Twenty-two shopping days till Christmas. Everywhere I’ve been lately you can’t escape someone bemoaning how quickly it comes around and how it seems to get faster every year. I was thinking about this: does it come quicker or is it just that we have more and more to do and not enough time to fit it all in? I think the latter: even if you only make one new friend every year, it still accumulates into more parties, drinks, cards and presents than there are days in December. No wonder everyone is knackered in January. Christmas, like everything, is a double-edged sword. For every great thing in the festive season, there’s something guaranteed to rile you, or more specifically, me.
- Perfume ads. Deck your romantic existentialism with boughs of holly and shove it up your ass. If life were really all beaches and soft focus we’d all be short-sighted and living in Tahiti. Buying aftershave will not make you beautiful/successful/sporty/thin. It will make you poor.
- Slow moving shoppers. I am 6’3″. I have a very wide stride. As a child my mother never made concessions for our being short and forced us to keep up with her. I am a very fast walker. At Christmas, all the dawdlers and gawkers hit the streets and get in my way. I spend my lunch hours looking cross, tutting and sighing as people cut me up on the pavement. I am also a master at the filthy look when some old codger smacks me with their shopping because they realised they just passed Laura Ashley without popping in. This one especially annoys me because, being so tall, my groin is about elbow height for most elderly ladies. A few years ago there was a fabulous suggestion to put pedestrian speed lanes on Oxford Street. When I am Prime Minister, these will be everywhere and law-breakers will be shot in the knees.
- Clubbing at Christmas. There are some great Christmas tunes out there – Slade, Wizzard, Mariah Carey – and as the Big Day approaches you would think that the dancefloors might capitulate under the strain of festive revellers and play some of the classics towards the end of the night, but no: whilst every other whippoorwill is forcing Christmas cheer down your throats with shocking immodesty, the dancefloors seem determined to resist its very existence. The temerity to ask for a Christmas tune earns scornful and shocked looks from DJs up and down the land. What is so wrong with a spot of ‘Step Into Christmas’ in the season? I want festive cheese!
- Christmas countdowns. Channel 4 are the worst for this. The merest hint of festivity and normal scheduling goes out of the window in favour of Jimmy Carr presenting a four-hour marathon on ‘The Top 100 Greatest Sheds”. No wonder everyone is so busy at Christmas: they’re all out on the streets pissing me off because they’re trying to avoid another mind-numbing instalment of “The World’s Greatest Vegetable Recipes”.
- The weather. Where is the snow, eh?
I know these are all minor things, but the next time you are turning around in Waterstone’s and bash someone with your shopping, consider this: one man’s accidental knock is another man’s bollock-bashing biddy. Now, if you will excuse me, ‘Cranford’ is on, and it’s just not Christmas without a BBC period drama at the start of winter.