Christmas Diatribe 2005

There is piss and vomit upon the ground, deep and crisp and even, in some places dusted with polystyrene snow. There are restive plugs of shoppers, close to riot crammed into retail entrances like human stuffing. The pubs are full of an unusual sort of idiot, the one who has spent everything he has on those that he loathes and is now taking revenge on his own body with a cocktail of beverages so ill suited that just two in a small bowl would kill a dog.

There are hugs for hated underlings and kisses for the normally ignored from a tosser in the top job who’s vibrating already in expectation of the vile powders his sneering assistant has gone to fetch. Soon he shall be selecting his coterie of cokers for the night and sensing a new omnipotence; the kids’ schools paid up for another year, the villa held for an Umbrian July, a car built by German graduates and a seventeen year old at the bar he’s sure will succumb to the allure of all that success laced with just the right measure of wickedness.

Every woman on the street over the age of twenty nine is struggling within a low skirt of plump bags bound to their white knuckles like tyres around a tug. The buses heave them home, crawling like thick smoker’s blood through town’s constricted arteries. All that booty bound for all those fleetingly illuminated faces; all that stretched credit, all that useless wrapping and all that is useless within it.

It piles up to the winter moon like a pyre waiting to be lit. Stomachs swimming with sickly treats and a dread of the encroaching family turn sour at the thought of more. But more is taken, more is indulged – we feast so that we might not think.

And money is being made, or if not made at least moving more slickly from hand to hand. In the pretty light of the star studded trees it could almost be taken for a sort of generosity. Please take this, it means nothing but it cost some other fucker an arm or a leg. To refuse is considered obscene, to give, divine.

But there it is – strung so ravishingly to its wooden post like a pig ready for roasting, that sentimental effigy. Still so desperate to impart sincerity, a sense of suffering, something … well, deep. This at last is a reason for celebration. Because here hangs neutered the crassest of symbols – the goddamn martyr, like Granny huffing and sighing over the desiccated turkey when you’re just trying to get pissed in the depths of a northern winter. It hectors and it harries but is so swamped by the raging noise of the universe that it seems laughably quaint. It makes sense here, devoid of its power to petrify, nestled amongst all those other gleaming trinkets.

Jesus, what a waste of plastic.