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MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
Last night was a bit of a mad one for me, and I wanna tell you about it.
The truth is, I’ve always hated Christmas. I’m sure when Coca Cola invented it two thousand years ago they had good intentions, but in recent years Christmas has become an over commercialised mess. In his masterpiece “The Muppet Christmas Carol” Charles Dickens taught us that Christmas is about love and kindness and Kermit the Frog. But all that seems to have been lost. Instead of Christmas summoning the better sides of our nature, it teases out the worst aspects of our characters –our rapacious greed and our insatiable desire to DESTROY our grandparents at Guess Who. To quote another one of Dickens’s masterpieces, “What’s wrong with the world Momma?”
Where is the love?
And some of you think it’s clear where the love Is. You’ll point to the latest tear-jerking John Lewis advert and you’ll say, “There it is, Eric. There’s the love.” I won’t respond. “Eric, there’s the love, right there in the eyes of that little boy who just got his first piano.” I still won’t respond. “Come on, Eric, can’t you see the love is right there in little Elton John’s face…” You’ll begin poking me. “Eric… Eric are you breathing??” *dials phone* “Hi, I need an ambulance, he’s not responding at all... Oh god oh god please say something, Eric…” *intense weeping begins* “If you’re trying to make some kind of point, then you’ve made it, please say something, please…”
Well, I’m sorry for the panic, but I am trying to make a point. The point is John Lewis and other companies making these adverts don’t care about love, they care about money. I’d like to say they just use sentimentality as a cheap way to disguise their motives. But it’s actually much worse and more insidious than that. Their bigger project is to completely reprogram our minds – their ultimate aim to make love and capitalist consumption one and the same. In the future, when we want to say the magic words “I love you” to our latest squeeze, those words will mean absolutely nothing unless they’re also accompanied by a brand new Amazon Echo and a pair of Beats by Dre.
Well that was my frame of mind before last night. But something happened that completely changed my perspective. I was awoken in the night. “Fuck off, Santa,” I said, eyes half closed. “I can’t be arsed with it this year.” But when I opened my eyes fully, I realised it wasn’t Santa. It was actually The Ghost of Christmas Past.
The ghost showed me a flashback from around 3 or 4 years ago. I was at one of Jeremy Corbyn’s rallies, proper getting into it. I was shouting out “Jez we can!” and standing next to me was my ex-girlfriend Belle. Oh, how I loved her so. We’d only been together for a few months at this point but we fell in love and we were engaged to be married. But in the flashback she looks right pissed off at me. I remembered how I’d dragged her to that rally when we were supposed to go shopping for laptops that day instead. She left me shortly afterwards, telling me it wasn’t gonna work out because of how obsessed I was with anti-consumerist ideals. The Ghost then showed her transform into a fully-grown woman, married to a hedge-fund manager called Brian, totally besotted with a brand new Macbook Pro he’d bought her. I began to weep.
Next I was visited by The Ghost of Christmas Present. I saw a man in distress. You might think that man was me, but it wasn’t. It was a comedian I know called Paul Savage. Through no fault of his own, he isn’t very funny, so he’s not earned much money this year. Because of his poverty, Paul actually lives on the canal in Birmingham on a boat – which is ironic, because in the eyes of the comedy industry, Paul’s ship has sailed. Over a decade in the business and absolutely nothing to show for it, Paul’s comedy is a bit like the Titanic – in that I’ve never watched more than 10 minutes of it because it’s soooo boring.
Even sadder than all this is the fact that Paul has a really sick child called Tiny Tim. I’m not sure what his illness is, but he wears crutches and coughs a lot and it’s sad. Paul can’t afford to buy Tim expensive presents, so he decided to put lots of thought and love into his gifts instead – he drew comic book strips, wrote some short stories, he even wrote a song, all based on his relationship with his son. In the vision the Ghost presented to me, Tiny Tim thought Paul’s presents were fucking shit. He doesn’t want love, Tiny Tim wants an iPhone like the rest of his mates. It’s heart-breaking.
Finally, a third spirit, called The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come showed me a scene from the future. It was set in a shopping centre. There were people outside a Nike store, discussing the death of a local socialist, laughing and seemingly rejoicing in the fact this person had reached their end. In the middle of the shopping centre, some sort of service was taking place. The voice of Amazon’s Alexa was reading out what appeared to be a Eulogy. Except it was less like a Eulogy and more like a roast; Alexa was completely ripping into this guy as the crowd of consumers laughed. The scene panned towards a giant Ipad that read, “Today is the funeral of Eric Rushton, local twat.”
“No!” I screamed. “This can’t be my fate; this can’t be what becomes of me!”
The Ghost told me that unless I changed my ways, I was doomed to a life of misery, public scorn, and worst of all involuntary celibacy. The future was about consumption and I had to realise that if I wanted to have any sort of live worth living.
But how do I play this game? How do I do my part? How do I do my bit to fuel the completely healthy world of mindless consumption that detaches us from our actual emotions?
And then it hit me: I can turn this story into an episode of my unrecorded podcast. That’s content baby! That will lead to consumption! I could even get a sponsor. And so I’m delighted to announce that this new Christmas series of my podcast “Comedians Outside Edinburgh Getting Gingerbread Lattes” is brought to you by John Lewis.
I woke up this morning full of Heinz beans and I felt like I had another chance again. I pressed the bed to make sure it was real and I started laughing – I felt as giddy as a drunken man. Opening my curtains wide, there was a young boy standing on the street. “It’s Christmas Mr. Rushton!” He shouted up to me. “I know lad! I know!” I shouted back, still laughing.
But there was still something I wanted to fix. I told the child to wait there and I went and got some money. It was a wad of £500 that I had for some reason. “Use this money to buy the biggest, juiciest iPhone you can find lad and deliver it to Paul Savage. Tell him it’s for Tiny Tim.”
And so I sent him on his way, and all day I’ve been full of life again. I can’t wait to shop and live life properly, the way society expects me to. I’m a changed man and I hope this tale can help others to see the light too.
Please never ever forget the true meaning of Christmas: buying and consuming stuff.
All this week I’ll be bringing you more episodes of my new series “Comedians Outside Edinburgh Getting Gingerbread Lattes” and I can’t wait. Make sure you keep shopping and keep tuning in! X
P.S. I’ve not heard back from that kid I gave £500 cash to yet, but I’m sure it’ll all work out fine.