Saturday, December 25, 2004


I am not really here, in any sense of the word.

When we get together at with family at Christmas, we attempt to be nice, jolly people and to rub along happily - this frankly goes against the grain for a lot of us. I can remember that my mother, who was normally quite a hot tempered person, would be completely exhausted by about mid afternoon on Christmas Day from trying her utmost to be sweet natured and easy going.

Today is the day when people from Christian countries realise that they are part of a really dysfunctional family, which isn't that much to worry about - everyone else's dysfunctional family makes up the huge dysfunctional family to which we all belong. Christmas Day gatherings, weddings, funerals - the only time when we behave in a vaguely Christian way. We'd rather be somewhere else, doing something we enjoy with people we actually like, but, because of a sense of duty, we attend these functions. It's the nearest most of us get to selflesseness in this day and age.

I am going outside now. I may be some time.

Friday, December 24, 2004



Another swig of cloying Malibu from the bottle: the only thing I could get my hands on in the house and besides, I'm reluctant to pay Christmas Eve party prices.

My frock was in the Miss Selfridge sale and I severely have my doubts. Now spend 5 minutes frantically removing those fucking big shoulder pads which they seem to put into all tops, jackets etc., so that you look as if you are about to play ice hockey rather than go for a night on the town. More gelspray, more hairspray, douse myself in heavy '80's perfume (Poison rip-off from Brownhills market, £2.19). Room now needs to be sealed off by police - breathing in means you risk annihilation.

Getting off bus, I'm already pissed which is a good thing as I am oblivious to the crowds who are uptown, back home, not used to much drink and ready to glass someone even if it is quite early yet.

Stand in club queue in subzero temperatures for about 3 days or something. Entrance price about 500 per cent increase on normal charges. It takes several more days to get some watered down Corona pop from the bar (charge - £6.50 per drink).

Can't remember much else. Music included Luther Vandross and a Black Lace medley. Was chatted up by a dogbreathed Karl Malden lookalike. Managed to find way onto nightbus by some miracle - must have inner resources I just don't understand. Bus full of psychotic men in early to late middle age trying to murder each other, as usual.

Being as old as the hills has lots of good points. For one, it means that I will never have to go through anything like the above ever again.

I am quite possibly about to burst with smugness now.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Oh dear, most of them appear to be dead, or pretty near to meeting their maker. Could cause problems, but ...

Peter Ustinov
Omar Sharif - "Fancy a game of bridge?"
Mae West
Nicky Wire - the most curmudgeonly man in rock music: "Glastonbury - they should build a fucking flyover across this crap". Jolly well put, sir.
Peter Cook
Jordan - has a really unladylike potty mouth. Always a good trait in a woman.
Keith Richards
Maya Angelou
Lauren Bacall - frightened an interviewer earlier this year with her "Nicole Kidman! She can't be called a legend!" tirade.
Kenneth Williams
Tony Benn
Coronation Street's Karen McDonald - but only in her pre-spiralling out of control phase. A year ago she wouldn't have wanted to have a baby - it would get in the way of drinking, smoking and running up Steve's credit card bill on designer gear. Prime candidate to get into a fistfight with Jordan.
Little Richard - as mad as a box of frogs. Probably knows how to party, even in his twilight years.
James Coburn, Richard E. Grant (NOT in Argos guise) and Thierry Henry - look, there have to be some comely men. IT'S MY PARTY

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


This is the time of year when we should think about those less fortunate than ourselves. This year, perhaps we should consider Ken Barlow from "Coronation Street", the man for whom the phrase "most people live their lives in quiet desperation" could have been written.

Ken is the only character to have survived from the first episode of "The Street" 40-odd years ago. At that time, he was the quintessential angry young man - no doubt he'd been on the Aldermaston marches, complete with duffel coat and "Ban The Bomb" placard. Now he was back up north, however, his poncey soft southern ways were not going to cut it and he would have to learn to know his place. Since then, he has been trapped.

Ken has probably always fancied himself as a Dr Jonathan Miller type - a renaissance man who has a keen love of the arts and sciences. In the 1960's, due to the breaking down of class divisions, he would have assumed it was only a matter of time before he was hanging around gallery openings with the likes of Joan Bakewell, David Hockney and Princess Margaret. Instead, he got a job as a teacher in Weatherfield, where he will remain until he rots.

