Friday, 6 December 2013

'Tis the season to get ranty.

Back again.

Aberdeen was lovely if a little cold, the future health of all Aberdonians is secured with the opening of a new Health Village. We're not allowed to call it a hospital because it's supposed to be about keeping folk out of them - its all about preventative measures. It'll be the first Hub North Scotland project when it opens to the public next Tuesday, Hub North Scotland is a joint venture company peopled and funded by the private and public sector (via the Scottish Futures Trust.) Over the next ten years, £435 million will be spent in the north of Scotland on public infrastructure, or so it says on the Hub website.

Basically its a replacement for PFI, is it better? A wee bit, private companies are still contracted to build and maintain facilities, but the outcomes are better value for the tax payer - in short - its not anything like as rapacious an exercise for the private companies involved.

Alex Salmond opened the health village, I stood on a walkway above and listened in on the speeches. I fully expected to be shoo'd away by security but Alex Salmond is nothing if not accessible - I could have dropped an anvil on his head from where I was standing.

I take a shit photo, except when it comes to bald heads.

Moving on, and if you come here for what passes for politics and current affairs repartee then stop reading now. What follows is the first in my series of christmas rants - and to further underline my absolute hatred of it all; I refuse to capitalise the word for it.

The television adverts are noteworthy this year. It seems many of the big retailers have employed the kind of agencies favoured by perfume and aftershave companies - the advert runs on and on but it isn't till the end you find out what the fuck it was for. Some woman chasing her dog down a man hole only to be leched upon by David Gandy (well, if one has to be pawed, who better to do it than Mr Gandy.) 

John Lewis with its hare and bear combo, I can't watch it and not wonder why the bear isn't eating the hare and savaging the other animals around the tree they've managed to miraculously decorate. Because you know, that would be my kind of christmas advert, blood splattered snow and dismembered animal limbs decorating the tree which toppled after the bear climbed it to get at the animals cowering at its top for the illusion of safety.

Tesco outdid itself with a time warp homage to their idea of typical family life through the ages, I hate these adverts the most because my family isn't like that. We don't sit round a table gently creaking with xmas fayre, there are no loving smiles - any warm thoughts we're having are drowned out by the silent screaming going on our heads.

Ok, that was an exaggeration, but not much of a one. Christmas (I had to capitalise it there because this is a new sentence) for a great many isn't a time of  joy, love & friendship, warmth, the exchange of pointless gifts and religious obeisance - it is a time which underlines and amplifies what is usually only a barely tolerable level of year-round shiteness. 

Special mention must be made of Ant & Dec in the Morrisons advert. Not since the Halifax 'radio station' adverts have so many been so moved to commit what I'm going to call celebricide. I normally don't mind Ant & Dec, I remember them from their Byker Grove days, who else can remember when PJ & Duncan started their on screen rap/DJ careers all filmed in Newcastle's at-the-time dingiest gay nightclub (called Powerhouse if memory serves.)

Just me then?

The DWP get in with their xmas campaign.

We have the frantic search for gifts to look forward to, I know some people who've already done their christmas shopping. I remain entirely unable to buy anything which does not have a practical use - which complicates and prolongs the xmas gift procurement process. Where as, those who don't deploy the 'useful gift' paradigm can buy any old tat and receive gushing thanks - we who prefer to be more pragmatic have to decide what the person actually needs. I'm lucky, I only buy for two people and last year I didn't even do that, I surpassed even my own levels of christmas-driven desolation and neglected to buy anything for anyone.

In the office I now revel in the discomfort of others as they place their unsolicited xmas cards on my desk and wait awkwardly to be handed one in return. I can't believe this still happens, I've been in this job for nine years and never have I ever exchanged cards - as Justin Hayward warbled in 'The Eve of the War' from Jeff Wayne's  War of the Worlds - but still they come.*

I'll stop now because I could go on for the rest of the month. We'll get back to Scottish politics at some point, over the past couple of weeks though, the lies & misrepresentations coming from the no side haven't really needed to be picked up and dissected because they've been so obviously absurd.

My highlight from recent days? Without a doubt Nicola Sturgeon destroying Alistair Carmichael on the Scotland Tonight special. I lay in my Aberdeen Premier Inn bed cursing Lenny Henry and his lying ways while watching the debate - I would link to it (the debate, not me lying in bed,) but this is just as succinct.

