Did you hear the Christmas music on the radio today? No, me neither. That’s because there wasn’t any. It’s finished. All done and dusted. This is an ex Christmas. Hallelujah!
Now we can get on with our lives again without having to worry if just six big boxes of Quality Street will be sufficient to constipate us until Easter, if anyone in a street on the outer limits of our town was missed in our blanket Christmas carding operation, and if we’ll have time to watch the blockbuster film Harry Potter and the Paedophile Ring on telly in the afternoon on Christmas Day or will we still be trying to find homes for the bushels of leftover turkey, Brussels sprouts, pigs in Ikea duvets, soggy crispy roast potatoes and Paxo cookies and cream flavour stuffing.
With 358 days to go we can almost relax about meeting the strict deadlines for next Christmas. Though I expect there are some people who are already in a blind panic about it, especially when you consider that all the shops are closed on Easter Sunday so really we’ve only got 357 shopping days to go.
I love January, partly because it’s a time when our resurgence from the dark days of mid-winter starts to show up a bit in the evening skies and on the branches of trees, but mostly because all the crappy, tacky Christmas crappy crap is out of the way. We no longer have to listen to the moronic muse of Wizzard and Paul McCartney in every shop we enter. I’m sure I heard a chorus of Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time wafting out of our local funeral directors’ premises as I walked by the other day. We no longer have to drive down streets where every house is lit up with neon inane grinning elves and Santas to a degree that would make Las Vegas look a bit dim. We no longer have to listen to people banging on about how ‘Christmas isn’t as good as it used to be’ and that it’s become too commercialised as they frantically flick through the Argos catalogue to see if there is any item of stock that they haven’t yet bought to stick under their plastic, fibre optic illuminated tree.
I wonder what the people who live in Las Vegas do to decorate their house fronts at Christmas. Are there negative numbers on the festive tat scale?
This may shock you but once the shops had shut at the end of months of consumerism hell and I was in my wilderness retreat with my lovely family, I really enjoyed Christmas. It was nice to see my grown up kids still get excited about opening presents and tucking into a tasty festive feast and playing games and saying ‘thank you’ and genuinely meaning it. It was nice not having to think about anything other than dishing up food and drink. It really was wonderful to see everybody there enjoying themselves. And I particularly enjoyed the gallons of alcohol that gushed down my gullet.
Last night in the Three Swans pub in Frome, with my mate Angela, I had a pint of Guinness. I have thoroughly enjoyed the vast array of drinks I have sampled, indulged in or even overindulged in over the course of the last week but that pint of Guinness at 10:19 pm on the last day of the stuffing yourself stupid season was particularly good. It was cool and refreshing. It was a simple, back to normal sort of a drink and it made me think of summer. It marked a significant point in the year, not just in chronological terms but in the way the people in the greedy western world behave. It’s hard to explain but there was something remarkably exquisite and meaningful about it, and the next one. In fact there were several pints of Guinness last night but only because I am a native of the greedy western world.
The landlady gave us each a free glass of celebratory Prosecco which was bloody vile so I immediately decided that my resolution for 2015 would be to drink Guinness all the time, thus alleviating the risk of having future glasses of fizzy shit forced upon me. Giving up Prosecco for a year shouldn’t be all that difficult so I’m quite pleased with myself and my cast iron willpower. In fact that’s my resolution for 2016 and 2017 as well.
The black liquidation with the foam on the top.
How could I ever give up Guinness?
At midnight the CD player behind the bar finally gave up on Wham’s Last Christmas (oh how I wish it was) and we were subjected to five minutes of Andy Stewart and Abba (not at the same time, though it might do them both some good if only it was possible) but I could cope with five minutes. New Year songs go on for five minutes whereas Christmas songs go on for three months or more.
The people who say ‘Bah humbug’ to me, often with an element of aggression in their voices, when I suggest that I am not 200% enthusiastic about celebrating the anniversary of the alleged birth of the infant Jesus also go on for three months. But now it’s my turn. I love January but far too many people around me moan and groan about it far more than I ever complain about December. So I say ‘Bah humbug’ now to everybody who can’t appreciate that our northern half of this planet is about to be brightened up by real life natural sunlight rather than by Wilkinson’s cheap and nasty Christmas lights.
People saying ‘Happy Christmas’ never seems all that sincere to me. People saying ‘Bah humbug’ does sound sincere but not in a nice way. The words ‘Happy New Year’ always strike me as being more meaningful. There are a lot of people around who, like me, aren’t all that keen on Christmas and only wish you a happy one because it’s the done thing whilst deep inside they can’t wait for it to be finished. With a New Year, however, no matter what their circumstances, almost everybody wishes for a happy one, even if only for their selves.
For me, the only sad thing about New Year is that people forget to play George Harrison’s New Year song from 1974. I know Ding Dong Ding Dong is a bit of a rubbish title for a record but it’s a really happy sing along sort of a tune and the video he made to go with it (in the days when not many people made pop videos) is a happy sing along job too. Seeing George smile has always made me smile. Forty years ago last night, me and my mates sang this at the top of our voices at midnight at a party in Leeds but never again since. Such a shame!
Yesterday, today was tomorrow and
tomorrow, today will be yesterday.