If I Had A Magic Wand In December…

TtTYtC Cover 6Sept2015

If I had a magic wand in December is the last story in my Christmas stories book. It’s actually more of a list. Anyway, if I had a magic wand in December I’d make every Christmas morning white.

Glitter would stay where it was first put.

The end of the sticky tape would cooperate rather than hiding.

There would be three things, instead of just two, that are actually wanted in a three for two price promotion.

Queues would be patient and tut free.

Postage stamps would feature Roy Wood and Noddy Holder.

Weight loss diets would not be mentioned.

No one would refer to Christmas as the C word.

Velvet dresses would not attract fluff.

Flatulence would smell of cinnamon.

No-one would catch a Santa smoking in a car park behind his sleigh.

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Blown up balloons would be easy to knot.

Factory workers would make paper snowflakes to decorate the windows.

The tuneless would be able to sing carols well.

We’d write a letter to Denmark thanking them for creating Danish butter cookies.

Pop up Christmas markets would be less like a budget shed showroom (I’m looking at you, Milton Keynes).

Cream would be offered with everything sweet.

Sage and onion stuffing would be offered with everything savoury.

Hats from crackers would be adjustable for those with a non-average head circumference.

No-one would draw attention to someone else’s non-average head circumference.

FTFishPassionFortune telling fish would tell everyone they were passionate (and so they would be, who argues with a plastic fish?)

Accounts departments would take disco dancing lessons.

Everything would come with batteries included.

Balloon phobias would resolve.

Sequin dresses would not shed their sparkly discs.

Everyone would find time to light an advent candle and be still for five minutes, appreciating the season.

Vivienne Westwood would make a wearable, affordable Christmas jumper.

Scoffed chocolate Christmas tree decorations would reappear every morning.

Jeffrey would work on the till in Toys R Us.

Either Nigella’s Christmas or Delia Smith’s Christmas would be on every day.

Only the people who like figs and dates would actually buy them.

Fairy lights wouldn’t tangle.

Woolworths would reopen and the Woolies Winter Wonderland catalogue would be distributed to every home in the land.

Traffic wardens would be excused their usual duties and would instead hand out chocolate coins to motorists.

Hangovers wouldn’t happen.

My spontaneous jokes would get a warm reception. Sample joke: Who is the Queen of Soul at Christmas? A-wreath-ra Franklin!

There would be a TV channel dedicated to people opening advent calendar windows.

Everyone would wear red silk underwear. The first day of wearing it would be known as winter draws on day.

Things that are better left unsaid by elderly relatives would remain unsaid.

Municipal Christmas lights would be switched on by a proper celebrity (not someone from reality TV) or a good old fashioned Mayor or Mayoress complete with gold chain of office.

Doctor Marten boots given as gifts would fit comfortably and wouldn’t need months of wearing in.

When making a Blue Peter advent crown the coat hangers would readily take on the shape required (and safe baubles would be used instead of fire risk candles, have a word with your dangerous nineteen-seventies self).

The Christmas pudding flavour Kitkat would be made again.

DanishBCDenmark would write back thanking us for our thank you letter and sending us a tin of cookies big enough to use as a swimming pool once all the cookies have been eaten.

Hairdressers would be able to book you in the day before the big party rather than the day after.

All pastry would be light and crisp.

One hit wonders The Sultans of Ping would rewrite their hit to be about a Christmas jumper.

Putting mistletoe under your pillow would allow you to dream of the person you’d kiss next.

News bulletins would end with Boris Johnson reading Christmas cracker jokes.

Grown men would get the train sets they had always wanted.

Grown women would get the train sets they had always wanted.

Donkeys in churches would behave well.

Tights and stockings would not ladder.

Satsumas would be wrapped in bright tissue paper.

Josephs would not go missing from nativity scenes (this happened to me so I replaced him with a Count Dracula of about the right size).

Poinsettias would be hardy.

Nesselrode pudding would be in every supermarket freezer section (Google it, it sounds yummy).

Office managers would stop work early to read stories to their staff.

Everyone would be allowed a day off for Christmas shopping.

Satsumas would not be aggressively squirty.

Party dresses bought online would fit.

No one would wet themselves during a nativity (even if frightened by a Count Dracula).

Homemade gifts would turn out as imagined instead of looking like the work of a slapdash, badly co-ordinated six-year-old child.

Brazil nuts would be easy to crack.

Cats would sleep peacefully under Christmas trees instead of leaping up them to attack something invisible once every four hours.

Wives would smile indulgently at husband’s novelty ties.

No hamsters, rats, gerbils or other family pets would die.

Stomachs would not require Rennies.

MarmitePeople who like Marmite or Guinness would receive Marmite or Guinness rather than some coasters or an apron with the Marmite or Guinness logo on.

Nail varnish would not chip.