In case you thought I was just another miserable christmas-hating sour-pus; here's a festive picture for you to enjoy.

I'm surprised Better Together don't have Edvard Munch's 'Skrik' as part of their campaign branding.

* The lyrics read:

"The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one," he said.
"The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one - but still they

although I prefer:

"The chances of any cards coming from Paul are a million to one," he said.
"The chances of any cards coming from Paul are a million to one - so keep your shitey cards to yourself!"



  1. Why use Munch when you can use Maggie Curren? I don't know if I've spelt that wrongly, but I don't munch care.

  2. I didn't want to go overboard and invoke a Curran.

    And anyway, we're only at the 6th of December, plenty of time for things to deteriorate.

    As I feel certain they will.

  3. I used to like Christmas, when I was about 7 or 8.

    I got bikes and games and sweets and sometimes even money; stamps for my collection and the odd book.

    But it was downhill from then on.

    I never believed, well not after 5, the rubbish about Santa Claus and Rudolf the red nosed whatsit.

    As I have grown older I have watched Christmas become a festival of greed and rapaciousness which utterly sickens me.

    I’ve spent something like 10 years working with people who are poor, ive in shocking houses and don’t have work, or do, but it it is so pathetically badly paid that they can’t even pay their rent without help.

    But faithfully every year they say that they are going to have to take on debt and give their family the best ever Christmas because it only comes once a year.

    The movies and the songs and the store ads paint a picture of a Christmas that just never was and most assuredly isn’t now. People make themselves ill with the work preparing for the day. The standard meal is something most people don’t like (or they would have it more than once a year). Presents are bought for everyone and (quite literally) the dog. It is deemed necessary to spend the day with your family, most of which you can’t abide. Everybody has too much to drink and rows break out. The tv, which is the only possible break from the awfulness of the day, is all repeats. Morecombe and Wise Christmas how again. I mean you’d have thought that with all the bloody money we pour into the BBC they’d have saved some from their executive salary bill to make a show a little bit more up to date that a 30 year old special.

    And the aftermath? The families I was working with have debt up to their eyeballs. Mainly from people loaning money at silly rates because they can’t get anything from the bank.

    Around 20% of the population hasn’t paid off this year’s loans.
    Who wins?

    Big business. Tesco and their likes are rubbing their greedy corporate hands together.

    I wish people could see that a sodding con it is (I intend that in the English and French meanings of the word).

    So I’m with you all the way. Nightmare, utter nightmare.

  4. Heck.

    I think you may be even further down the road than me Tris.

    Here's a good news story though, I ask the young folk I know what's on their xmas lists expecting a litany of expensive gadgetry and other assorted paraphernalia. These lists are usually quite long, although whether they're always fulfilled...

    So I asked one lad what he was getting, he said a Playstation 4. He then went on to say; except, I saved up some money and bought it myself so i'm not sure what's happening now.

    Quite refreshing I thought, he could of waited and got it from his parents but he saved up his paper round money.

    Its rare though.

    Its the fakery that gets me, its all so plastic and crap.

  5. Oh dear... wore than you Pa... God, that IS bad.

    Yes, it's fake. Happy Christmas they call to you (adding under their breath, miserable bastard). And god knows it's tacky, plastic and cheap (in the taste sense of teh word, because it's anything but cheap in the expense sense of the word

    But it's the misery it causes for people who already have enough of that in their lives.

    And it is in the interests on no one who counts to bring it to a halt.

    Big business loves it; the government loves it; even the churches get a few extra drunks through their doors at midnight to sing carols.

    I literally detest it.

    I wish it was April!

  6. The thing is, I wouldn't want to stop it as such because kids do enjoy it and they're not all horrid little shits.

    Don't know what I'd do with it, the faux cheer comes from advertising which I think also fuels the grasping nature of the season.

    If we could get rid of that and some how persuade some people (the bubbly ones) to wind their fucking necks in a bit - I think it would be much improved.

    I'd be interested to hear from any adults who still like it but not for the obvious reasons like having kids around.

    I genuinely don't get it, even when you do strip out all the fuckwittery.


Thanks for comment as always and I apologise if you have to jump through any hoops to do so. Its just that, I'm still being spammed by organisations who are certain I can't get it up or when it is up its not big enough or that I don't have anyone to get it up for.

Who knew blogging could be so bad for ones self-confidence?