Well not quite, but close enough. The reason for this slightly premature post is that I’m still recycling from the old blog, and the dates don’t quite match. I didn’t want to upset my many thousands of regular readers (hem, hem) by posting on the wrong day, and the actual date isn’t that important anyway, so just close your eyes and imagine yourself forward into Sunday…
Well pinch punch, first of the month, no returns and all that…
And is anyone feeling in any way Christmassy at all? No, me neither.
I’ve made a few early purchases and got a couple of presents for the couple of people I have ideas for presents for, but there’s no joy in it like there used to be. That old adage about Christmas being for kids is clearly a cliché, given that it tends to be us, the adults, who get tanked up to the eyeballs, do inappropriate things at office parties, insist on wearing paper hats at the dinner table, and set fire to the tablecloth while trying to ignite bollocking great balls of rum soaked sultanas and suet, but somewhere underlying all of that there’s an undeniable truth, as there is with most clichés, and now that my lovely son is a strapping six-foot-three-inch Kevin Christmas really isn’t ‘all that’ any more.
I’ve some video footage of him as a feckin’ garjuss four-year-old ripping into a mountain of presents one by one, ooohing and cooing as he piles his swag up on the sofa and almost falling into the bin liner as he stuffs it with the discarded wrapping paper, and it is lovely. But videos aren’t the same thing as ‘live action’, and I won’t get the chance to watch ‘em anyway as he’ll want the telly for killing zombies and catching up on all the dvd extras from Family Guy season 12 as I pootle about in the kitchen rustling up his cooked breakfast while simultaneously cramming sausage meat and celeriac stuffing up the turkey’s jaxx. Hmmm… Where’s that bottle of cooking sherry got to…
Now the cry of ‘Christmas just isn’t Christmas anymore’ is one that’s as old as the season itself, I know (I imagine that in the year ‘0002’ Mary complained that the star wasn’t as bright as the previous year’s and that Myrrh and Frankincense were getting a bit old and could we have some nice socks or even some more gold instead), and I’m kind of ashamed of myself for uttering it, but that doesn’t alter the unalterable fact that for most parents with grown up or nearly grown up kids it just isn’t. And it’s not because there’s no more Morecambe and Wise Christmas special to look forward to (they’ll probably have them back to back on Dave or something, along with all the Only Fools and Horses specials, the Two Ronnies (four candles?) and Are You Being bloody-well-whoops-my-pussy-has-just-run-up-the-curtains Serveds) or because they shit-canned TOTP’s, it’s because Christmas, as far as parents who are too old to go out on the lash but too young to qualify for the free turkey dinner at the village hall goes, is redundant.
Of course, there are some who believe in God and Christianity and all that, and whose idea of Christmas fun might involve kneeling in a draughty church giving praise to the creator of all things or dancing in the aisles and singing happy-clappy songs to the same effect. And that’s lovely, and I’m really pleased for them, but it’s not what I believe. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’ve definitely ruled God out in favour of the (IMO) equally implausible idea that in one billionth of a second there was nothing and then in the next billionth of a second nothing exploded and created everything (never really understood, in fact, why those two theories of creation seem for many to be mutually exclusive), but TBH I really do like to think that if there IS a God who’s anything like the Christian idea of one (i.e. a honking great celestial version of ourselves) then after several million years he’s likely to be a bit more evolved than to actually give a monkeys for rubbish like worship and prayers, and that he’d actually have some higher expectations of us, his ‘children’, too. I like to think that he’d have more of a ‘go on, life’s too short, go out and enjoy yourselves’ sort of outlook, and that the only thing he’d really ask of us would be to treat all of his other children in the same way we’d like to be treated ourselves. Let’s face it, it’s all the other bollocks people have made up trying to second guess what he/she/it wants or expects of us that seems to cause all the trouble, isn’t it? If I was God, I’d be really pissed off about that.
Anyhoo… I’ve kind of wandered from the point a bit. What I was really trying to say is that it’s the first of December, and much as I’d like to be thinking with some degree of enthusiasm about getting the decorations down from the loft I’m really not. It just seems a bit of a pointless chore, and one that will just result in another pointless chore a couple of days after being disappointed once again by Jools’s Annual Hootenanny.
At some point, I know, I will perk up again, because I really really do love the idea of Christmas: that whole concept of giving things that make other people happy – be it presents, food, perfume or even a cheeky kiss under the mistletoe – and spending time doing things we don’t do at other times of the year like sitting around a table with our extended families reading crappy jokes from bits of paper, getting out the Trivial Pursuit or the Monopoly, playing musical chairs every time someone finally can’t hold out any longer and has to go for a wee, and simply trying to be nice to each other. I love heartburn after dinner, and feeling a bit pissed all day long but never quite so pissed that I don’t know what I’m doing, and I love drinking a Baileys for ‘Mum’ (even though I hate Baileys) and talking about the Christmases I had as a kid that were filled with Beano Annuals, Paxo stuffing, Birds trifle, homemade sossidge rolls, and mince pies, Airfix kits, wind up robots, winding up my brothers, and even the memories of my dad (the old bastard!) playing Jazz piano while the slim panatela standing next to his Gin and It on the piano top sent trails of smoke up through the paper chains and balloons to stain the polystyrene tiles of our living room ceiling…
Bloody Christmas… I LOVE it, don’t you? Think I’m gonna get the deckies down at the weekend and Ben can help me put ‘em up again. Must remember to buy a miniature Baileys, too, and maybe a bottle of ‘It’ even, ‘cos if you can’t forgive and forget at Christmas when can you? Bugger… I’ve got smoke in my eyes now… …
IN OTHER NEWS: Returning from my son’s morning golf lesson I decanted homemade soup (leek & celeriac with just a hint of grated horseradish for anyone interested) into two bowls and sliced some bread.
‘Father,’ Ben said, as I placed his bowl in front of him, ‘Is soup a food, or a drink?’
We pondered that question for a while together, questioning the nature of other sloppy foods from casseroles and stews to watery mashed potatoes and runny poached eggs, eventually concluding that soup is ‘food’, because it is eaten with cutlery – to wit, a spoon – from a bowl.
‘But what of cuppa-soup?’ he then enquired, ‘we sip that from a cup.’
‘Then cuppa-soup must be a drink,’ I replied.
He fell silent, seemingly troubled.
‘What is the matter, my child,’ I asked, to which he replied:
‘Should we judge the content, then father, from the appearance of the vessel? Should we divine the nature of what is within solely from that which can be perceived from without?’
At this I hit him on the head with a spoon, threw his soup down the sink and gave him a sandwich… Nobody loves a smartarse, ennit?