Octagonal boxes of Turkish delight would come pre-gift wrapped.

Russ Abbot’s “Atmosphere” would be played in shopping centres.

Noggs other than egg would be available for vegans (Veggnogg?)

Everyone would take a turn at working in a shop.
Carol singers would know the second verse.

Battenberg cakes would be seasonally altered. They would be red and green sponge squares with white marzipan.

The Queen’s speech would have a couple of good jokes and Prince Phillip would appear at the end in a party hat.

Gloves would remain in pairs with the strength of childhood sweethearts.

Everyone would believe in Father Christmas.

Grown women would get the rainbow legwarmers they always wanted.

Grown men would get the rainbow legwarmers they always wanted.

No one at a work do would resort to the safe but dull topic of work.

Free parking spaces would be available for late night Christmas shopping.

All drinks would have a mulled option.

Everyone would have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year.

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Ross T. Snowman and I wish you a very merry Christmas 2017!

 

Christmas 2017 Reading – Once Upon A Christmas Compiled By Esther Rantzen

Christmas Photo Instagram PostI chose this book as my third Christmas read because it would be easy to pick up and put down in the busy week leading up to Christmas. The full title of the book is Once Upon A Christmas – Memories And Recipes From Your Favourite Celebrities. It was published in 1996 to raise money for the ChildLine charity and it’s got a real mix of people and writings in it. This book drew my eye because it was displayed in the window of the Mencap charity shop in Salisbury where I was having a festive day out. It is signed by Esther Rantzen whose work on the behalf of vulnerable young people and old people, and kind heart I admire.

As you’d expect, this book was very varied. The strangest celebrity inclusion was Mr Blobby. However this book was published when Blobbymania gripped the UK. Also included was a story from Jeannette Charles who is Her Majesty The Queen’s lookalike!

I enjoyed Martin Jarvis’s memory of visiting a Father Christmas in Croydon with his son. I liked Doc Cox’s coining of the phrase “peppermint sheep” as a synonym for “Bah! Humbug!” Toyah Wilcox’s contribution ended beautifully with these words; “Christmas to me, is a place where I wish time itself would stand still and embrace us all, for ever, in that feeling of love, security and happiness”.

Christmas Photo Instagram Post (1)I haven’t yet decided what will be my fourth festive read. Perhaps I’ll go right back to Dick Bruna’s The Christmas Story, which was my first ever Christmas read.

Whatever you’re reading, I wish you a cosy, wordy Christmas!

 

Feeding Things To Snaggletooth Part 61

Christmas 2017 is approaching fast and Snaggletooth looks forward to some decadent foodstuffs over the next week or two. This week he’s eaten earl grey tea, Turkish delight (this is also one of my mum’s favourite nibbles), a fairy cake decorated with a jelly snowman and some jalapeno and lime flavoured cheddar cheese. The cheese was purchased from a stall at Salisbury Christmas market named “Cheeses of Nazareth”.

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Could this man be any happier with his choice of business name?

Christmas 2017 Reading – Nancy Mitford’s Christmas Pudding

Christmas Photo Instagram PostThe second festive book I’ve read inspired by the Writerly Yours Christmas Readathon  was Nancy Mitford’s Christmas Pudding. It begins with a prologue that reads “Four o’clock on the first of November, a dark and foggy day. Sixteen characters in search of an author.”

Immediately I wanted to know who these sixteen people were. Some of these sixteen characters are a little bit awful! The book reminded me that personalities don’t change at Christmas! There is a mix of young and old thrown together, again a theme which is very Christmas.

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This book was first published in 1932 but is very readable today. It’s set in Compton Bobbin, in the Cotswolds and since I live in Oxfordshire I found it easy to imagine the surroundings. It contrasts the excitement of London with the sleepiness of the country. If you enjoy P. G. Wodehouse, you are likely to enjoy this.

Christmas Photo Instagram Post (1)My next Christmas read is going to be an anthology of celebrity stories, recipes and memories, called Once Upon A Christmas, edited by Esther Rantzen in 1996 to raise money for ChildLine. I’ve chosen this because it’ll be easy to dip into and out of at this busy time of the month.

 

Christmas 2017 Reading

Christmas Photo Instagram PostOne of the things I like best about the Christmas holidays is having time to do a lot of reading so when I saw an invite on Twitter from Writerly Yours to a Christmas readathon I thought I’d join in. The idea is that lots of readers and writers tweet about what they’re reading this Christmas. I have fifty books on my Christmas book shelf but always love discovering more! All of these inspire my own Christmas stories and so I like to read a wide range of festive tales.

