I confess, I found myself today, by accident, inadvertantly and beyond all reasonable control, watching the Jeremy Kyle Show. As we know, Jeremy Kyle is the King of the Chavs, so the programme meant very little to me.
However, it is not about that that I write. In the middle of the social anthropology lesson that unfolded before my eyes as I tidied the house, there was an advert - from DFS. In itself it is not a remarkable thing, and as you read this, you are likely wondering what an advert from DFS and a bottom be-needled has to do with the price of fish.
The DFS advert in question was for its Christmas campaign - so the normal muzak was suffused with donging chimes and jingling sleigh-bells, with a merry arborfeature behind the funky furnishings, as is the wont of the marketting men when trying to evoke the festive season for us mere mortals.
But it works. It works like that bloody awful song by Slade works (yes, Nobby, it's Chriiiiiiiiiismasssss), like 'Pipes of Peace' works, like Troika works, like anything crooned by Sir Cliff works - (though not Jona Lewie - as 'Stop the Cavalry' was released in summer in France and other places, so how it ever became synonymous with Chr ... oh yes, it has sleigh-bells for two seconds) - the case for the prosecution is complete, M'lud. The DFS marketting men, like so many in their trade, have recognised that some things have become instinctive - we are the Yuletide Pavlov's Dogs - ding a dong and we crave turkey and family discord.
The first such dingy-dongy Christmas advert was witnessed my your humble servant, the Vernacular Curate if you please, 26 days after the end of the school summer holiday. I am an uber-cynic, but I am nonetheless a fan of Christmas - I am not divorced from the childlike expectation, the inner euphoria of its prospect, the enjoyment of the evocation of Christmas night and crackling fires, and yes, the breathtaking moment when we herald Christmas, the Incarnation and all that is perfect and hopeful about the baby Jesus at that service in the middle of the night. I get excited, in October, in November and all through December.
My excitement is always tempered with a murmering worry - what if I become immune to the effect of Christmas because of collosal over-exposure? What if the year comes when I am sick to the back teeth of Christmas by mid December, wishing it over and gone?
I like my Christmas drug, I love it, and under its effects I too can be a child inside - and for a grunt like me, that is a rare privilege. What I fear is heightened immunity and enhance resistance to it - I fear the loss of my Christmas.