It is 1 January 2021 as I sit down to type this. I am sat at a new desk, beneath a new video lighting rig, in my new-look office/studio. On the desk in front of me is a brand new notebook. That notebook is currently empty. Like the year that stretches before us, that notebook is a blank canvas, waiting to be filled.
Starting each New Year with a new notebook is something of a ritual for me. In fact, I have been doing it for so long that I can no longer remember when or even why the habit started.
I lack the self-discipline required to keep a diary. And my life is not sufficiently interesting to justify a journal. So, instead, I use a notebook to jot down ideas that might eventually become articles, or podcasts, or video shows or even books. Some will evolve over the coming months; others will wither and die. I figure that if ideas are good enough, 12 months is enough time for them to reach maturity. After that, the slate is wiped clean, and the process begins again.
I like to start each new notebook with a word or a phrase that I believe will set a tone for the year ahead. I remember starting a new notebook in 2009 by scrawling JOBS at the top of the first page as the recession that hit the previous year was wreaking havoc within demolition employment circles.
There was another year in which I used a thick black marker to write the word REVENGE sideways in order to fill the entire first page of my new notebook. Looking back now, I can see that it looks like the work of a wannabe serial killer. But I do remember being especially productive that year.
So I am sat here thinking about what word or phrase I can write in my shiny new notebook for 2021. It was originally going to be COLLABORATION. That was very much my watchword for the second half of 2020 and I firmly believe it will be a key weapon in the industry’s armoury in the year ahead. But I am also mindful of just some of the things that await us in the coming year.
With the UK’s departure from the European Union now ratified, we now take our first uncertain steps upon the path of national independence and self-reliance. Who knows where that might lead?
There must surely now be an end in sight for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into alleged collusion within the UK demolition industry. The findings of that investigation have the potential to rewrite the very landscape of the industry. So while I enter the New Year filled with hope and ambition, I do so with a nagging sense of dread and trepidation.
That dread will also be tinged with sadness and growing frustration. In less than two months, the UK demolition industry will once again fall silent to honour the memory of the four men killed in the Didcot disaster back in February 2016.
And I am typing this from a home office within an area that has been designated as Tier 4, which means that I am currently under a kind of house arrest. COVID-19 overshadowed virtually everything in 2020. And until widespread vaccinations take effect, it will likely do so again in 2021.
If we have learned anything from the past year, it is the fact that forecasts are futile; that predictions and projections are pointless.
Despite all this, I enter 2021 with greater optimism and excitement than I have for many years. Regardless of your personal feelings on the wisdom of Brexit, the will they/won’t they is now over with. Now is the time to make our own luck.
The BCLive league table – the barometer of real construction industry performance – ended 2020 on an unprecedented high. The monthly average of new contract awards usually runs at around £4.0 billion. In December, it was more than three times that figure.
From a personal and business standpoint, 2020 marked a steep learning curve for us here at DemolitionNews. But we have taken those lessons on board and we begin 2021 with fresh ideas that build upon those hastily erected foundations. We will be working more closely with demolition companies, equipment manufacturers and service providers to help them spread their message more widely and more effectively. We will be harnessing the world’s largest demolition audience to shift perceptions about this industry and to help shape the sector for a technological future.
We are also going to take on a small number of hand-picked PR clients that we believe have the potential to be the sector leaders in the years ahead.
So, despite my concerns over the Brexit fallout; despite my fears for a continuation of the Coronavirus crisis; despite my trepidation over the findings of the CMA investigation; and despite my growing frustration and anger over the endless Didcot investigation, I start 2021 with a surprising degree of excitement and optimism.
In fact, having written this, I have just decided upon the first four words that will adorn the opening age of my new notebook: THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS.