Failure: Tab Tries New Years Resolutions

We’ve all done it. Started the year high in the hopes of our New Years Resolutions only to fail miserably oh so quickly. Here’s how three Tab Reporters got on with theirs.

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Everyone does it, swears off any and all vices on January 1st only to fall spectacularly off the wagon within a week. Here we set three Tab Reporters the challenge of giving up their greatest guilty pleasure to see if they could make it last (they couldn't).


JACK RIVLIN- Pornfree Pain

January 1st, 2010
New decade, new you. Having consumed my fair share of feminist literature and contemplated the decline of male identity, I’ve concluded that porn is bad. I’m giving it up for good: I’ve deleted the porn stash, cleared my history, I’ve even chucked out the 6 year old copy of Razzle: Reader’s Wives I was holding on to (for nostalgic purposes, you understand). From now on it is just me and ‘the cinema’ – the method of stimulation which involves closing your eyes and  imagining/remembering sexual encounters with people you have/want to/never will sleep with. It’s going to test both my self-control and my imagination.

January 8th 2010
One week down and it’s already been harder than I thought. Obviously I’ve gone a week without pornography before, but the deliberate prohibition is making everything much harder. Trying to suppress the urge to visit my old chum Spankwire (other porn sites are available) is pretty difficult when I’m at home with nothing to do except eat breadsticks and watch Come Dine With Me. If that looks like one of the most middle-class statements you’ve ever read then maybe I’m getting at why pornography is so widespread. We live in a society where sex is being sold to us like it’s the cure for cancer, and we can all afford it. If there’s one down side to modern permissiveness it’s our loss of self-control. Plus we’ve all got the internet.

January 12th 2010
Dark days when you’re searching through a copy of the Union Term Card for something vaguely arousing. Surely that would count as porn anyway? I probably should have just started with the rule that I wasn’t allowed to have my eyes open during masturbation. Like all addictions, the most likely cause of relapse is boredom. When you’re staring down the barrel of a day spent with 18th century political theory, looking at naked ladies starts to become pretty appealing. I’m averaging a couple of ‘cinema’ sessions a day, just to keep the demons at bay. Who knew I was such a perv?

January 16th 2010
After 15 days I have fallen off the wagon and succumbed to Page3. It’s not quite hardcore pornography, but I’m feeling pretty guilty. I tell myself it doesn’t count, and that actually I only looked because I wanted to know what Ruth, 26, from Kent thinks about Dappy from N-Dubz being a cyber-bully. But the truth is, I don’t give a flying fuck, I was just horny. I still believe that pornography has become a dangerous phenomenon, but in just two weeks my resolution has also taught me that men will always require visual stimulation. We just need to be careful about what it is. As for my resolution, I’m not giving up just yet – ladies love a trier, especially one this randy. 


SAM KIRSOP- I can't iPhone

Day 0
Society has always been divided: Roundheads vs Cavaliers; Chavs vs Emos and now the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. Everyone worth knowing has an iPhone. Even our lecturers flash them in an attempt to grab kudos from the kids. However, harkening back to 2003 when I deleted my MySpace on the chimes of Big Ben, this year I found myself hurtling into a new decade – liberated and terrified – without an iPhone in my pocket.

Day 1
Like a nervous twitch, I keep going for my pocket. It’s not there. What if I’ve got an email that can’t wait? An irresistible offer from a wealthy and generous Nigerian or an invitation to the annual dinner of a society I was coerced into signing up to at the freshers’ fair all those months ago.

Day 5
I had the misfortunate of meeting Tanya Gold last October. Her latest article in the Guardian today confirms that I really don’t like her. Today she’s complaining about iPhone users. One blogger replies “Bandwagoning, self-indulgent horseshit.” They’re right – becoming a ‘have not’ has not made me sympathetic to the anti-iPhone lobby. It’s like they’ve got an inferiority complex and have to huddle together. Example: Marcus Brigstocke’s joke that was voted 7th funniest at the Fringe last Summer – "To the people who've got iPhones: you just bought one, you didn't invent it!". That’s not funny.

