One year. 100 articles. So we're having a Reader's Party. Come along to Upsidecrown.
21 December 2000
I left my advent calendar on the windowsill. The sun came out. Now a piece of chocolate that used to look like Santa is seeping from Homer Simpson's left eye.
Why, when you get down around Christmas, do people treat you like a leper, calling you Scrooge or Grinch? It's only once a year. Women get all moody once a month, and they're immediately forgiven. And theirs is all irrational. Misery at Christmas is easily justifiable.
Stupid, common people the country over decorate their gardens, houses and shopping centres with all the lights they can find, luminous reindeer, flashing signs. All this in blatant disregard of current advice on conserving energy and protecting the environment. And flying in the face of anything resembling good taste.
The rows of brightly-lit houses resemble a landing strip. I start thinking, Surely all it needs is a plane to be slightly off course, the pilot to be a bit confused, and we would have one of the all-time great crashes.
Every shopping trip, you might as well be being pursued by an over-excitable epileptic with sleigh bells around his neck. From mid-November, every shop gets a licence to play as much shit music as they want. There's no escape from the soundtrack, from the mood of self-deluding cheeriness that permeates the season. The best thing is to put on a Walkman and try to block it all out. I've got Stan and Kill All Hippies on continual loop: drunk driving, insanity, drugs and death. About as festive as you can get.
In Next, two middle-aged women start singing along to Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree. And dancing. I glower at them. They stop laughing and mutter inaudibly while I look on. Then Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire comes on and I have to leave.
All over the country, fat men don their white beards and red suits and get paid to have children sit on their laps and beg them for puppies. It's like Christmas came early for the paedophiles.
[Although this does occasionally lead to the comic vision of Santa being led away in handcuffs. Cue hoards of children, uncomprehending and inconsolable, weeping at the grotto. I saw Mummy kissing Santa Claus? This one wins hands down...]
As I make my purchase, the assistant looks like she is about to wish me a happy christmas. She thinks better of it. A single bottle of Economy Bleach doesn't mark me out as the festive type.
Carol singers. Not the half-hearted ones who give you half a verse of Silent Night, ask you for fifty pee and then fuck off, I'm talking about the really genuine ones who sing with their eyes closed, and will happily stand their for hours in the freezing cold without so much as the offer of a mince pie, safe in the knowledge that their true reward is yet to come. That shit scares me. At least Jehovah's Witnesses don't inflict tunelessness and tambourines on you. Give me the bastard Watchtower any day of the week.
And when the day itself finally comes around, when you've unwrapped a score of presents you don't want, eaten a turkey you don't like and haven't even had the chance to get properly pissed (because it's Christmas), when all you want to do is sit in front of the telly and forget about the whole fucking day, you're not even allowed to turn on the Bond film, because it's time to play some stupid game 'for the children'. Or even worse, go for a walk through the frost. Just because it's Christmas. 'It's what we do every year'....
But hey, it is Christmas, and we all enjoy it really, and it might snow this year, and they're showing Bond films for three days after Christmas too, and you see all the family and the kids love it. Cheer up, you grumpy old fucker. That's better.
when i get home i drink the draught down and as a burning sensation fills my stomach and my head starts to go numb i lie down with my arms outstretched and then i think no you idiot thats easter...