Sunday, 18 December 2011


There is only one good reason for committing suicide -other than severe physical and/or mental distress -and that is so you never get to hear Slade's Merry Christmas Everybody ever again.

There is a very good case to be made that it's the most hideous Christmas song ever. Considering that is a very large field it's quite an achievement. As far as I'm concerned there is no such thing as a good Christmas song. Bear in mind that there is a considerable difference between a song which mentions Christmas and a song about Christmas. This definition automatically excludes A Fairy Tale of New York (Kirsty McColl/The Pogues), Feed the World (Band Aid) though after over a quarter of a century that too is becoming remarkably tedious and twee, and The River (Joni Mitchell, not Bruce).

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on 
I'm so hard to handle
I'm selfish and I'm sad
Now I've gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had

I wish I had a river I could skate away on

Extract copyright Joni Mitchell.

The melancholy lyric expresses to a degree how I feel about Christmas. It's partly the fact that I don't have kids and my niece and nephew are now all grown up. Yes, Christmas is about kids. Stuff any religious aspect; that's meaningless to most people never mind an atheist like me.

during the week preceding the shops are packed, especially stores like Asda which (and excuse me) -for Christ's sake- is only shut for one frigging day but people will be buying enough stuff for a week resulting in an enormous waste of food. Why don't people reduce the unnecessary food bill and make a donation to Oxfam instead?

And then there's all the shit Christmas specials on TV -previews rammed down your throat with all the fake jollity- which I found so much fun when I was a lot younger but seem to be now, well, a load of shit. I exclude Dr Who from this (but only provisionally as I haven't seen it yet).

At least there aren't the number of carol singers that there used to be. When I was a kid, even I went round carol singing with friends/kids from school.

And on every TV show which includes singing are yet more hideous Christmas songs. And on the radio, especially the local radio which gets played at my sports centre where I go swimming most mornings and every day last week while I was there they played fucking Slade's fucking Merry fucking Christmas Everybody which just fucking might have something to do with this piece.

Is there nothing I enjoy about Christmas then? Actually, yes. With one certain caveat which I won't go into here, I enjoy the turkey Christmas dinner with the family, particularly if I've cooked it. I cook it rather than Susan, not because she's a bad cook -in her own way she's probably as capable as me- but I can do one thing she can't: I can get everything ready at the same time. I don't even time everything, I just estimate but I'm very good at estimating. It's our turn this year and we have 8 adults in attendance and, as long as Susan stays out of the kitchen, it'll be fine, especially as for the half hour before it's all ready I'll be starting in on the drink.

But that's the only thing about Christmas that I like. Pity I can't pass the rest of it by. And doesn't that card at the top with its western Europeans make you want to vomit? Never mind, the paperback cover below will make you smile.

Oh, and then there's this-

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on.

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