There is not much light in Ken's life - quite literally. He lives in Britain's dingiest house, where the decor has changed from khaki, to sludge, back to khaki again, and this reflects on the inhabitants. Ken's wife Deirdre is correspondingly one of Britain's most drabbly dressed women. The family all seem to want to get away from each other. Not surprisingly, as they are somewhat unpleasant people. Deirdre's mother Blanche is a poisonous old bat and the daughter Tracy is not only a bitch among bitches but what my dad would have called "a distasteful woman" (let's leave it at that).

No, there's not much for Ken to look forward to, apart from the odd performance of "The Cherry Orchard" at Weatherfield Playhouse, which will be sparsely attended and where Ken will sit, glasses held in hand in that affected manner, occasionally sweeping his hair out of his eyes and glad to be away from his appalling family, if only for a couple of hours. But he rarely grumbles. Like the middle classes he would love to be among, he bears his problems with grace - or at least until they build up to the point when he can take no more. At which point, beware, as his fury knows no bounds. His infamous "I'M BORING!" rant at Deirdre when he discovered her affair with arch nemesis Mike Baldwin must have sent people running for cover, erm, maybe.

So for Ken, this Christmas gives him a chance to reflect on all his thwarted dreams this year.

The rest of us, in real life, by comparison, have probably had it dead easy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


In the national newspapers and on the telly at this time of year you see the same highlights of the the past 12 months repeated over and over again - but what bearing do they have on the lives of real people, the man on the Clapham omnibus, the salt of the earth, the people who are the backbone of this country, Mr and Mrs Joe Bloggs, the man on the street? (By the way, these are all different sub-strata of what are known as D, and E3 groups, for all you would-be sociologists out there. This means lazy, smelly, overweight people who sponge off the state and don't make any attempt to better themselves.)

No, there are real issues out there which affect the people out there, and they are only dealt with in our great local newspapers. So here is my heartfelt Christmas tribute to the free papers which are put through my letterbox every Thursday (well, I say "every Thursday" but sometimes you can go for months without them being delivered, then 4 turn up in the same week. You can't trust the paper delivery people, because they are in the D and E3 social groups).

These are the top local news stories in the Utility Room's local papers for 2004.

1. Lisa Scott Lee, formerly of Steps, having been dropped by her record label, played at our
municipal park festival in the summer. The local papers built up this epoch-defining
event for about two months. The very lovely Lisa took to the stage as the sun was setting, to
mime a couple of numbers and dance at the same time. It was deemed a triumph by all
privileged enough to witness it, who will always have those memories to look back on if
misfortune should occur in their lives. Mind you, the local papers' build up of the event
left us in such a frenzy of anticipation that, rather like in an Anais Nin short story, we
thought we would go mad with desire ... oh dear, I seem to have gone off at a

2. The News Shopper gave the people what they wanted and grasped the zeitgeist with their
Shop A Yob campaign. As anyone who reads local papers will know, yobs are the cause
of most of the evil in society, with their reigns of terror on housing estates and their
graffiti spraying upstairs on buses. Well, I say, why don't the people they are terrorizing get
themselves a job, move to a nicer area and buy a car, which means they will avoid any
of the problems caused by yobs at all! There is nothing like self-improvement and
self-reliance. It means that society becomes much more nicer and it sets the yobs a good
example!!!! Anyway, the News Shopper was full of pictures of sullen-faced youths
in baseball caps who all looked the same. People were asked to get in touch with the
police if they recognized anyone from the photographs - this meant that all teenagers
are at risk of being locked away for their own good, even if innocent of any charges,
simply because they all look like JJB-clad clones if each other these days. Still, lots
of ASBOs were issued, which means we can all sleep that bit easier in our beds at night.

3. A letter to one paper complained about the dreadful decline in standards under "this
so-called New Labour government". I can't remember the exact words, but the gist
of the complaint was "there has been a shooting up the Broadway - possibly two, if I
remember rightly, plus there is all the litter and the leaves". He's got a point, but I
think people should be allowed to gun each other down. That's their perogative. But,
God spare us from the leaves, the leaves ...

4. The council's re-cycling initiatives were deemed a great success, as endless bins and
stackers were sent to houses to gather dust outside the front door in most cases.
On a personal note, we only used the composting wheelie bin once - then they took it
away from us, as if we had done something wrong and were being punished for it,
because it is the only language our sort understand. Can't wait for next year's press
expose of the dark forces at the heart of local council, though.

5. The local Christmas lights were switched on by former "Eastenders" star Dean Gaffney.

The last one wasn't necessarily true.

