The Festive Spirit

One Sunday every month, in a small English town somewhere south of Manchester, market stalls spring up along the pedestrianised streets to attract fat-walleted locals from the surrounding area.

On this particular Sunday, in late November, the streets were more crowded than usual. With the orgy of consumerism known as Christmas on the horizon, many bargain-hunters were in town looking for unusual knicknacks, hand-crafted cards or jewelery, or interesting local produce to gift to friends and relatives who would rather just have the money.

Overhead hung sad monochromatic arcs of twinkling lights. A band played instrumental carols outside the town hall, overlooked by a sparsely-decorated tree and dull carven nativity scene. The warm scents of hog roasts, burgers and mulled-wine only served to accentuate the chill in the air.

It was into this hell that Miss-Matic dragged me, hungover and not in the mood. I tried everything I could think of to get out of it:

‘Can’t I just stay at home and read graphic novels instead? I asked.

‘How about I just go to the library and read their graphic novels?’ I suggested.

‘Can’t I just go to a bookshop and pretend to be browsing, but actually be reading the graphic novels?’ I proposed.

But Miss-Matic shot down all my requests with a steely look that said, ‘YOU WILL ACCOMPANY ME AND YOU WILL PRETEND TO ENJOY IT, OR I WILL MAKE YOU FUCKING PAY.’ 

So accompany her I did. Instead of moaning and rolling my eyes, looking impatient and trying to tug her away from the perilous event-horizons of clothes shops, I concentrated on making everyone else as miserable as I was. I used all my willpower to suck the festivity out of the air.

So if you and your significant-other were in that town on Sunday, looking at crappy pop-art pictures and wondering if your friend-couple who like crappy pop-art pictures would like another crappy pop-art picture for their crappy pop-art picture-covered walls, and you suddenly asked yourself what the fuck you were doing with your life – it may be that I walked past at that moment.

If you were standing in line for a delicious-smelling burger made from good ol’ British beef, your mouth watering at the smell of fried onions, humming along with the band’s carols, and you suddenly entertained thoughts of punching all the band members in the face until they got the idea that maybe the world would like some new fucking carols instead of the same old shit year after year after fucking year – it may be that Miss-Matic and I were also queuing for a burger.

And if you were with your family, watching your delightful children running alternately between the local cheese, local chutney, and local pie stalls, sipping local mulled wine and thinking happy thoughts about happy things, when suddenly a dark cloud swept across your twee imaginings and you began to hope the big Christmas tree would spontaneously combust and fall on the stalls and start a blaze so uncontrollably big the moon would glow ruddy for weeks and everyone would cancel Christmas and just fuck off for a while – it may be that I had to step out of the way of your kids because the little shits weren’t looking where they were running.

So if your Sunday was ruined by unexpectedly dark thoughts, just know this:

It was Miss-Matic’s fault.

 

14 thoughts on “The Festive Spirit”

  1. That’s a little evil. I’m glad I wasn’t there. Though, I fear, I may be causing the same destruction as you did since the restaurant where I work is already playing Christmas music. It’s not even the classic Christmas music. It sounds like robots having seizures.

  2. Ah, your thoughts are contagious!

    I’m suffering from shell shock. No, the memeries of working in a punky teen clothing store. On Black Friday. The children. Oh God, why the children! The blaring funky fresh Christmas tunes from whiny “new age” music. The humanity… or should I say the lack there of!

  3. I pretty much go into a white hot rage every time I hear Christmas music. I once had carols stuck in my head for three years, a constantly running soundtrack. These songs don’t make me filled with holiday cheer, only homicide.

    I avoid all stores this time of year. I will survive on condiments if I have to.

  4. As much as I can get swept up a bit by it, I can also find it very annoying, and I hate the Christmas crowds and what not myself. If I felt a sudden wave of darkness I’d wonder who was more bitter than me about the whole thing. Then try to outdo them. Together we would bring down everyone in a 50 mile radius.

  5. I totally make Manfriend go ice skating every time at this year, sing carols and bake cookies. After all, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

  6. Urgh, I had this exact same experience on Sunday, only in rural Derbyshire rather than Manchester.

    It was utterly awful. Especially when Mrs Addman kept holding up little knick knacks and trinkets and asking “Do you think your mum would like this?”

    “I don’t know”

    “Well you need to get her something for Christmas”

    “I’ll get her a book. She likes books”

    “But you always get her a book”

    “BECAUSE SHE LIKES THEM!”

    Then people started tutting at me for shouting and overturning the hot chocolate stand in a fit of blind fury. Who is the real monster here? Not I…

  7. “But Miss-Matic shot down all my requests with a steely look that said, ‘YOU WILL ACCOMPANY ME AND YOU WILL PRETEND TO ENJOY IT, OR I WILL MAKE YOU FUCKING PAY.'”

    And yet the irony is that if we ask our ladies to come check out graphic novels with us, they say ‘why would I want to do that? That’s your nerdy hobby. Go do it yourself.’ Or at least mine is like that. 🙁

  8. Bah humbug to you as well, you Scrooge! If you ever visit a small French city in the Loire Valley that is surrounded by horses and sparsely-decorated streets, then we may just bump into each other queuing for vin chaud and chichis. 🙂

    -Barb

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