Wednesday, December 21, 2005

And a Happy Winterval to you all

IT IS EARLY morning at Beelzebub Mansions. The church bell tolls relentlessly for the passing of poor Betty Tucker. Meanwhile half a dozen illegal sprout-pickers roll over in the bottom of the hedgerow where my man Whittaker has housed them and curse The Archers in fluent Albanian.

As I emerge from the West Wing the man himself is standing on the croquet lawn, alongside a huge lump of metal. It looks like bronze, must weigh at least three tons, and appears to vaguely resemble a reclining figure. God only knows where he’s got it from. (The same could be said for the baby penguin struggling under his arm.)

It appears that this is our Christmas gift, a step up from the “dancing otter” water feature that he acquired for Mrs B. and myself last year. I suppose it’s the thought that counts. And if the worst comes to the worst, we can always get Mr Quixall from the local scrap yard to pop round and melt it down after Twelfth Night.

Later that day, Mrs B. offers me the illusion of a choice. We can either attend the gay wedding reception of village hairdresser Blow Dry Burton and his part-time pantomime dame boyfriend or go to one of those horrific “Xmas Fayres”.

Now I don’t know about you, but I usually steer clear of “Fayres”, “Shoppes” or anything with “Olde” in the name, but faced with an afternoon of Shirley Bassey records and fairy cakes, I reluctantly succumb.

So we get to this “Xmas Fayre” and I’m astonished to be charged £3.50 just to get in. What’s that all about? Since when do you pay for the privilege of buying something? It’s like Tesco making you buy a season ticket before you’re allowed to give them all your money.

So I’m £7 down before we even cross the threshold, where things don’t get any better. You might expect that something labelled a “Xmas Fayre” would be selling stuff related to Christmas. You know, decorations, sweets, cakes and booze, that sort of thing. Oh no, not this one.

There were stalls selling batik T-shirts, healing crystals, sandals made out of recycled Guardians, wind chimes, CDs of whale music, sawdust-flavoured yoghurt and foul-smelling incense. Oh, and you could also buy three jars of pickle for £13.50. Yep, that’s right, £13.50. This wasn’t a “Xmas Fayre”. This was an invasion of pseudo-Hippies selling cack to gullible passers-by when it just happened to be December.

Oh, and there were candles. Lots of candles. Have I missed something? Has Mr Prescott turned off all the nuclear power stations and half of the population doesn’t have electricity any more? When I were a lad, candles were a necessary evil. You needed them when there were no more shillings for the meter and you needed them when you had to pay a visit to the outside loo.

Then came the prosperity of the Thatcher years and suddenly everyone had central heating and running hot and cold electricity. So why does every shopping mall in the country have one of those stupid candle shops? Where have they come from? Who keeps buying them?

Anyway, we left the “Fayre” within 10 minutes. On the way out I had to be physically restrained from abusing the bearded rip-off merchant on the door who was wearing a Fair Trade jumper made out of old sacks, but who probably owned one of the many 4x4s in the car park.

FROM THERE I was frog-marched to Waitrose, where frantic women were taking two trolleys at a time into the store. And we’re talking big trolleys here – a full one would easily be enough to feed an African village for a week.

It appears that we have to buy bread and milk for the freezer. Four loaves of bread and 16 pints of milk, to be precise. I try to explain that the shops are only shut for 48 hours over Christmas, but I am hit over the head with a bag of pot pourri and poked with a roll of three-metre tinfoil with Anthony Worrall Thompson’s face on it.

The queue for the checkouts is of such a scale that the Salvation Army is serving hot soup to those of us at the back. When we finally get to the front, I notice an old boy wearing grey plastic shoes at the till next door. There he is, surrounded by people toting mountains of food, while he has a small wire basket containing … a tin of sardines and a ball of red string.

He’s in no rush. He spends ages carefully putting his goods in a carrier bag and then pulls the familiar OAP stunt of looking surprised when asked to pay. The search for the purse begins, followed by the careful counting out of coppers, some of them even legal tender. Meanwhile behind him the lengthening queue of Mr and Mrs Balsamic Vinegar slowly seethes.

Well, we’ve all got to get our kicks somehow.

THE BUSIEST man this Christmas isn’t the old geezer with the spectacles and the white beard, but a bloke called Iqbal Sacranie, head honcho of this country’s Muslims.

He’s spent the last six weeks answering the phone to journalists eager to put to him the latest anti-Christmas story – the council that’s re-named it “Winterval”, the firm that’s banned cards and presents, the town that’s torn down its decorations – and every time the answer is the same: “Offended? Not me. I love Christmas.”

And there lies the rub. I haven’t come across a single Muslim, either in person or in the press, who finds our traditional Christmas and all the crap that goes with it in the least bit offensive or threatening. The only people who get their knickers in a twist are well-intentioned but ultimately stupid Lefties who see their role as enforcing a sterile, politically-correct lifestyle on the rest of us. Oliver Cromwell would have been proud of them.

The inherent danger is that this stamping out of Christmas breeds resentment amongst the great unwashed, the Burberry apes and the council estate scrotes, who then turn on the local Muslim community who haven’t even complained in the first place. But that wouldn’t occur to the kind of public sector manager who thinks that the fairy on top of the Christmas tree is likely to spark a new jihad.

AND SO the Christmas Stilton is safely gathered in. I’m taking no chances this year. Sitting alongside this hoodlum of the fridge is a sturdy round of Stinking Bishop and a potentially-lethal and incredibly pungent unpasteurised Epoisses from France. Let’s see the blue-nosed bully try his usual tricks (leering at the cranberries, stealing the chocolate money and sexually harassing the brandy butter) with those two minders keeping an eye on him.

Pip pip!

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone unlucky enough to have a vegetarian coming for Christmas dinner, of anyone still tramping the streets trying to find a remote-controlled Dalek, or of anyone foolish enough to give me a goat donated to an African village as a present. I at least want to see it first. And play with it a bit.


Blogger Ripsnorter said...

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Bazza!

1:42 AM  
Blogger Ripsnorter said...

Not being a politically correct person I'm sticking with Christmas - they can shove their Winterval right up thier arseholes!

1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merry secular Winterval Festive Holiday Season!

Hopefully, this means I haven't offended any probationary junior assistant human equality executive managers out there...

1:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it possible to edit your on posts e.g. in the case of a spelling mistake?

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Doctor Mick said...

Is it possible to edit your on posts e.g. in the case of a spelling mistake?

Yeah mate, 'tis easy! Hold down the ALT key, then press F4 three times and you'll then go into edit mode.

9:42 AM  

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