Monday, December 20, 2004


Jeremy Clarkson - Obviously the most obnoxious tv presenter, ever, bar none.
James Whale - Obviously the most obnoxious tv presenter, ever, bar one.
Donald Rumsfeld - Would put the fear of God into everyone.
John and Yoko - There's nothing worse than a couple in their own little lerve bubble.
Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett - Pretentious macrobiotic diet luvvy bints.
Vernon Kay
Keane - Just in case they get up to do a song.
Michele McManus, Ric Waller and Dawn French - "Who's eaten all the dessert?"
Jools Holland - Just in case he sneaks in his piano. "HOOTENANY!!"
Any Daily Mail columnist
Natasha Bedingfield - The most promising pop newcomer, apparently. Would spout loads of useless positive platitudes along the lines of "you've only got the one life, it's up to you to make the change" etc etc.
Kate Thornton, (deejays) Emma B and Margarita Taylor - Banality in three persons.
The Pope - Just imagine if he finally keeled over for good during the meal - the embarrassment.

In the interests of balance, a list of dream dinner party guests will appear soon.

Sunday, December 19, 2004


Alright, admit it.

After a couple of drinks over the eight, you have sung


in a stupid, loud, drunken Shane MacGowan slur. Then you forgot the rest of the lyrics.

It happens every year. Happy Christmas, your arse.

Saturday, December 18, 2004


(influenced by www.geoffsmediablog.blogspot.com )

Get well soon Janette Tough, better known as Wee Jimmy Krankie, vile little 1980's hobgoblin (who can be warded off by blessing your house with holy water, according to Greek myth - see yesterday's post). Following a pantomime appearance, Janette has been left extremely bruised and battered after a bizarre accident involving a giant mechanical beanstalk. Are there any non-bizarre accidents involving a giant mechanical beanstalk?

Perhaps the children's panto has now moved up to another level. Constant exposure to carnage-riddled films and computer games has hardened kiddies up, and the old-hat combination of blokes in tights and people throwing custard pies at each other just doesn't cut it anymore. The Krankies having rusty stage props collapse on them is just the tip of the iceberg.

In future, it will be a case of "Look out! He's behind you! And he's got an Uzi!"

Friday, December 17, 2004

A Daily Mirror article the other day provided a brief insight into the way that Christmas is celebrated around the globe. We seem to live in such a homogeneous world that we probably assume that everyone of vaguely Christian faith or upbringing will sit down to a turkey roast on December 25th (... or, more likely, on Thanksgiving Day, the way things are going). Not necessarily so.

I was surprised to learn, for instance, that the Dutch have already celebrated Christmas a lot earlier this month - it makes a country which is only a stone's throw away from my home in the south east seem like it's a world away.

Best scran-up award would go to Jamaica, with a meal including rice, peas, chicken, oxtail and goat curry, and a drink made up of rum and spices. If you are going to pig out on food, better this than the annual English stodgeathon.

A number of countries have superstitions which seem to come from the nightmarish Grimms' Fairytales tradition rather than our benign habit of leaving mince pies and a glass of sherry out for Santa. Whereas the British want to see children's faces light up with joy, those foreign johnnies prefer to scare the living daylights out of them. Too bloody right, I say!

The Greeks and Norwegians attempt to appease evil little gnomes, although there is no mention of how the Irish can protect their home against Bono, should he turn up at the front door. Mind, a 12 bore rifle should do the job nicely ...

The Spanish apparently leap over bonfires to ward off illness. This would surely backfire (SORRY - HONESTLY) as Spanish hospitals' accident and emergency departments end up being bedblocked by daft buggers with severely burned feet.

The most fun to be had on Christmas day, however, has to be in Finland. After the sitdown meal, everyone goes to visit the graves of dead relatives.

Which is still a lot more fun than having to spend the day with living relatives' fractious pre-school children.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Something is not quite right about this Christmas - perhaps I have been leading a very sheltered life of late, but I've not yet heard anyone say "real Christmas trees look great, but what a nightmare, with all those pine needles dropping onto the carpet".

It's obviously a sign that, like George Michael, I should get out more.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


There are habits which are hard to break and possibly quite shameful beyond a certain point in life. Mine is always buying a copy of the Christmas NME.

