Despite having shit loads of Uni work, I thought I would try and do a series of posts each day about the bahhumbuggness of christmas to go with my new seasonal background.
Day 1 – Christmas Lights
Last month, the council cherry picker came round and put up the usual festive illuminations around the main street through Brierley. This signalled the impending annual tradition of the Barnsley Christmas Lights Switch On. A tradition that dates back to the early days when locals would gather, set fire to a virgin and honour the ancient God of Coal. These days it is a more sedate affair. Local celebrities (of which there are two maybe three) arrive, say some inspiring words (“It’s Christmas” “You’re all going to die” “What the fuck am I doing in Barnsley?”) and flick a switch. A nice job if you can get it. Bit seasonal though.
This year’s switch on was about 2 weeks ago.
Now I had expected the gay baubles to be illuminated outside the Church of the Blue Bag already. But no. Possibly because Councillor/Mayor Vodden hasn’t got round to plugging in the extension cord or maybe because, as tradition holds with fairy lights, a bulb has blown somewhere down the street and the council are too busy to come and test each bulb. So there it hangs. On the street light. Dull. Dim and extra.
Of course this would probably be a problem if, over the next 3 weeks, the plethora of social housing and swaythes of other residences didn’t bedeck their houses with gaudy strings of coloured electric lighting. Already, the streets of Brierley are starting to resemble a poor man’s Blackpool and yet this is only the beginning. Residents clinging on to some vague recollection of happy Christmases past. Re-enacting, modernising and reattempting to capture that one heady happy jolly merry christmas where gran would sit in the corner farting and the deformed elderly Aunt that nobody cared for slowly got pissed on rum in front of a flue brush christmas tree dressed in Woolworth’s best bargain death trap fairy lights.
And yet, though the whole idea is frightful to some, there is something carnal and comforting about the bright glow of coloured lights against the dark December evenings. We banish the darkness with light, harking back to those long ago days when electricity was witchcraft and we would be huddled in the corner of a roundhouse with the cows and sheeps for warmth while praying that the sun would come up the next morning. So as you drive or walk down your local streets during these cold cold December nights and you observe the brightly coloured lights of festive celebrations, think. Think how those who cover their homes with more lights than a Las Vegas casino are actually trying, in some sort of primal tribal memory way, to banish the darkness. Laugh to yourself. Think how foolish they are for being afraid of the dark. Then. Walk into a lamppost.
Look where you are going.