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Happy 15th birthday, Ovi Happy 15th birthday, Ovi
by Asa Butcher
2019-12-20 10:02:00
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As I sit here in Finland with the winter darkness relentlessly staring in through the kitchen window, I can't help mull over the events of the past year. I am torn emotionally between the helpless despair of my country's politics and the never-ending madness of Brexit to the positive personal achievements I have accomplished since turning forty last December.

15th01_400I haven't yet managed to be comfortable writing 'forty', but it pales in comparison to the feeling of seeing Ovi celebrate yet another milestone. Fifteen and no sign of stopping… this makes me feel physically old in the same way as discussing the issue of strangers sending dick pics on Snapchat with my eldest daughter—it still beats frustrating cyclical Brexit conversations with strangers.

Sadly, there's no manual for either of those sickening issues, but I muddle my way through and emerge the other side with a stronger relationship with my daughter and sometimes a new enemy. For all the negatives connected with the UK leaving the EU, it has fired a Boris Johnson-shaped rocket up my arse and motivated me to target Finnish citizenship.

Having lived outside England for over 15 years I can no longer vote in the UK and the disgust at being disenfranchised was quite an unexpected shock. As always, you don't know what you had until it is gone, and this could be an adage increasingly familiar to Brits who haven't migrated yet.

The recent election warned of many imminent dangers, including an NHS sell-off, worker rights being weakened, further decreases in support for the poverty-stricken and all driven forward by a government who revels in lying. It's heartbreaking to watch from afar.

Treating the unfolding drama as a poorly written soap opera has helped me survive and reduce the feelings of impotent anger. Reading the contributions to Ovi over the past year have also been a great reminder that we are all feeling the same and it is cheering to see the fury fueling such creativity… sadly it's not a sustainable emotional model.

As Ovi enters its 16th year, I hope to see more of the same righteous rage channeled into articles, essays, poetry, cartoons and illustrations being published right here by the inimitable Thanos. It is thanks to him that this wonderful publication is lovingly maintained daily. Thank you, Mr K!

On that note, I am off to raise a glass to Ovi and forget about the darkness, both literal and metaphorical, that lurks outside the kitchen window.

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