The fact that I am old enough to have bought the paper weekly during the Morley/Parsons/Burchill years obviously points to the fact that I should consider a more dignified publication such as the Oldie or the People's Friend - anything with a bumper story edition and an extensive word game for all that spare time over the festive season. But there is always a belief in the back of my brain that I will get the same thrill from looking at the Best Singles and Albums Of The Year lists that I did for (at the most) about three years in my late teens.

Being a twat from the middle of nowhere, the NME was considered by me to be a bible of cool, which would be extremely embarrassing to admit if I was of an age where I cared anymore what people thought of me. I went through that spell of feeling alienated and loving indie music, thinking it was what, ahem, people in the know liked. A few years later, I read an interview with a white, public schoolboy psuedo hip-hop/dance influenced "collective" (ho ho) where one of them, rather sniffily, nailed it on the head: "Liking indie music is very provincial. When an indie band plays at a venue it's like a farmyard."

Pretty much true, of course, but what else is there to do in a town where there's a bingo hall and three pubs where you can get beaten up for living a mile down the road? And I continued to read the NME through the years when they were banging on incomprehensibly about the politiks of dance, the Smiths years and the indie dance bit at the end of the 80's with an increasing disinterest - even if the music featured was awful, you always used to be entertained by the writing, but the journalists became increasingly pedestrian, so of course I reached that point (still rather too late in life) to stop buying it and put childish things behind me. Except ...

I still love music but, after the narrowing down of music tastes which occurs in the mid teens and which you should have grown out of by your mid twenties, now don't care if what I like is considered fashionable, obscure, whatever. I don't turn my nose up at dance,
r & b, the odd production line pop song, whatever. Some indie music is okay but I've given up the tedium of hanging around for hours on end which is watching bands live, so why could I be arsed to buy the Christmas edition of the NME?

I know just what it will look like - there will be a picture of Franz Ferdinand on the cover self-consciously wearing paper hats, holding bottles of beer and letting off party poppers. There will be a feature inside where a load of bands who are about to get dropped by their record company play a hilarious drinking game and they end up throwing up over each other and mooning at some old biddy in the street. There will be all those mindbogglingly boring one page interviews with bands where they say "the highlight of the year was T In The Park, really" and they describe which zany Christmas presents they want to get. We're all letting our hair down!

And the top of the Albums Of The Year list? I'm probably way off the mark hear, but I bet that Franz Ferdinand will be there or thereabouts. And I think they're pretty good actually. Oh bollocks.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The room is full of cards to be sent, a card which has to have the word "airmail" written on the envelope, wrapping paper, unopened cards sent through the post, a late birthday card for my husband, ironed laundry, unironed laundry, an ironing board, a WH Smith carrier bag, a "Seinfeld" DVD, an empty wine bottle, a copy of the Guardian Guide, some ready meal boxes to be put in the re-cycling bin, a handbag, some gift tags, a pair of calf length beige suede boots and a copy of the London Metro (a.k.a., "Yesterday's News - Today").

I have only wrapped two presents so far. I queued in the Post Office for about 25 minutes.

This afternoon I had to superglue bits of a rubbish MFI cupboard drawer as, in timely fashion, it fell apart. Today, a woman has to be a man just to survive, as Bobby Womack probably sang.

Unlike the MFI drawer, I am just about holding together, but, God knows .......

Monday, December 13, 2004

There are many really obvious reasons to feel grateful for not being a teenager anymore, from having bad skin and moodswings through to having to catch buses everywhere - the list could go on and on. The general crapness of having to be a teenager is particularly reinforced at Christmas, when you have to accept presents from well-meaning grans and aunties who think they have got their finger on the pulse of what teenagers want.

From the ages of 13 to 16 inclusive, each year, the same auntie bought me a bottle of Charlie perfume - Revlon's attempt to capture the light-hearted spirit of young women (i.e., it was supposed to be a downmarket scent within the budget range of cash-strapped teenagers). It seems that this season's cheap and cheerful item from which the teenaged girl will be unable to escape is the poncho. Well, I saw a woman infront of me buying about half a dozen, all in the same colour, so she must have a lot of nieces of a similar age who can all complain about them behind her back on the phone.

The poncho has been the "big fashion story this season" as they say on GMTV, worn by little kids through to women in their fifties. Basically, they cover a multitude of sins, as it were. This means that they only look good on, ahem, "big boned" women. The people they are least likely to suit are skinny young girls who are still of an age where they can get away with micro mini skirts, tops the size of a postage stamp and lowcut jeans which just about defy gravity. Not that this will put off enthusiastic middle aged women buying ponchoes like there is no tomorrow for ungrateful teens.