Day 9
I don’t wrap my iPhone in cotton wool. The smashed screen from rugby tackling a friend to the floor in cindies is testament to the tough love relationship. I don’t like people who put phones in huge cases designed to protect their contacts list from Armageddon. Infact, the only thing worse is those who leave the plastic film covers on screens. They say there are five mental stages for anyone suffering from catastrophic personal loss. Denial and anger have been and gone, now I’m bargaining. It’s now not a case of if I’ll use my iPhone again but when. And when I do I’ll take better care.

Day 12
I’m stranded at Geneva Airport. It now resembles a refugee camp. In one corner a group of forty primary school kids cry – their flight has just been cancelled for the third day in a row because of snow. I know the feeling well – I’ve been delayed for forty minutes leaving me only four hours to get to Fez. I’m sure there would be an app to diffuse this situation – checking the weather, flights, trains. There’s not even an iPod to distract me from the group of scousers going mental at the check-in counter. Reeling from the debacle, and in an attempt to quell my chronic fear of turbulence, I turned to bottle after bottle of Easyjet’s finest “l’esprit du vin”.

Day 13
Game over. It’s not that I couldn’t give it up, it’s just that with an iPhone in my pocket, I feel invincible. And cool. Satisfied with my voyage of self-discovery, I poured myself an iPint.


PHOEBE LUCKHURST- Caffeine Cold Turkey

Hello, my name is Phoebe and I drink a lot of caffeine. I don't want to say the word addiction – it's bandied about way too much these days and, in any case, I don't think three cups of coffee before leaving the house of a morning, two mid-afternoon and four over the course of an essay-ridden evening constitutes an 'addiction' anyway. And don't mutter anything about 'denial' and  'acceptance being the first step to recovery' because I am so jittery from cup eight I might poke your eye out with a stray limb. Inadvertently. Obviously. Frankly, incessant fidgetting is, I believe, all part of my charm.

Friday 1st

In spirit of new year, new me, go to kitchen and dispose of all caffeinated products. Mother calls me a 'thick cow' when she comes down, looking like she's seen decidedly better days (rough New Year's Eve, Mum?) Hurt, although take solace in fact that my addiction must be genetic and is therefore entirely blameable on others.

Monday 4th

Have taken to tapping incessantly on surfaces with my fingernails and smoking roughly eight cigarettes an hour. My incessant fidgeting has, it seems, got worse rather than better.

Tuesday 5th

Is it OK to have a glass of wine at 11am? Can't. Take. Any. More. Herbal. Tea. Herbal tea is for hippies and recovering alcoholics. Looking at it, would indulge in another vice than go the whole hog and start dressing in hemp.

Thursday 7th

Back in Cam. Text: 'Coffee tomorrow? X' Me: 'I've given up coffee for New Year. Tea? X' Response: 'You're a wanker. Nero's at 12. X' With friends like these, how am I suppose to try and reinvent my vice-riddled existence.

Saturday 9th

Go into Nero's, where I have become one of those people whose arrival prompts the immediate preparation of a particular caffeinated beverage. I'd like to think their faces fall – and the token Italian one sheds a little tear – when I inform them it's a green tea for me today but don't think they really give a shit.

According to the internet, caffeine withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, muscle stiffness, difficulty concentrating, headaches, chills and/or hot flushes. I feel like an extra from Trainspotting, although frankly think my withdrawal makes Rent Boy's lavatorial hallucinations look like a scene from 'Andy Pandy: The Womb Cut'. I just want a cup of Nescafe.

Tuesday 12th

Also, have found myself substituting coffee for food. Don't want to become one of those people who sell their story to 'Pick Me Up' magazine about how they gave up smoking/coffee/crack and put on five stone.

Saturday 16th

First weekend of term time. I have three essays, six books and a poetry collection to read by Tuesday. There was a bop last night. Coffee is not a vice but a matter of prescribed medical urgency (probably). I down three mugs, shuddering with the forbidden pleasure of it all. Hello, my name is Phoebe and I drink a lot of caffeine.