Well, here we are again at that time of year when I write a ranting editorial denouncing the season of hypocrisy, which is now on us. So why should this year be any different? When it comes to seasonal hypocrisy, I really don’t think one can beat celebrities – if it’s Christmas, there must be some kind of charity record out, with lots of preening ‘stars’ urging us unwashed public to spend our hard earned dosh on some discordant crap because it’s for ‘a good cause’. I found this year’s ‘Band Aid’ remake especially offensive. Somehow they’ve succeeded in making it even shitter than the original (which I still remember with horror from my undergraduate days). Indeed, many of those involved even admit it’s shit, but still urge the kiddies to spend their pocket money on it because (yes, you’ve guessed it), it’s for ‘a good cause’! So, we’re all meant to suspend our critical faculties in the name of charity, eh?
If they were so concerned with the plight of starving Africans, why not just ask people to donate £1.70 direct and cut out both the middle man and this atrocious record? But of course, that would be neither such good publicity for the ‘talents’ involved, nor would it massage their egos quite so much. Frankly, I’d be more impressed if some of these multimillionaire ‘musicians’ urging the public to give to charity, were to put their hands into their own pockets and make substantial donations. Let’s face it, some of them have assets greater than the GDPs of some small nations. Speaking of which, perhaps the most nauseating thing I’ve come across lately is that fuckwit Bono prattling on about how he wants to see ‘his’ generation put an end to world poverty. Well Bono, I think you could make an excellent start by redistributing all those millions you’ve made over the past few years by churning out pretentious shite with U2 to the world’s poorest nations. Indeed, if all of your superstar chums followed suit I think we could have the problem licked in a matter of months. Twat.
But it isn’t just the celebs who are hypocrites at Christmas – we all are. All this bloody silly talk of ‘goodwill to al men’ and sending cards to people you can’t stand. Absolute hypocrisy. What is the point of doing it only once a year? It renders the whole concept of goodwill meaningless. Why not try to be generous all year round? Why not show goodwill at all times, rather than just for a couple of weeks in winter? It’s like all those donations to charities people suddenly start making at Christmas – the recipients of charity are terminally ill, homeless, starving, battered or whatever all year round, you know. And it isn’t just the goodwill bit that gets me, it’s this strange idea that you can only be happy and celebrate at Christmas – you’ve seen all those people who normally don’t drink getting completely legless at Christmas parties and puking and sexually molesting everywhere. It’s just crazy. If you ask me, it just reinforces the binge drinking culture – get your entire annual alcohol intake down your neck in a two-week period in December. But, this time of year, it’s all about the giving, isn’t it? Hmmm.
You know why Christmas is really shit? It’s because nobody ever seems to give you anything you actually want as a present. For me, this time of year has been a perpetual disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, over the years some people have gotten very close to giving me what I really want, but have just missed the target – a reference book on Hollywood musicals instead of one on exploitation films, for instance, or a ‘Saxon’ LP instead of ‘Gillan’, for instance. Close, but no cigar. Quite why, if one is known to be interested in a specific film genre, it is assumed that any book on film will do, I do not know. And whilst ‘Saxon’ might be heavy metal, they are also shit, whilst ‘Gillan’ were heavy rock and musical genius. However, what do we all do when this happens? Remonstrate with the gift giver? Ask them to exchange it for something more suitable? Of course not – we all just grin and thank them, before spiriting the unwanted item away to the back of the wardrobe/behind a radiator/the attic, etc., and making a mental note to next year engage in tit-for-tat exercises, deliberately giving others things you know they will not want. See, it’s the hypocrisy of Christmas because, as we’re all told, it’s the giving not the receiving and the thought that counts!
But what can we do about all this, I hear you ask. Well, you can do as I’ve done and kick the habit of Christmas – just opt out of the whole ghastly business. For the last twelve years I haven’t put up Christmas decorations – they just collect dust and make the house seem depressing for days after you take them down. I’ve also gradually weaned myself off of sending Christmas cards – after a while most people get the message and stop sending them to you (of course, there are always persistent offenders who keep sending them regardless of your failure to reciprocate, I find the best action here is to return the cards unopened to the Post Office marked ‘Not Known at Address’). It’s a similar story with presents – just about the only person who still persists in giving me a Christmas present is my mother who, God bless her, knows that a bottle of ten year old single malt is always welcome (and before you ask, yes, I do make an exception and give her a present). I realised a long time ago that the only person guaranteed to give me what I want as a present is – me. Then I gradually realised, I can give myself gifts any time of year, why be tied to just December? It’s the same with getting drunk and making merry. The end result of this action is that I’m much happier, I hardly notice Christmas is there until the last minute these days. Which is why I get pissed off when people suddenly start shoving it in my face with their crappy Christmas songs and garish and tacky exterior Christmas lights.
Will this course of action work for you? A good question. It works for me because it’s all part of a defence mechanism. I suffer from depression and discovered long ago that the best way to control it was neither drugs nor counselling, but instead maintaining an emotional ‘steady state’. In practice this means avoiding getting either worked up and over-excited or too despondent about people, events, etc., which occur. That’s the problem with Christmas – if you buy into it your expectations are constantly raised for weeks in advance and, ultimately, the reality of it can never live up to this. It is always a let down, and therefore depressing. So there you have it – avoiding this annual emotional rollercoaster is the main reason I think Christmas is all bollocks. ‘Til the next time, sleaze’s greetings for the festering period.!