The outcome of this is obvious: the ponchoes will be sent to charity shops, en masse, in the new year. 2005 is going to be the year of the poncho mountain. Millions of them will be left by the roadsides and the emergency services will not be able to cope. The moth population will explode due to all that wool being around. The ecosystem will undoubtedly collapse.

So think before you make that choice in Dorothy Perkins. Drugs, fags and booze are always the sensible choices for teenagers.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Utility Room is re-grouping, putting up half the Christmas decorations and trying to work out where the fuck the rest of them are supposed to go, writing cards and contemplating the Crazy Frog ringtone.

Don't expect any lacerating shards of wisdom. There is a new moon tonight.

Saturday, December 11, 2004


Get well soon, Welsh Elvis Presley of the early 1980's, Shakin' Stevens (real name Michael Barratt. Honestly).

A man who wore white shoes with aplomb.

It would be a blue, blue Christmas without you.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Possibly the most disgusting present on offer this year is the Anne Geddes calendar, now available from WH Smith and a lot of other middling high street shops, I would guess, except I couldn't be arsed to look in them.

The reason for its sheer awfulness is brilliantly straightforward - it combines two of the worst things in the world - babies and Celine Dion. Babies, famous for their red screwed up faces, unearthly yowling and noxious smelling emissions, are pictured with Celine Dion, famous for her banana shaped face, stomach ulcer-inducing yowling and let's leave it there.

What a concept! Apparently the calendar "is a celebration of new life". Well beggar me, why didn't the photographer acknowledge the whole animal kingdom rather than just sticking with human beings (about the ugliest of living creatures, after all)? A picture of some frogspawn would have been much more alluring.

I could go into a very below the belt and completely gratuitous character assassination of Celine Dion who

(i) Always comes across as ha'porth short of a shilling in interviews


(ii) Is married to that very old man who apparently has been her "manager" since she was 11 years old. Yeeuuch!

However, I have my standards, besides which, I don't know much else about her.

Nah, it has got me thinking - as there are a lot of people out there with diabolical taste, the calendar will probably sell by the bucketload. Perhaps if I was to combine two really awful things by the miracle of technology, then bung the product on the shelves, I would be a multi millionairess after Christmas next year. Have had a couple of preliminary ideas lined up.

Some really horrible things:

Frank Skinner singing
The entire recorded works of the Wedding Present



Kate Thornton talking for hours
"Bridget Jones' Diary"


Nothing is going to stop me now. I should imagine I will be as rich as Roman Abramovich by 2006.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


In an unusually positive frame of mind, I feel a lovely warmth eminating from within to know that http://spoiltvictorianchild.blogspot.com/ has updated its advent calendar with daily festive song download and accompanying picture of a lovely lickle passerine (look it up). It is like pale wintery sun appearing through the clouds on a short and overcast December day. Plus, it being Thursday, I can check up on www.themanwhofellasleep.com/ for the tube gossip and the journal of hope and despair.

At certain hours of the day I can almost seem like a warm, caring individual and even vaguely human.

Normal service will resume as soon as possible.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Had a dream last night that I was returning home on the bus when the driver took a de-tour down our close, then loads of people in their sixties and seventies got off: it turned out that they were all going to attend a Bavarian-themed party held at the flat of the Polish bloke, as mentioned a couple of days back. Some of the women were dressed in disturblingly Heidi-like garb with blonde platted hair, and some of the men were wearing those hats which are probably not deerstalker hats at all. Because the Polish bloke was out, they ended up coming round to our house, which had mysteriously become a huge light-filled studio with minimalist styling and wooded floors (ho ho, as if) and we decided to have the party right there and then.

I thanked the driver for dropping us all off at the door - not a word of acknowledgment from him, which rather put a dampener on my efforts to be polite. Mind you, the thought of the party made me have the kind of anticipatory thrill you associate with early childhood, just as you arrive at your holiday destination.

This is probably the best fun I am going to have all Christmas, but you never know. You've got to have a dream, if you don't have a dream, you'll never have a dream come true ....

... watch this space ...

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


The top songs to make a party go with a "bang", or to go on the jukebox when the bar is stuffed to the gills with potentially violent teenage girls and bewildered quiet couples in their fifties who very rarely leave the house, but because it's Christmas ... Just don't make eye contact with anybody and you'll be alright, hopefully.

