Produce of my imagination?
Christmas approaches, doesn’t it? The “approaches” word is important, because it’s still mid-to-late November, but you know, it’s the old chestnut, isn’t it? You probably haven’t noticed, because it’s far from obvious or anything, but the feverish merry-go-round, where corporations encourage us to stockpile boiled hams, arrange them on a half-price settee, and so on, “gets earlier every year”.
This infuriates a significant number of people. Of course it does. Well, isn’t it infuriating? Certainly, it’s one of the most shimmering evils in the history of civilisation, and anyone who says that it isn’t, anyone who dares to say that in fact something else is, is patently a screaming liar whose mummy shall be informed.
I don’t have an opinion. Things are always much easier when you don’t have an opinion, so I don’t have one. I think that maybe people whose noses turn to cauliflower over this stuff are overreacting, but that isn’t close enough to being an opinion to be interesting. The garish, jangling commercialism does rankle a lot, but, at least for me, it’s avoidable. I also ought to admit that once upon a time, upon seeing a Waitrose promotion on the television, I was moved to wipe droplets of moist emotion from my eyes. I am weak.
Great, but my point is this: given that people get flustered when the fairy lights are turned on in October, and short films showing Father Christmas drinking carbonated drinks are televised in early November, isn’t it fundamentally wrong that we compare positive events to Christmas coming early? (For example: “Oh, look, a complementary recipe booklet tucked inside the newspaper – it’s like Christmas has come early.”) The meaning is understood, but shouldn’t we give some thought to the kind of message that we’re sending to future generations by continuing to compare good things to something that, actually, a lot of people are furious about?
This would be an excellent point if people really made much use of the phrase. The thing is, they don’t really do, do they? It is correct that we might compare bad events to Christmas being cancelled. (For example: “Snape looked as though Christmas had been cancelled.”) The other analogy is less common, though, probably. Oh, bums. We can carry on as we are.
Actually, I consult Google. There are 15,400 results for “Christmas had been cancelled”, and 811,000 results for “Christmas has come early”. Even when I try various variations, introducing fancy mathematical operators, the trend suggested by the statistics doesn’t change. I was wrong to dismiss my point. It’s nice that my point was not in fact wrong, but a pungent smell of wrongness does still linger.
It is yesterday, and we go to listen to some musical sounds, that produced using a piano and a man’s voice. Classical music, mostly German. There is a sugary loaf-shaped cake, filled with dried fruit. Also, there is cheap mulled wine. The wine is poured onto the stove out of glass bottles, whose labels are covered in black-letter script, which is sinister. (You could say that ruining the reputation of black-letter writing was the main nasty thing that the Nazis did.)
I am the youngest person, the only one wearing a T-shirt. “How are the cats?” asks a lady, but I do not know any cats. Later, or perhaps earlier, a man mentions a band, and I say that I have never heard of them. I cannot be sure of the name of the band that he mentioned, but later – earlier would be impossible – I am in a bicycle shed and realise that I may have indeed heard of the musician, and in fact have listened to an album. (If I am correct, the “band” is in fact a musician, which is an important distinction. The man did nothing to make the distinction.)
The story is all true, but “irrelevant” is another thing that a bit of it is. If I tell you that there were mince pies – and I ought to, because mince pies were indeed there – the relevance does increase slightly.
Next time: Easter.