The Trouble with Christmas

It has rained consistently since we got back from America.

I had to spend two whole days in Broadmead, which is the part of Bristol where all the products gang up on you.

Because of these things, and because I have just got back from a series of daring and sexy adventures in the GREATEST COUNTRY ON EARTH, I have not been feeling very good, geographically speaking.

This is my country. We are very lucky in many ways. However, I don’t want to talk about them at the moment, I want to moan.

Heathrow is determined to be ugly, and everyone there is determined to avoid your eyes. When you do catch someone’s eye they flash you a look as if to say “Oh great, thanks a bunch. Now I’ve got SARS.”

Americans may be unusually attached to murder, but at least they bloody smile once in a while.

Have you noticed that sadness is a real problem here? You think to yourself “I need to go into town, but when I get there I might feel really sad.” It is a thing you need to factor in to your decision making process, like the secret police would be if we lived under an authoritarian regime.

Why is it so sad in town? I love Christmas. I really do. The bite of the cold, flashes of colour in every house you pass, a wisp of smoke from a chimney, the smell of pine needles, the taste of mince pies. It really gets me going.

But going into Broadmead at this time of year is like watching an elf be ripped apart by dogs.

Now, I’m not getting on the old ‘Christmas is too commercial, we’ve lost the true meaning’ of Christmas’ bandwagon, because lets face it, not even Christians want Christianity to run Christmas again. What I will point out though is that town is bloody ugly. It is a horror show and it stresses people out, really it does.

Look at festivals all round the world. What is good, enriching, memorable about those festivals is that people join in to make and do things together, whether it is to prepare a giant feast, have a paint fight, or sacrifice some goats.

Festivals are not meant to be spectacles that you passively consume, and even if they were, they should at the very least be enjoyable.

We’ve let Christmas be ripped away from us by powerful interests. They turn immense profits and all we see from it is weeks of stress, crowds of morose zombies in the centre of every town, and a building sensation of sinister nausea – as if we’ve gone to visit grand-dad and found that the nurses at the home have dressed him up like Christina Aguilera and are insisting that he likes it.

Anyway, that was a rant. Just to contradict myself quickly, I do actually remember enjoying Broadmead one year, and that was because a friend, who will remain nameless for the MOment, was working on a sweet treats stall at that hideous German market.

When you went past him, he didn’t just give you a free chocolate, he let you ‘mind’ his stall while he went out for a cigarette. You would stand their, ignoring a queue of customers and stuffing as many biscuits in your face as you possibly could before he came back.

Perhaps it wasn’t the rustic ‘For us by us’ Christmas I am arguing for here, but it was still amazing.

A merry Christmas to everyone.

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