My most recent new Christmas read, which I’ve just finished is Terry Pratchett’s Father Christmas’s Fake Beard. I read most of it on a snowy Sunday afternoon and I didn’t want it to end. These are children’s stories but Pratchett writes in such a non-patronising, engaging way that I stop noticing that these are children’s stories. I usually re-read Pratchett’s Hogfather at Christmas and I heartily recommend reading anything and everything by Terry Pratchett.TerryP

My next Christmas read is going to be Nancy Mitford’s Christmas Pudding. I’m looking forward to it because it is set in the Cotswolds, near where I live so I should be able to picture the scenes with ease.

Christmas Photo Instagram Post (1).pngCome and join in the readathon fun if you’re a fan of festive reading. Just follow Writerly Yours on Twitter and use the hashtag #WYchristmasreadathon when tweeting about your jolly holiday reading.

 

 

 

 

 

Songs I’d Like To Be Christmas Number One in 2017

There are three songs which I’d like to be Christmas number one this year. I know they can’t all be, but I’m going to enjoy listening to them in December and I’m going to download them on the 18th December so the sale counts towards the Christmas chart.

The Christmas number one slot is fun to talk about. It harks back to earlier decades when we had less choice about the music we listened to. Liking the same music as someone else is a wonderfully bonding experience. And if you don’t share the same taste as someone? Then you can practice tolerance by agreeing to disagree (tolerance is bound to come in handy over the festive season). We can all moan about Mr Blobby (1993 Christmas number one) or Bob The Builder (2000 Christmas number one) because they aren’t real people, or be glad that a charity single got top spot, even if it isn’t to our taste musically. Here’s a list from Wikipedia of all the Christmas number ones so far.

My first festive fave for 2017 is a charity single supporting The National Association Of Bikers With Disability called Sykko Christmas from the splendid SYKKO DOLLZ

Next up is the wonderful Lawnmower Deth and Kim Wilde with their F U Kristmas tune. I’d also like them to re-write their classic Satan’s Trampoline as Santa’s Trampoline. Maybe next year?

AboutToRockTinselFinally, there is a campaign to get AC/DC’s For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) to number one in tribute to Malcolm Young. I think this has a good chance, remember rock fans mobilised before in 2009 and got Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name to the pinnacle of the chart.

If you want to have a go at getting your own Christmas number one, some advice from www.officialcharts.com is here. Whatever Christmas songs you put in your head, have a wonderful, musical Christmas!

 

 

 

A Love Letter To AC/DC

The recent death of Malcolm Young due to dementia has got me reminiscing about AC/DC. They were formed in 1973 and I was born in 1974 so they have always been there in my own personal musical timeline. They are part of the soundtrack to my life and I couldn’t begin to calculate how many hours I’ve spent listening to AC/DC (I’m not very good at Maths, words is what I do).

I heard them long before I saw them live. My mate AC/DC Anna was a big fan (as you might have guessed from her name). Another school friend who lived over the road from me loaned me the Who Made Who LP when we were fourteen. He is also notable for letting me watch him have a nosebleed when we were in junior school (If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It!) we sometimes wave to each other on our respective ways to work and I sometimes remember how grateful I was for the loan of that record.

ACDC2000I first saw AC/DC at Wembley in 2000. I’m not a lover of the venue (too big) but the walkway which extended from the stage so Angus could duck walk and the atmosphere made it great. Seeing the big bells and the inflatable Rosie was a spectacle. I couldn’t help wondering what her bra size was. I bought a scarf outside as a souvenir and it hung on my wall for years.

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Maybe I should have been wearing my AC/DC scarf rather than hanging it up.

ACDC2001.jpgI next saw AC/DC at Milton Keynes Bowl. It was a warm day and an all ages friendly crowd. The weekend after I saw an AC/DC tribute band at the Red Lion in Abingdon, meaning I spent two weekends in a white school shirt and tie. I never went to a school where you had to wear a uniform so for me this was a novelty.

AC/DC consistently pop up in my life in little ways. I love it when you go into a pub and they have AC/DC on the jukebox. You know you’re musically safe. Or when you’re chatting to a friend in the supermarket and a Back In Black ringtone is heard and both of you go for your phone. You realise you both have the same ringtone because that riff is so perfect.

AC/DC were part of my big day too. I spent the first four minutes of my married life accompanied by Malcolm’s lyrics. The music we chose as the recessional music (the bit after you have got married and you are walking out of the room as a married couple) was “Up To My Neck In You”.

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We know AC/DC is about to happen

The number of AC/DC tribute bands currently gigging is a testament to how much people want to play and hear their music. The song writing talent of Malcolm Young was phenomenal. A list on Wikipedia has 93 songs penned by him or with him as a co-writer! He was both prolific and poetic.

The music will certainly live on. I saw dirtyACkDC earlier this year and adored their close to the original, enthusiastic performance. I love watching when women dance to “You Shook Me All Night Long”, it’s so primal and is a template for exactly what good hard rock should be.

Thank you Malcolm, you’ve been a constant feature in my ears and your words and music will continue to be so.