1. "Dancing In The Moonlight" a.k.a. "We Get It Almost Every Night (I don't believe them)" - Toploader. Sadly no longer with us but, due to Heart FM and The Pub, a song which must have made them royalty millionaires.

2. "And Sooooo, Sally Can Wait" - Oasis. Great for a really noisy pub singalong of the chorus after 9 pints of black and tan. One for the boys in the house. The "Delilah" of its day - in the '70's, my uncles would work their way up to "My, my MYEE Delilah" at similar foghorn levels. What goes around comes around.

3. "Sex Bomb" - Tom Jones. Speaking of whom, the ideal song for the early hours when three people are dancing in an unco-ordinated fashion and a woman who never normally drinks starts confiding in you after the third white wine and soda about how her husband no longer fulfils her "needs". Even if you are pissed yourself, the sensible thing to say back is "umm, are you sure you want to tell me this? Because on Monday morning you are going to ask me if you said something daft at the party which you don't remember".

4. "The Day We Caught The Train" (isn't this the title of a Ladybird early reader book?) - Ocean Colour Scene. Another dreary plodder for the slightly overweight 30-something dads of Conor (aged 4) and Ellie (aged 3 months) in the house. His wife is too busy with the kids, don't let him get near white wine and soda woman, etc.

5. "Wonderwall" - Oasis. About the only vaguely indie song liked by Normal Women because it is romantic and that. Known by Normal Women as "The Wonderwall": "that Liam Callaghan is horrible, he's got a screw loose, fancy getting his teeth knocked out, but you have to admit this is a lovely song". Normal Women only like songs which "remind" them of when they met their fiance and that sort of stuff.

6. "I Don't Want A Rock, Deejay" - Robbie Williams. The king of the variety clubs is hated to death by men because they are absolutely convinced all women fancy him. Obviously them liking Kylie Minogue is because they appreciate the fact that she makes great ironic pop in a non-ironic way. Meself, I fancied them two other ones from Take That who didn't do anything and disappeared without trace. Um, moving swiftly on ...

7. "I Will Survive" - Gloria Gaynor. All women from 18 to 50 have sung this defiantly on the back of the bus with eight other friends before getting home and crying for hours about the tossbag they have just finished with. Just the thing to finish the evening off really.

8. "We Are All Prostitutes" - The Pop Group. Hang on, that can't be right, har har har.

Monday, December 06, 2004

The arrival of the first Christmas card of the year, at long last. Couldn't work out who it was from the signature for about 5 minutes, which was quite distressing,, but it turns out it is from the old Polish bloke in one of the end flats. Perhaps it has been sent this early because he is going to spend Christmas on one of his endless holidays to the likes of Austria: even a visit to the shops seems to be like a walk in the Black Forest to him, as he carries a rucksack and wears a dear stalker hat.

This is in fact an attitude which is to be encouraged, especially in the UK with its lack of Alpine forests or mountains - there is rarely any crisp snow underfoot but we can all get into the spirit of things to brighten up the festive season. I personally will be carrying a flugelhorn around at all times and will be drinking huge foaming tankards of ale every lunch time. The perfect antedote to queueing up for hours buying £250 worth of shopping vouchers from Superdrug. Come on, let's put the Great back into Great Britain!

But let's draw the line at lederhosen.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Joy should be unconfined and the solstice bells should ring out, for the BBC has announced that two whole episodes of "The Vicar Of Dibley" are to be broadcast at Christmas.

Britain was plunged into crisis when it was announced that there would be no more "Only Fools And Horses" again ever, ever, until next year at least if they could afford to pay David Jason out of the licence money. We had barely stopped laughing from that time about 4 years back on Christmas day when he and Lyndhurst (N) dressed up as Batman and Robin!!!!! What should have been the highlight of the evening each and every year was there no more - what else could accompany that conclusion to a long and arduous day of eating, trying to be jolly, pretending to like your sister's children, attempting to play board games which get boring after about 10 minutes and the excruciating and hardly containable trapped wind? Just as you were forced to eat the evening cold spread, involving bits of celery, cold turkey, a variety of soft cheeses including one with bits of apricot in and a selection of pickles, only one jar of which is ever opened, there was a great emptiness - not in the gut, obviously, but in the soul, due to the fact that there would be no ensuing merriment from Del Boy, Rodney, the old man who is dead and that horse faced bloke.

