The dulcet tones of the late crooner Andy Williams rung out across Broadmead Shopping Centre yesterday, singing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” All around people were celebrating the arrival of the son of God with high fat offal tubes, gooey cakes and fifth rate German beer. It was 30th November. Christmas had finally arrived.
Bristol’s Christmas market is as German as cricket itself and just about as atmospheric as a the final day of a drawn mid table county cricket match at the end of September. There were probably a few excited children around the city centre, but I didn’t see any of them. In fact, the ones I came into contact with looked like they’d rather be anywhere else, quite possibly even at school.
Now, I love Christmas as much as the next woman and man. However, I am not remotely interested in the religious aspects, nor particularly in the forced enjoyment. Granted, we had gone into town yesterday afternoon, but my presence was purely down to a promise of some beer and a trip to Rough Trade and HMV.
Andy Williams’ Most Wonderful Time Of The Year was far from the worst tune I heard yesterday. Indeed, I heard many worse, not least Paul McCartney’s Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time. I bow to no one in my admiration of Macca, one of the greatest songwriters ever, and the man who gave us Hey Jude, Penny Lane and Yesterday. But he also gave us one of the worst Christmas tunes ever. It is not just the over-familiarity, something which to my ears has destroyed the festive contributions of Slade, Roy Wood and Kirsty McColl and the Pogues. It’s a terrible song. My thought was simple: “another fucking month of this. They’ll probably play Stop the Cavalry next.” And they did. I felt like screaming. But I went for a pint (two actually) of Young’s magnificent Winter Warmer, even though it was still autumn for a day.
I detected very little to do with religion in Bristol City Centre yesterday, apart from a few Jehovah’s witnesses hanging around by Ann Summers and I don’t think anyone had turned up to celebrate the baby Jesus. It was, as Christmas always is, about making a few quid. I am no grinch (honest), but I can’t wait for January, except for the bit when I see my family.
Yesterday did not seem to represent the most wonderful time of the year. It felt to me like everyone was going through the motions. Still, anything to detract from the bloody general election that really should not be happening this time of year. I think I’d rather hear the Queen’s speech than another interview with Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.