The Force Awakens. January 2016.

Dear Rowley,

Happy New Year darling. I have an awfully good feeling about 2016 which means I’ll probably fall down a manhole before the day’s out or be crushed under the weight of a baby grand being winched out of a window. Call me a cock-eyed optimist but I always feel that a new year brings new beginnings. I also feel like raising a glass to my nearest and dearest to toast that we all actually made it through the last one.

I had such a lovely New Year’s Eve shopping in the West End before taking myself off to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the Odeon Leicester Square. For once the audience in the royal circle was terribly well-behaved. You could have heard a pin drop was it not for the ear-splitting audio. I remember my Uncle Brian taking me to see the first Star Wars and buying me a Death Star for Christmas.

I used to spend hours and hours playing withStar Wars figurines. They’d be worth a fortune today. Being an aspiring Busby Berkeley, I soon tired of sic-fi and worked wonders with a box of tissues and silver foil transforming Princess Leia into Marie Antoinette, Anne Boleyn or Marilyn Monroe. So department of no surprises when I finally did come out…

The Force Awakens is a rip-snorter of an action movie. It was such a smart move to bring Leia, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker back and casting genius to put newcomers Daisy Ridley and John Boyenga into the leading roles. Ridley is a terrific actress and, to my mind, wipes the floor with Jennifer Lawrence in the Hunger Games franchise. The counterpoint of strong young woman and troubled young man is the backbone of the picture.

Carrie Fisher brought depth to an older, wiser, battle-scarred Leia and Harrison Ford proves he can still keep-up with the kids though he’s old enough to be Daisy Ridley’s grandfather. I was trying to work out who Lupita Nyong’o played and only realised at the eleventh hour that she was voicing an animated character called Maz Kanata who was something of an oracle. Thoroughly enjoyed Adam Driver as the heir to Darth Vader and Domhnall Gleeson was rather sexy as the evil, fanatic General Hux who led the forces of the First Order.

The echo of Nazism in the First Order was well described and I have to say the CGI graphics and audacious locations in Ireland and Abu Dabi were spectacular. The cinematography owed a little to the Lord of the Rings films and were none the worse for it. I wasn’t entirely convinced by Andy Serkis voicing the giant hologram Supreme Leader Snoke. The Emperor in the original Star Wars trilogy was much more sinister.

The film truly belonged to Daisy Ridley. She is emotionally true for the entire film and is barely ‘off stage’. Her light sabre duel with Kylo Ren is one of the most thrilling action sequences filmed by an actress in her debut above-the-title role. Star Wars film actors rarely get nominated for Oscars but I think Ridley deserves acknowledgement for such a deft, subtle performance.

Did you know this is the thirtieth year of the London New Year’s Day Parade? No, me neither. Another surprise courtesy of Twitter was the news that Angus Cundey, chairman of Henry Poole & Co and Godfather of Savile Row, had been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List. His is one of the rare gongs that I consider to be worthwhile.

What a shower Prime Minister David Cameron has rewarded this year. I’m not surprised The Queen turns her back on investitures these days. Arise Dame Jacqueline Gold, owner of sex shop chain Ann Summers. Arise Dame Lyn Homer, the inept civil servant now in charge of our woeful Inland Revenue that punishes the decent tax payers and lets the fattest of cats stash billions off shore.

What amazes me about Mr Cameron is that he doesn’t even bother to hide his contempt for the people who voted him in. He celebrates the fellow pigs in the trough and seems to laugh at the dupes whose tax-payers money he and Mr Osborne squanders. You can’t make up ‘Baroness Bra’ Michele Mone who is laughably known as Mr Cameron’s business tsar in the House of Lords despite her own lingerie business going tits-up.

All you need to know about this government is right there in Barbados where Environment quango chief Sir Philip Dilley was sipping a Mai Tai in his lovely second home while half of England was flooded-out. If I were Sir Philip, I would have stayed on Barbados rather than making a ‘too little too late’ dash back to England to go paddling for a photo op in his Hunter wellies. The man earns six-figure sums for a three day week. And they wonder why we’re cross!

Still, one shouldn’t start the New Year with a rant. Truth to tell, there isn’t much point getting cross with things one cannot change. Life isn’t particularly fair, is it? But we must make the best of it, no? Do you have any New Year resolutions? I’d like to think I will be kinder and nicer to those who are kind and nice to me. I’d like to trot out the usual resolutions to drink less, smoke less and not to be such a tart but where’s the fun in that? No point changing horses at this late stage in the race…