The 18th of December and not a present in the house bought.
Christmas is on the brink of tearing every single muscle of our Western being and there is naught we can do about it. No amount of mass abstinence from X Factor singles or mass purchasing of Rage Against the Machine songs can change the obscene calorie intake we’ll ingest over the period, no grimacing and bah-humbugging (or humbuggering?) can distract or even take away from the over the top shows of happiness, feigned or otherwise, from parents and their children alike, and there is no hope in halting the annexation of television channels by the Harry Potter film franchise. It may not even be over by Christmas. Tread safely dear fellows.
Last Christmas, I was in Galway, walking up and down the streets pretending my heart out to be like your man from the Dunnes Stores ad. You know, yer man, the red jumper, the man bag, the lazy beard. He’s smiling at everyone, they’re all happy, there’s the child who loves Christmas trees, the young ones who are going mad about going in the snow, the lad afraid to shift your wan, y’know it? Anyways, I pretended to be him for ages and I felt great. I also gave Freddo bars to certain lucky folk.
This Christmas season though, I have been inundated with so many little nonsensical things that take up enough of my time that I indeed have no time whatsoever to pretend to be your man. Also, last year’s ad airing this year too? Come on, Dunnes. Sort out yourselves. Shell out for the new campaign. Come on. I can do it for ye too. I love ads. I know all about them. Remember that Snickers ad with your man thinking he’s Batman? Classic.
There was a hape of flooding there in my familial home in A-Town and the amount of sandbags carried and placed is beyond an abacus. RTÉ camped out in the back garden to report on the levels and even Bryan Dobson came down to tell people this was quite serious. Luckily, Doomsday did not come. 2009 was repeated and the local government acted, embarrassed into coping with the levels. And those words are chosen very carefully. Embarrassed into coping with it. Will plans finally be put into action? Will more than “a few shovels be put into the ground”, as Dobbo said on the Six One, be done now? I would not hold my breath, but I might have to if I’m under water. Heyhoooo! Anyways. I’m at a show in a hotel in Galway for children and that is an experience to say the least. And there’s a pantomime in Athlone to be rehearsing for – Oh NO THERE’S NOT! – Yes, there blooming well is. And that’s that. Sin sin.
But Christmas, aye, it will come and be nodded to all in the endeavour to get to New Year’s Eve so I can attempt to initiate my favourite activity; secretly and passively coercing a large group of people to sing O Holy Night. My God, it is one of the best things I’ve done. It’s occurred twice without doubt, possibly three times and this year once I have a sufficient level of cheek consumed I will begin the endeavour and be a little version of Iago going around whispering “Faaaalllll on your kneeeees…” into people’s ears. It’s the simple things, really. Also, it’s not any declaration to Christianity; I’d be more of 100% atheist but “O Religious Night” doesn’t have the same fecking ring to it, does it? Go off with your mid-winter festival.
Success happened recently too. I was placed third in the poetry section of 2015 Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Competition, particularly for a poem called ‘Thanks For the Internet’. I was happy out, being long-listed was fairly class with good folks, being shortlisted was even better and then to be placed third, well, that was just fairly deadly. But, as they say, nearly never bulled a cow. Well, fewer people than I thought say that but, yes, the main thing is that time has passed, something good happened and that there is much more time to pass and many more better things to happen.
Will I type anything in the future before next year? Christ knows. Probably so. But just in case I don’t…
David Burke? Former Connaught Slam Poetry Champ? Third placed in the All-Ireland Slam Poetry Slam?
That is all.