Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pre-Christmas Claustrophobia

I did not post yesterday because I was suffering from a truly terrible case of pre-Christmas claustrophobia (PCC). Give me flu any time. PCC  happens when you become oppressively aware of the funnel-like aspect of the season. At some point - in, say, mid-November - the world seems full of possibility, open and free. Then you fall into the funnel. Work builds up and becomes more difficult, mainly because the same thing is happening to everybody else. Mad, seasonal tasks appear from nowhere. (My dismay at the pointlessness of these tasks is the reason I have not sent any Christmas cards for the last two years. Sorry.) Everybody is is supposed to be 'entertaining' and yet everybody is edgy and irritable. Food, bizarrely, becomes a burning issue, requiring intense negotiation and D-Day-like organisation. (In this context the Michael Parkinson TV ad for M & S involving a 'tiff' with his wife about what they should eat for Christmas dinner is horrifically offensive. It makes Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross look tediously tasteful, grotesquely inhibited.) And, through it all, you are being bombarded by moronic media jollity and inane feelgood stories, punctuated by the same perfume ads you saw last year. But for this, I think I could get through it all intact. It's like being at the Cannes Film Festival. Forever. The funnel narrows, you can barely breathe and hardly scream. Finally, you fall from the narrow spout into January, free at last, free at last. You breathe in the cold, clear, empty air and the world returns to bleakly consoling normality. 


  1. Here is where Valium really comes into it's own. Recommend 5mg twice a day, and before long you'll be able to walk down Oxford street with a big, easy smile on your face...

  2. Bah! Humbug!

  3. Tomorrow is the last day of the year. And I thank God. I was losing my sense of humour. Irony, that vanished mid-way through July, when He decided that Summer would not peep her head. And decided that what Vince needed was a Belgium chick.
    Now, I am of an age when there is something truly delightful with seeing the light fall at the far end of the Newgrange passage and finding that Wine is not really better for you the better it is.
    As to the New Year, I wish all a very good one.

  4. Bah humbug, precisely.
    Well then fellow Ovaltineys, how's you grannies teeth . Stepping down to the tarmac upon our return from Alpine adventuring, grasping neige covered granite and daring life and limb, what do we discover, Nige overwhelmed by events beyond his remit, that young fellow Madeley having a domain inserted up his psyche, the grand duke obstmeter finally owning up to his secretive world domination, Brit in limbo, or at least Bristol which is the same thing really, Susan in the doldrums, as America hurtles towards its doom, Elberry in clover as ever, anon, well what can we say, Mark, resplendent in his Oxfordshire redoubt.
    What do I further discover, we have a new leader, that's what, Valery Giscard d'Mandelson, shirtlifter extrodinaire, arrogance personified, minor crook made it to the top, the second unelected leader of the British tribes in recent times.
    There's more, some Yank has diddled the entire Jewish population of the USA out of a lot of their dosh, leaving them with the merest 200 mil each, ain't life the pits.
    Our coppers, thick as two short planks as usual, aided and abeted by a crown prosecution service who couldn't recognise the truth if it fell on their balls from thirty thousand feet had banged up a lassie in Cleveland for child murder who just happened not to have done it, some poor sod down in the smoke received the same treatment, there's a fine how do you do.
    Some dodgy looking arab hoyed his wellies at George the simpleton, shamefull, don't they have rocks in Bagdoodle.
    Had a fascinating conversation with a Savoyard, boy aren't the French full of told-you-so-you-dopey-Brits-and-can-we-now-please-have-our-houses-back.
    All in all then am I pleased to be back ? Of course I am, who wouldn't be happy among a crowd of debt laden, houseless, politically naive, jobless miserable sods.

  5. Ahh January, back to the marmite sandwiches

    My goose can graze happily safe for yet another year as we are sticking to the turkey, an ugly bird that deserves to die.

  6. My feelings entirely. Well said. One cookery programme follows another, stacked like bombers in a holding pattern. One by one, they release their deadly cargo of tinsel, ghastly chocolate dishes and "how to cook a nice bird goooaaaal!!" by Some Geezer.

    I rather like the Parkinson M&S advert. Round here the women in M&S fit knuckle-dusters to their elbows before tacking the smoked salmon cabinet, then climb back into their black SUVs and barge their way home. Another year has passed, and still I have failed to take out any of them with a 66mm M72 LAW.

    Some very sensible folks I know are running a City Retreat over the New Year. A warm and gentle room. Just to be there is enough. Silence. I've booked my day there already.

    But, ahem, Happy Christmas to you and all here and best wishes for the New Year!

  7. Wotcha Malty. Been up a mountain or some such, I suppose?

  8. January is the most depressing, evil month of the year.

  9. My sentiments exactly (your post). And you don't have to watch any TV for it to be true.

  10. I got a grant from the federal government for $12,000 in financial aid, see how you can get one also at