Welcome to the last Muse before Christmas! Welcome to a very special day!
At the time of posting this, I have not yet seen Spider-Man: No Way Home. I’m seeing it on the evening of the 15th, and I am pretty excited to see where Marvel and Sony take their multiverse ideas. I could offer up a huge volume of thoughts right now, but I will settle for saying that in the end, I don’t know what to expect, for Marvel are good at throwing curve-balls. I hope it gives us a great boost, right before Christmas!
We had our work Christmas do the other day, at a crazy golf venue with some fun, unique ideas for courses, centred around fairground rides and games. This wasn’t like some of the raucous Christmas parties I’ve attended before (the sofa shop seemed to demand drunkenness), as it was only four of us, and having an activity meant we A: didn’t drink as much and B: avoided talking shop (which after all, can dominate conversations between colleagues).
Last Christmas we went for a meal and had to sit at separate tables, which made having conversations difficult. This year we had a laugh, we played some (at times bad) mini golf, and we quietly acknowledged that as a group of four, we will never work with each other again. My current manager is getting promoted and the company wants to start sending him on jaunts, which means whilst we’ll all see each other before he goes, we won’t all be under the same roof again, at least, not unless we arrange something.
I’m happy for him, because he deserves this promotion and it will have a good impact on him. I’m also happy for my assistant manager, who is getting promoted to manager. What it will all mean for me personally I cannot say, but for now, I am glad to have enjoyed what could be described as a Christmas party…
Speaking of Parties
It turns out there is one rule for us and another rule for our Tory government. It is confirmed that they held a Christmas party last year that breached the covid regulations of the time, and it looks like other gatherings took place that defied the law. In a bid to distract us from these flagrant breaches of the rules, Boris Johnson announced new pandemic measures to tackle rising cases in the build up to this Christmas, but there are many voices stating they will openly defy new regulations, for if the government cannot follow its own rules, why should they?
In many ways, this is the wrong attitude, for we need to be better than the ignorant and arrogant Tories in government. However, I can thoroughly understand why people are angry – there are many who could not say goodbye to dying loved ones due to the pandemic rules last Christmas, whilst Tory party members laughed and joked and quaffed wine and cheese.
The PM has claimed he was ignorant of the parties, but one of them is alleged to have taken place at 10 Downing Street – the official residence of the Prime Minister! Are we to believe Johnson managed to be unaware of events taking place in his own home?! Then again, he is a feckless pillock, so anything is possible…
In another moment of madness, the Tories have appointed one of their own to investigate all this. What are the odds he absolves his masters of wrong-doing?
On the 12th of December Lewis Hamilton went head-to-head with Max Verstappen for the Formula 1 World Championship. For Verstappen it would be his first, and the heir to Hamilton’s crown would finally ascend to the throne. For Hamilton it would be his eighth, and in doing so he would set a new record for titles, surpassing Michael Schumacher and establishing himself firmly as the most successful F1 driver of all time. I wrote up my personal thoughts on the clash prior to the race, which you can read here.
As is typical for race weekends, I would be at work, and as is also typical, customers wandered in right before the start. This is an annoying trend, as though as cosmic force is at work to deny me the opportunity to enjoy F1. That said, I was utterly determined to watch the race anyway, even if that meant defying a few rules. After all, this was an epic showdown, and you’d have to rip me away to stop me watching it.
Verstappen had qualified on pole, with Hamilton second and Lando Norris a surprising third in his McLaren. At the very beginning of the race Hamilton got by Verstappen but by turn six the first controversial moment of a race riddled with controversy erupted. Verstappen tried to go up the inside of Hamilton, Hamilton went wide, re-joined still ahead, and Red Bull were not happy, but the stewards decided Hamilton had not gained an unfair advantage. From there Hamilton built up a lead, and after the first round of stops he maintained that lead, despite at one point getting caught behind Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez. Perez defended bravely but once Hamilton had cleared the Mexican he restored a reasonable gap, that he maintained quite comfortably. Even a virtual safety car did not upset the order – though it did create a bigger gap for Hamilton.
Verstappen had pitted for a second time, and on fresher hard tyres to Hamilton’s own hard tyres, he slowly began to reel Hamilton in, but not quickly enough. It looked like Hamilton would claim the win and his eighth title – but fate, in the form of the Williams of Nicholas Latifi, who spun and hit the wall on lap 54 of 58. This brought out a late safety car, and Verstappen pitted for a third time, this time putting on soft tyres. Hamilton, incredibly, did not pit, and was now on old hard tyres against a pacey Verstappen on fresh, ultra-grippy tyres. For a few laps the cars trundled around following the safety car and it looked like the season would end in anti-climatic fashion behind it, but then came another flashpoint in a season defined by them – firstly it appeared that lapped cars would not have to un-lap themselves, and that would have put five cars between Hamilton and Verstappen. Red Bull were unhappy, and then delighted, as race director Michael Masi reversed his decision and allowed the five cars between the two championship rivals to un-lap themselves, but only those five, and set the stage for a final lap showdown.
As the race resumed for the last lap, Verstappen made his move into the big, new hairpin at turn five and got by Hamilton to lead the race and the championship. He held off a brief attempt from the Briton to get back past, and took the chequered flag to win his first ever world title, as well as becoming the first Dutchman to win the Formula 1 World Championship. However that wasn’t the end of it all. Mercedes felt aggrieved by the events of the safety car period, and argued Verstappen has passed Hamilton under yellow flags. They were also unhappy that the FIA allegedly inconsistently applied the rules around lapped cars un-lapping themselves. The Stewards deliberated for a bit and concluded the decisions had been fair, and that Verstappen was world champion, but Mercedes have lodged an appeal, so this still isn’t officially over.
I fully understand why some people are annoyed by how the end of the race was handled. Was it a bid to great drama rather than have the race fizzle out? Was there a fairer scenario? Sport is full of ‘what ifs’, and there’s no way to please everyone, especially given the rivalries and what’s at stake. That said, I do not want the F1 title decided in a courtroom. It’s over, it’s done, 2021 belongs to Max Verstappen, and we move on.
I’ve been playing around with the VR headset I got for my birthday, and I’ve discovered it’s a fun way to make YouTube videos for this site! I’ve made a couple already – you can check them out here, or via my YouTube channel – and I dare say this is the beginning of a unique new way for me to make these videos. I have never been entirely comfortable making conventional vids, so this provides me with an opportunity to be more at ease in my own skin. I’ll definitely be making a few more of these! I’ve been more active at making videos over the last two years than at any previous point, and this may become a regular trend, though I very much prefer the written word.
What I’d love to do is connect with people who have this VR setup.
As this is the last Muse before Christmas, I want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all my readers, and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a happy and prosperous New Year.