The NHS is in crisis, the country is divided as never before, the gap between the super rich and the just getting by is ever widening, climate change seems depressingly inevitable and the election of Donald Trump as President of the USA seems to signal in an era of intolerance, ignorance and self interest. In these gloomy times what cultural gems can cheer us up? What songs lift are mood, which comedies make us laugh out loud, mine may not be the same as yours, they almost certainly won't but you can have fun replacing my choices with your own. And a bit of fun is what makes the gloom bearable.
Some gospel is good for the soul and Oh Happy Days by the Edwin Hawkins Singers gets me singing along with its infectious feel good vibes. Singing along seems to be key to feeling good. Two songs or parts of them play in my head when I am happy, Sunshine Superman by Donavan and Bend me Shape me by Amen corner.
Peter Kay always makes me laugh, well nearly always I never got into Phoenix Nights. Modern Family wins all the comedy awards reflecting how diverse today's families are although for a feel good factor I rate The Middle about a blue collar American family who struggle to make ends meet.
But my secret pleasure, the comedy that makes me laugh out loud despite the fact that I think I should hate its pantomime slapstick comedy is Mrs Browns Boys.
Sunshine came softly through my window today
Could have tripped out easy but I decided to stay.
If you make your mind up your going to be mine.
I'll tell you right now
Any trick in the book
And I'll slowly blow your little mind.
(Turns out the lyrics in my head are a bit patchy)