Halloween…the least scary day of the year

31 10 2014


Halloween is here. Again.

Having spent most of my formative years in England, I was lucky enough to miss out on the joy of dressing up in a costume and being forced to harass strangers for chocolate on a designated day.

This also meant that I wasn’t able to fully appreciate just how important it is to keep your door closed in the week leading up to the big night on October 31, and while the practice of parent-approved begging/extortion has now become popular in the UK, it has a long way to go before it reaches the insanity levels of the USA.

With that in mind, I don’t want to be a killjoy on a day when dressing up and terrifying people is widely accepted, so here are some scary thoughts. Read the rest of this entry »


Giving Thanks for Thursday

22 11 2012

Having been an overseas observer of the US festival of thanks for the majority of my 44 years, I admit that I have always found it be slightly odd.

Without wishing to take anything away from the day itself, there are just a number of anomalies that stand out and make me smile.

For millions of Americans and transplanted ex-pats, it is a day to spend with family or friends and stuff yourself full of turkey/vegetarian alternative while watching TV. Or Christmas as it is known in the UK.

America basically shuts down for Thanksgiving. Even the most corporate of evil commercial chains seem to have shuttered their doors for a few hours, while across the country, people are getting together and giving thanks for something (spoiler alert: that’s where the name came from). It’s a good day to hang out, drink beer and eat food. Perfect preparation for the shopping bonanza on Black Friday that follows the Thursday of Thanks.

That’s the first thing.

Unlike most other holidays, TG doesn’t have a set date. It exists in a nebulous “fourth-thursday-of-november” sort of way, the date changing every year – which must be really confusing if you want to claim being born on Thanksgiving… Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Christmas Time…There Is No Need To Be Afraid

25 12 2011

Christmas time, Mistletoe and Wine
Children singing Christian rhyme
With logs on the fire and gifts on the tree
A time to rejoice in the good that we see

The USA had Elvis Presley, in the UK we had to make do with Cliff Richard.

A never-aging, God-bothering, tennis-playing singer/songwriter whose only redeeming feature was that he didn’t release that many songs in the later years of his career. Except at Christmas.

The lyrics above are from an especially irritating tune called Mistletoe & Wine.

According to Wikipedia it was “Cliff’s 99th single, it became his 12th UK number one single, spending four weeks at the top in December 1988 – selling 750,000 copies in the process. It was the best-selling single of 1988 in the UK.”

Which meant that every year since, it was played on a regular rotatation on the radio and gangs of well-meaning vocal groups would roam through neighbourhoods singing it at people until they were paid to go away.

This is not my “bah humbug” moment. I had that on Black Friday when the countdown to Christmas begun and the shops were filled with festive music.

I admit that I am not a big fan of December 25.

I like the getting together with family (I am currently with my extended one in Bermuda) and I enjoy sitting by a fire with a glass of mulled wine or champagne. I look forward to turkey with all the trimmings, the opening of gifts and I have been known to tune into the Queen’s Christmas Message – which normally is a nice reminder that just because you are extremely wealthy and own a lot of hats, it doesn’t mean that your Annus is any less Horribilis then everyone elses.

But the one thing I look forward to more than anything else is knowing that when January 1 arrives the radio will start playing proper music again and that we won’t have to endure “Feed The World”, “Last Christmas”, Slade’s “Merry Christmas Everybody” or having Bing bleating on about how he is dreaming of  a White Christmas.

Christmas music comes once a year, that is something to rejoice in. For the other eleven months, proper music is made by proper people.

And none of it mentions Santa or his overflowing sack.

Happy Holidays.