the disruption. A website will be launched next week to help rail users claim back their money, but nearly a month after the last of the strikes, you can’t help but feel that the passengers just aren’t Southern Rails priority.

Like Donald Trump and his Wall, Southern Rail need to come up with a quick and easy way to raise the money in order to compensate the thousands of passengers that have been affected by the industrial action, as they finally start to realise there are consequences to striking for half the year. I’ve listed a few ideas for them to use, instead of them holding 267 meetings with ACAS and the RMT union to try and come up with their own.

Sell the movie rights: The strikes have captured the attention of thousands of people across Britain. Why not make the story of the Southern Rail strikes into a movie? Tip: to really generate money, try adding an alien invasion or a couple of Superheros in the story (Captain Compensation anyone?)

Valentine’s Day Chocolates: On Monday night, there will be hundreds of people traveling home, only to realise they completely forgot to buy a Valentine’s gift for their partner. At every station, set up stands to sell the official Southern Rail Valentine’s Chocolates, with Southern Rail themed engravings such as “I’d delay all services for you” or “you compensate me”.

Replace all trains with Thomas the Tank Engine: Make everyday a ‘Day out with Thomas”! Passengers won’t mind spending a little more (FACT) if they’re travelling to work in style! Bonus – if trains are delayed, instead of complaining online, passengers can just yell at the big round face of Thomas the Tank engine instead!

Alternatively, Southern Rail COULD just hold talks with the unions, whilst still running a full service, thus resolving the issues that have plagued their trains for months now, and not affecting the thousands of people that have to use and rely on them.

But personally, I want to see hundreds of angry of commuters yelling at ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’.

“You have ruined my day with your delay, I demand answers”

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