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South Wales Evening Post column, January 05, 2024

Robert Lloyd PR, Media and Marketing Consultancy News, Newspaper columns South Wales Evening Post column, January 05, 2024

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South Wales Evening Post column, January 05, 2024

Posted By Robert Lloyd

IT was a former friend who once recycled the old joke of ‘A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.’

With a wit as sharp as that, it was little wonder that he cut himself out of the invitation list to every subsequent New Year’s party.

I happen to be less cynical about the new broom approach to adopting resolutions.

I’m with Charles Dickens, when he wrote, ‘A new heart for a New Year, always!’

I’m positively scornful of Oscar Wilde’s contrary view – ‘Good resolutions are simply cheques that men draw on a bank where they have no account.’

And I’m filled with admiration for Benjamin Franklin, who said, ‘Be at War with your Vices, at Peace with your Neighbours, and let every New Year find you a better man.’

This being January 5th, it is a reasonable assumption that many of you will have already cast your New Year resolutions aside, dumped unceremoniously, like the Christmas wrapping paper.

In the Lloyd household, years of experience dictate that the number of resolutions should be very few.

A couple of years ago, in this very column, I made a New Year pledge to cut down on swearing.

If you ask how that one is going today, then I will have to admit it is b—-y hard. But I have made a 70 per cent reduction in the F Department – and I am very environmentally friendly in being totally C-Free.

This year, I am being realistic and adopting the S.M.A.R.T. mnemonic acronym so loved by the performance management gurus.

Yes, my resolutions will be Smart, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

A friend (who had best remain nameless) is adopting a similar approach.

He told me, “I’ve decided I’m not going to drink any more.”

I cautioned, “That’ll be tough.”

But he smiled and replied, “Ah! But I’m not going to drink any less, mind!”

It was the same guy who, in early 2022, explained that his doctor had asked him to stop drinking.

Questioned on what his next step would be, he announced, “Obviously . . . I’m going to change my doctor!”

The suspicion is that, if he carries on in similar manner, he may not have many more New Years left to be making any sort of resolutions.

We shall have to wait and see . . .

Meanwhile, I’m sticking by three simple resolutions –

No1. Quit smoking. Should be straightforward as I haven’t had a fag since a quick puff behind the bike sheds in sixth form. I still fume occasionally, though. Usually at random news events! I refuse to be an ape with a vape.

No2. Improve my fitness. I already do a minimum 10,000 steps a day. I’m stepping it up to 20,000. The downside is that I will need to catch a bus to get home. The plus side to that snag is that I have a valid bus pass.

No3. Be kind on Facebook and X (or whatever we call Twitter nowadays). Any sensible person using social media will appreciate there’s an ever-increasing torrent of hate on all the platforms. I will continue my policy of blanking out the toxic ‘haters’ and being nice, kind and encouraging to all who deserve it.

I’ll let you all know how I’ve got on . . . in January 2025!


IT’S something that happens frequently at this time of the year. Small things can trigger memories of people who are no longer with us.

Put it down to the reflective nature of the movement from one year to the next, the looking forward and the looking back.

For some of us, it was an animated feature film that helped provide the trigger.

My excuse is that I was babysitting a lively two-year-old and plasticine sheep provided a much-needed window of festive entertainment respite.

‘Shaun the Sheep in the Farmer’s Llamas’ was the New Year’s Day morning featured film on BBC1. Yes, it may be an animation, but it isn’t necessarily a children’s film. My grand-daughter’s choice was a very welcome one, as it happens.

But . . . it wasn’t until later in the day that I was reminded of its significant connection to this part of the world.

For the composer of the soundtrack to the Aardman film was Penclawdd-born Mark Thomas, who died in July of last year, aged 67.

Mr Thomas was a classically-trained multi-instrumentalist, proficient in virtually every style of music.

Mr Thomas composed his own unique scores for movies and television shows, often to worldwide critical acclaim. He won a Bafta award for his score to cult British comedy Twin Town, and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for the theme to the BBC2 comedy series Episodes.

It was my pal Griff Harries, the musician and broadcaster and knowledgeable guide to all things west Wales, who explained more about the film score – and revealed that he’d actually played on it.

Griff said: “So many happy memories of playing on the soundtrack which was scored by my friend Mark Thomas. He passed away in 2023. What a lovely way to remember him today by listening to the music he composed and – perhaps just as importantly – to recall the fun and the good times we had working on this and many other projects. He was the most talented musician I’ve known and I miss him hugely.”

Perhaps Swansea should do more to remember the work of Mark Thomas? Just a thought.

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