Robert Burns

Kilmarnock Ill 1808 Is the place and time of the first recorded Burns Supper, yet our taste for haqioqraphy and haqqrs Ill his name remains undimlnished Even If you have him down as a philandennq Jakey, his eye for a lyric can’t he denied. And Quite what the Scottish Bard would have made of Sir Cliff’s version of his famous Hogmanay anthem may be cause for heated debate when the sheep entrails are dished up

Robert Burns would have been celebrating ll/S 241st hlrthday on Tue 25 Jan, See C/ty l./le list/nos for events.

I've decided to compile a list detailing my clear and precise reasons for giving up the compilation of lists in the 21st century. Obviously there is a patent contradiction in this statement, but with an inveterate list-maker, old habits die hard. The following list has been compiled for those long dark afternoons when chaos rules your workspace with a flaccid rod and a nasty look in her eye.

First, the people. Many misleds confess that they write lists purely for the pleasure of ticking off a Task Completed. If this is what paints your fence, join the Girl Guides or some other form of government- sanctioned brainwash agency. Obviously, when a person fills their ’TO 00' box

making lists was a public service and promptly siphoned cash from programmes to fund an elaborate hierarchy of list- makers and instigators. Hundreds of animals could have been spared a Rolf mauling if someone hadn't written ’00 More Cute Pet Programmes That Are Cheap’ on a memo and circulated it. Everyone‘s so busy writing achievement inventories they’ve forgotten to have any ideas. If an alien landed on this planet, he would take us for a race of animal and danger fetishists trading in misery and soft furnishings.

Which, in a way, listers are. Listers aid and abet conspicuous consumption. The Oscar shortlist is released and the cinemas are rammed for weeks

There is nothing more daunting than facing a list longer than Mike Tyson's reach.

and enters a shoal of corresponding ticks, the air of smugness can be seen jostling for position next to the Great Wall of China when viewed from space. If you encounter any person in such a state, you are entirely free to remove their body hair with a rusty butter knife.

Next up: lists replace the need to actually achieve anything. For years parties have claimed that the writing of a list helps one to prioritise and gain perspective. Personally I would argue that there is nothing more daunting than facing a list longer than Mike Tyson's reach. The desire insurgent within you at the start of January to 'Disinfect Salad Crisper' will wilt on the vine of time as the reminder gets shunted from page to page until said crisper is radiating a noxious green light and smells not unlike the colostomy room in the Southern General. A massive sense of inadequacy will then ensue that no amount of frenzied scribbling will erase.

The listmakers do not operate alone either. They have infiltrated the highest echelons of our industries. John Birt managed to convince the nation that

either side of the ceremony. Guest lists cause serial club attendance. To Do lists, the very devil in a tutu themselves, inspire you to acquire. The one list I can't really see any point to at all is the shopping list. It seems pretty straightforward to me. You have no food left in your cupboard. Go out and buy more. The end. Seeing fallen men ticking their way around the ‘Fish Fresh or Frozen' section makes me want to take their trolley- mounted list-holder and find new ways of fitting a square peg into a round hole. Obviously, as is the nature of all lists, I could go on, but I shall limit myself to one final reason to scrunch up my notebook and file under BIN. Lists remove all elements of surprise from this turgid existence. If it ain't on the list, it's not coming into the carefully planned world. To paraphrase John Lennon and Nike in a pairing that would have him turning in his joss-sticked grave: life is what happens when you’re making a list so just do it.

Gill Mills co-presents Radio 1 ’5 Evening Session opt-out, Session In Scotland, every Thu, 8—10pm.

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