Thursday, 17 December 2015

'Tis The Season to Get Plastered, Falalalalalalalala...

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love sent to me: one missing novelist, England's first actress, a really ancient fish, Van Gogh's ear, one flaming meteorite and a meeting of the Klu Klux Klan.

Well that's our festive season sorted, how's yours going? The curious items are actually from an article from History Extra about weird things that have happened during the Christmas period rather than my wish list but it does make you wonder why the KKK chose Christmas Eve to form and whether there's ever a strange frisson when their descendants don their Santa hats...

Reading it got me to thinking about Christmas traditions, the ones that are family-specific rather than the shared experiences of over-eating, pretending "it's not what you want, it's what you need" is an acceptable pre gift-giving line and being so cocktailed-up the plot of Love Actually starts to resemble Shakespeare. Like any family, we have assembled a few little rituals over the years: being a heathen group, December 23rd is celebrated as a Festivus for the rest of us; Christmas Eve dinner is paella which has been liberally flecked with edible glitter; the adult children turn into toddlers and anyone who hasn't eaten a selection box by 10.30am is, frankly, an amateur.

For most families, a lot of traditions revolve around tv: I bet there's still a lot of tuning in to the soaps to benchmark your own family's madness but the days when we all waited in anticipation for the Christmas blockbuster movie are probably long gone and any mention of the Queen's Speech in Heroine Chic Towers would get you sectioned. This year our Christmas special of choice will come courtesy of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia  so, in the seasonal spirit of sharing, here's a little taster - just be warned, it's wrong on every level...

Although the word itself first appears in the language in the 11th century and mince pies and holly are very medieval, much of what we associate with our modern Christmas stems from Victorian England, particularly the trappings of trees, tinsel and crackers, our image of Father Christmas and stuffing ourselves with turkey. Has ever a bird caused so much angst? Brine, don't brine, baste, don't baste, slavishly follow Kommandant Delia using your maths degree to keep up with the timings which you can't remember anymore because you've been up since 6am and are now basting the cat...Want my advice? Cover everything in a giant bath of Jamie's Get Ahead Gravy and even the pickiest guest (mother/mother-in-law delete as applicable) will start filling in your application to Masterchef.

Food, telly, presents - fabulous traditions all. The one I don't get? Pantomime. Desperate jokes, faded celebrities who should have been left in the jungle, double entendres that died unloved in the 1970s. Enough, people, enough! Glasgow is currently covered in terrifying posters advertising Peter Pan starring David Hasselhof with a face so stretched I swear it's gone beyond plastic into a whole new dimension and The Krankies. If you don't know who The Krankies are then you are truly blessed - all I can say is that they are a husband and wife team aged probably in their late 70s by now in which the wife plays a small schoolboy and the husband plays...God knows but I imagine Jimmy Saville liked them. Who in their right mind takes children to witness that?

However, 'tis Christmas so this Grinch is going to down a bottle of something festive (Honey Jack) and oo-er missus with the best of them. I give you a thoroughly miserable Cinderella...

Let's start with the Ugly Sisters. Now I'm a good feminist so this is all about being ugly on the inside, I'll leave any thoughts on appearance to you and your conscience. However you look at it, the hideousness that is Donald Trump has to be first choice although America doesn't quite seem to get how ludicrous his candidacy is...

And, to even things up, it's only fitting that his partner is our own political horror story, Nigel Farrage. 

Let's stick with the men for a minute and take a look at Buttons (oo-er moment, bit weak, doing my best). He's a bit tragic to be honest: not much in the looks department, in love with Cinderella but far too tongue-tied to tell her, ideas above his station and destined to live in the shadow of another man - let's stay with the political theme and cast the gone and utterly forgotten Ed Milliband. However, we're going to have to lose the politics for Prince Charming - I know I'm a writer but even my imagination has limits - so, for no reason at all except it's an excuse to include a totally gratuitous picture, I'm casting Richard Armitage, because I want to and it's my blog..

For our two women? My Fairy Godmother is Kate Moss, rising from the Thames in the new Ab Fab film dressed like a Christmas tree and smoking a fag. What an image, like Ursula Andress gone to the dark side. As for the magic - with a bit of her favourite powder sprinkled about, I bet she could have us all hallucinating pumpkin coaches and footmen frogs in a heartbeat.

So that leaves us with our heroine, little Cinderella, grubbing about in the ashes waiting for her prince. She needs a bit of backbone that one and a kick into the 21st century so there's only one girl who can play the part and that's Katniss Everdeen - I know if I'd seen this transformation scene as a little girl, those chirpy little mice would have been snapped into traps faster than you can say Mockingjay, the frogs would have been dissection material and the pumpkin best used for a bit of target practice. Romance, you can't beat it.

So there's my panto and here's a little bit more explanation for those of you too full of Christmas spirit to click on the Festivus link - time to polish your pole (I think I've got the hang of this entendre thing now) and have a happy holiday...


  1. I'm lying across my keyboard, crying. This is the best Festivus for the Restofus post ever.

  2. Tee hee - there will be much feating and feasting!! Have a great Christmas - you should even get a book by tomorrow if not tonight, yay.

  3. I thank you! Enjoy however you celebrate.

  4. Love this as much as I love Kate Moss. Which is a lot! Thank you.

  5. She is awesome indeed!Glad you enjoyed it, shall scoot to your blog.


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