Sunday, 21 December 2008

Friday 19 December 2008

christmas is coming.
what rough beast slouches toward
westfield to be born

Christmas is approaching with the slow inevitability of Vanessa Feltz on a tricycle heading for the cake shop. I don’t object to Christmas per se. It is an important cultural festival celebrated across the world, although it would seem to be an established fact now that it is not the birthday of Christ, but the Winter Solstice, appropriated from the old Pagan religions of Europe in order that Christianity would be more acceptable to those upon whom it was imposed. Thus we have hangover Pagan elements such as the Yule Log, holly and mistletoe. The Christmas Tree is thought to have Germanic Pagan origins, while Father Christmas has its roots in Nordic mythology. Fundamentalist American Christians attempt to strip these pagan influences away (Santa Claus is outlawed by some as Santa is an anagram of Satan) although one has to admit that with all the magical fun stuff removed there isn’t a lot left to build traditions out of, and wouldn’t it be a bit of a boring occasion without all the glittery stuff to brighten it up.
Certainly TV isn’t going to make the Yuletide (that’s Pagan as well) any more joyful. Repeats, reality shows and brainless celebrities plugging whatever they’ve got to plug. No doubt Harry Potter (also outlawed by Fundamentalist American Christians), taking over the reins from The Sound of Music, will be making an appearance, as will the usual comedy Christmas specials which become less funny and more formulaic as the years go by. The BBC, it would appear, are once again scraping at the bottom of the barrel. They scraped pretty deep with ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, and even deeper with ‘Hole In The Wall’, an execrable series in which ‘celebrities’ in skintight silver lycra are lined up on the edge of a swimming pool. When the equally execrable Dale Winton shouts ‘Bring on The Wall!’ they have to fit themselves into a hole in a wall which hurtles toward them or get pushed into the water.
My, how we laughed!
Other channels scrape beyond the barrel on the flimsiest of ideas. A new reality series, on a channel the name of which I do not even care to remember, has made a reality series about a man called Willy who owns and runs a chocolate factory. They managed to get the word ‘wonky’ into the voice-over narrative just so the audience get the reference. I am tempted to wonder whether, had this man’s name been Brian or Nigel, this series would have ever been made.

No comments: