Monday 19th December


With less than a week to go until Xmas day I expected to be feeling the festive spirit a little more than I do. So far I have tried all the usual tricks in getting into the mood-shopping, partying, drinking and even assisting in the decoration of a friends pub- but all to little avail. I am sensing there is a general consensus that this year’s proceedings are wrapped in a certain amount of ennui rather than tinsel and glitter. The main reason would seem to be a distinct lack of cash in all quarters and as the whole affair seems to revolve around how much money you can spend to prove how much you love your loved ones this is a severe setback. Of course we are constantly told this doesn’t matter when buying presents as it is the thought that counts but these sentiments seem to ring hollow as everywhere you look in the media and on the high street nothing perpetuates this as everything is geared around enticing you to spend as much money as possible. This year I have little choice in the matter as I have little spare cash to spend on presents so will just have to hope those in receipt of my gifts- or not in some cases- will understand that it is the thought which counts and I definitely did think about it I just never bought them anything after giving it the necessary consideration.

Out on the social circuit everything seems to adhere to the festive theme whether willingly or by accident. The theatres are full of big family orientated shows such as traditional pantos or We Will Rock You-which I saw two years ago and actually loved although I have never wanted to hear a Queen record since- and bands seem to reform in the hope of earning some filthy lucre under the guise of nostalgia.  Last week saw Adam Ant trundle out his ‘80’s hits and this week sees art school punks the Rezillos reform for their traditional Xmas gig at the Liquid Rooms. Always a good time band this Edinburgh group always put on a great show which is well worth catching. The cinemas are full of big money blockbusters such as Mission Impossible and Guy Ritchie’s second attempt at injecting some super hero action and muscle into Arthur Conan Doyle’s intellectually superior and previously cerebral Sherlock Holmes. The latter is definitely worth catching as it roars into view and never pauses for reflection during its duration. Extremely loud and visually impressive he may well have been more apt in naming it Lock Stock and Two Shattered Eardrums being such an assault on the senses. A full review can be found here.

A quick look through the television schedule also threw up little in the way of surprise and in fact was probably even more disappointing than I expected. There are little in the way of decent movies and even less in the way of originality. Much has been made of the return of Absolutely Fabulous and although I loved it first time around it is about time the BBC stopped resting on their laurels and started nurturing some new talent and ideas. No doubt the soaps will be the usual doom and gloom –it is not Xmas in Eastenders unless some tragedy occurs and this year they must be due another murder- and Poirot will be considered a highlight even though it is usually relegated to a Sunday afternoon where it belongs.

There are however several films out during January which will help to assuage the post festive comedown. Shame starring Michael Fassbender is an intriguing proposition and the Iron Lady starring Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher are just two which will require my attention. This week the Filmhouse is showing several Xmas films including the Wizard Of Oz, Gremlins, Meet Me in St. Louis and my personal favourite It’s a Wonderful Life which I am going to see midweek armed with  hot Chocolate, Maltesers, a clutch of hankies and a willingness to succumb to it’s heartfelt message and undeniable sentiment. If that fails and does not get me in the festive mood then I will willingly adopt the soubriquet Scrooge permanently and without complaint though the latter is perhaps too ironic even for me.

Here for everyome who is sick of the constant repetition of the Slade , Wizzard et al-even John and Yoko’s War is Over palls after several plays- Xmas standards is a track from probably the only truly classic and credible Xmas album-Phil Spector aside- by Low.

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