The Popp-oner of Leek

Watch out for his sooty, wandering paws,

It’s seasonal letch, Father “Call me Daddy” Santa Christmas Claus!

The first git that moans that it’s too early for Christmas references, I is comin’ fer ya. Christmas brings me back to my childhood. And as it was an Irish childhood from the late 80’s and early 90’s, we were all very keen on threatening to knee-cap each other, IRA style, just like we heard about on the news. A simpler, more terrifying time.

So yeah Christmas = childhood = kneecapping = watch out. Also = a lot of Alvin and the Chipmunks. Who knew that was a revival by the way? They were originally on in the 60’s and then again in the 80’s when I experienced them. Still, great times. Can you tell that I’ve had a quiet week? Didn’t even go to Africa or nothing.

Capture39753Haven’t heard much, assume everything’s fine over there.

Meg and I put our Christmas decorations up (warning you guys), including our tree, wreath, stockings (purchased in Japan but with messages in Portugese for no reason, a Buene Feste to you all) festively scented candles and more lights than are required to land a 747 in heavy fog. This is more of a Meg project than something I push, but I still enjoy it. But perhaps not enough for Meg. As we were putting up the decorations on the tree, I started singing along to “Driving home for Christmas” by Chris Rhea. This was deemed a lack of festivity, because “I don’t know that one” along with my lack of ribbon-work and to right the balance of festivity we were both dealt a heavy dose of the thing that is Raffi.

“Christmas taahm’s a comin’, an ah know Ahm go-in home.” Also I murdered a man for this hat. Funny story actually…

This past weekend, Meg and myself pottered into town for one of our last shots at Christmas shopping between now and Turkey-Ham day. Between now and then we are going to Ireland twice, also Canada and I am going solo to Hong Kong and China. It’s a fitting end to a year in which I’ve ticked off 5 new countries, a new continent and overall got to 15 countries in the year. And that’s not even counting Wales.

Because no one ever has.

I departed this year with my normal policy of not wearing a poppy. This has always been something that Meg and I have debated because for Canadians, it’s a simple thing of remembrance. In the UK however, as one can assume with assured disappointment, that would be far too simple and nice a thing for it not to be ruined by the tawdry rags that masquerade as journalism here.

Remembrance is a pure aim, but like anything pristine it is a magnet for shit (ask anyone in a newly-cleaned car) and for being tainted by the agendas and cynical manipulation of those that should (and perhaps do) know better. In the past few years the wearing of the poppy has turned from a way to raise money for retired/injured servicepeople and to show that you have spared a brief moment to consider those that have been sacrificed to conflict, towards being something else.

Instead of being a sign of something, it was the not-wearing of a poppy that became the new mark. This has been mainly down to the push of the… fascists (term isn’t used here, but it’s honestly what we’re talking about) and the lack of any kind of cogent debate or will from pretty much everyone else. That’s just the country that this is. Otherwise explain to me the primetime turd-festival that is “The Great Pottery Throwdown.” A lack of ideas means any idea, however rubbish is automatically consensus.

Enter Britain First. Britain First is a guilty pleasure for myself and Meg. Maddening click bait, patriotic foolishness and insidious racism. The EU? There are things they’re keener on. Anyone look a bit different? You are shizz out of luck friendo. Can you perhaps guess how they feel about paedophiles? I bloody bet you can.

Taking our country back from who? Who indeed… And isn’t it marvelous they managed to get such a good deal on all those flags? Buy in bulk, that’s the trick. Also, threaten loads of Asians. What? Oh nothing, never mind. 

And inevitably there’s the sniffy Guardian backlash, where anyone that wears a poppy is either a foaming mouthed xenophobe (see above) or a cow-eyed deadheaded drone, so worried about being accused of being “offensive” they would rather walk out into the sea holding stones than make eye-contact on the tube.

So I decided… feck the lot of them. Anyone that swallows the line that they need to go off to shoot at a bunch of people (and crucially, get shot at) for the good of their country has been the recipient of a pretty rum deal. Even before the PTSD and non-traditional numbers of physical features are factored in, people who are institutionally encouraged to give up their safety are probably worth helping with a pittance-y financial contribution. And if the effect of wearing a poppy is me remembering (or more accurately imagining) exactly how crap being in a war might be (I’m imagining a really long bus journey with zero toilet breaks and a lot of getting murdered) then that’s reason enough. For me.

In other news, me being home more means Meg is watching more news than she’s used to. For example, she recently noticed that Angela Merkel has a ventriloquists “puppet mouth” which as you can see below, is fair enough.

“I would like a… ottle of eer. Also to ee a real oy. And to ee the greatest Ger-an stateserson since illy randt.”

But then she got confused and started assuming she was Bernie Sanders’ girlfriend and even elaborated graphically on that point but I’m not totally sure she wasn’t picturing the guy with the fried chicken. Not that makes the image any better. Well at least I guess they would have had a hearty meal of poultry and potato before getting down to it.

I’m overthinking things.

The Popp-oner of Leek

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