This year at least we have Dawn French's amazing beaming face to watch. Actually, I have to admit I have only ever seen "Dibley" at Christmas time, and was usually the worse for wear and mixed wine and spirits. All I can ever remember about it is that my father-in-law always used to say "blimey this is a few years old: when was it? '92? '93? '94?" I think he said this for about three years in a row. The only clip they ever show on other telly programmes is that one where French is introduced to that bloke who is called Clive something or other. He is meant to be a great heartthrob to us older women but I have never understood it quite frankly, as he looks as if a piano has been dropped on his head from a great height. Anyway, Dawn French, absolutely hilariously , goes into a massive swoon and runs off to her house to change into something more flattering and stick a bit of make up on, rushes back to the party and starts swooning at him again!

Just the thought of it gives me a lovely rosey glow all over. Good old Auntie Beeb!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Last week, GMTV was airing little inserts before the commercial breaks advising us how to prepare the perfect Christmas dinner. The chef was a droning, austere woman with a vague Medway accent who was insisting that we make "real" gravy rather than use "flavourless supermarket granules" and she assured us that once we had tried "real" stuffing we would never go back to using (easy to prepare) "salty supermarket-bought stuffing" ever again.

Well, you stuck-up bint, some of us couldn't be arsed to look further afield than the supermarket for any foodstuff, thank you very much. Have you honestly got nothing even remotely interesting to occupy your time other than the endless preparation of food?

Just imagine what you could be doing instead of pickling, heating stock, bunging brandy in the plum pudding, going round from shop to shop looking for the perfect turkey, ordering the perfect turkey, making up jars of fruit preserve, mixing the Christmas cake and generally behaving like something from the 1950's. Next you'll be telling us that we shouldn't swear in the kitchen because "your husband will disapprove - he prefers to hear the sound of girlish laughter as you go about prepare a loving meal for him!"

Nope, missus, I am not going to take it no more. I am an enlightened woman, full of depth, darkness and inner turmoil. I am above the fripperies of basting, glazing, poaching and boiling. You can stuff it all up your parson's nose, you sour faced oppressor or REAL WIMMEN.

This year I am going to spend Christmas Day slumped infront of the telly in an atrocious velour tracksuit, scratching my armpits at regular intervals. I am going to work my way through a few bags of beef Monster Munch and a supply of gin and orange will be on tap. I intend to watch a Tarkovsky triple bill (such is my existentialist crisis) and will end the day listening to "Trout Mask Replica" on a repeat loop. I am going to scowl all day long, continuously, particularly if the DVD player breaks down and I end up having to watch "The Vicar Of Dibley"

God rest ye merry gentlewimmen. Or at least don't waste time cutting stupid little crosses into the sprouts, right? It doesn't make the slightest difference to how they taste.

Friday, December 03, 2004

"I'm in a wide open space, it's freezing". So Mansun's Paul Draper sings courtesy of the stereogram as I write this. As apt a description of the build up to Christmas as any, I suppose. I was intending to do some sort of advent calendar from the first of December but it went belly up as my attempt to create a new post on Wednesday as an opener was met by a message advising me that an error had occurred and some engineers would be sorting out the problem. Naturally, full of anticipation, I was expecting a couple of engineers (preferably looking a bit like Howard and Jason from Take That) to turn up at Utility Heights to "sort out the little problem", heh heh. No such luck, but everything seems to be up and running again anyway. Most unfortunate.

Still, I shall persevere in providing some sort of daily observation of Christmas, past, present, future, devoid of any kind of consistency and definitely nowhere near as good as the daily song on the Spoil Victorian Child blog, with the accompanying picture of a bird in the snow. I'll probably run out of ideas within the week.

First up, and starting on a positive note (i.e., going against my usual instincts) I have to put in a good word for Wilko's Fat Bellied Santa, the Christmas decoration "must buy" of the week. This loathsome looking little bastard will, hopefully, make small children burst into tears as, rather than being a kindly avuncular figure, it resembles the sort of fellow who would be in the chair on "Trisha" at the centre of a storyline which says "MY LOVER RAN OFF WITH MY MOTHER AND THEN MADE MY 16 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER PREGNANT!!!" I don't know if it smells of unwashed feet, breaks wind and comes with accompanying eight pack of Tennants super extra extra but I do hope so. It seems to have been designed expressly to cause grandmothers to say "what did you buy that blummin' thing for - it's blummin' 'orrible!" All you could ever want from anything, ever, and only £9.99.

This is not a suitable toy for a child under 18 months old.

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