Hark my dear ladies and gentlefolk, do you feel something rather splendiferous coming? Something immensiful, magtabnible and ruddybluddyfantasmagorical?! That change in the air that seems to chill you to the bone whilst simultaneously roasting the cockles of your heart. It’s that special time of year again when you fly over from New York to LA to see your estranged wife at her work Christmas party only for the building to be ransacked by Alan Rickman and his gang of Gruber goons, your wife and all of her colleagues kidnapped and you stuck right in the middle trying to take them all on one at a time – talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time…Oh wait, that’s Die Hard again isn’t it? DAMN! I guess that means it’s just regular boring old….CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes it’s taken us a little bit longer to really get into the festive spirit on this site (although don’t mention that word around Barrone or he’ll bite your face off!) because as you know, and I’m sure you’re all very tired of us using this excuse but come on we’ve gotta try and hype ourselves up somehow GEEZ-STEPHANEEZE, we’ve been busy in the studio – unfortunately not recording an album of Xmas choons L – but recording our first LP which we’re all very excited about and though it won’t be out for a while (see L’s Bells blog below) I’m sure we’ll be giving you a few sneaky hints along the way so keep your noses to the grindstone and follow your pancreas buckaroo.
< I just have to apologise for the terrible punctuation of that sentence/paragraph – what a bloody mess. My English lit teacher would have had my balls skewered on a bicycle for that>
<I would like to again apologise as my English Lit teachers were actually all pretty nice but it’s more fun to perpetuate the sadistic schoolteacher stereotype for the purposes of this blog>
<But I digress>
For me it was Sunday that the spirit of Christmas really etched itself into my consciousness. We’ve had our flat decked out in Christmas gear for a few weeks (expect some Christmassy pics of us larking about soon I’d imagine – hopefully Kier will be fully clothed in them but I can’t promise anything peoploids) and we went Xmas shopping on Sunday and everytime I’ve been to a coffee shop I’ve had some stupidly overpriced variation on the normal Latte just because it’s ‘Festive’ (my favourites are Costa’s gingerbread latte’s – SCORE!) but it wasn’t until we stuck on ‘A Muppet’s Christmas Carol’ yesterday afternoon that it all really hit me. I did a blog about the film last year as it is hands down my favourite purely-christmassy (and muppety) film but I thought I’d bring it up again because it really encompasses all that Christmas is to me now in one film.
Now we started the day watching Disney’s Hercules (amazing by the way – deserves a blog of it’s own really) so we were already in ‘a trip down memory lane’ territory and nostalgia was engulfing me as though it was the sphincter of a plump Christmas goose and I was but a small dollop of sage and onion stuffing. Then we wapped on Muppets Christmas Carol and that was it man I was gone, it was like I’d travelled back some 15 or so years to when I was still young, innocent and even more of a weiner. It brought all the memories back of getting excited about the possibility of Old Saint Nick coming in through the window (we don’t have a chimney so unless he brought his own he’d have to be going the burglar route wearing sausages on his fingers and a beef burger on each palm) and dropping off some boxes of Christmas cheer that me and my family would open together before making sure that we spent the whole day together celebrating, playing games and being merry. You can’t help but be pricked with the knife-point of Xmas cheer when you watch this movie!
The beauty of it, like all great family films, is that it has something for everyone. When I was younger maybe I enjoyed more the Rizzo/Gonzo slapstick banter (which I still love by the way, don’t want anyone thinking I’m hating on Gonzo – my favourite of all muppetry delights) but now I can appreciate the brilliance of the design (the fact that if you just saw the scene of Scrooge checking his bedchamber for assailants you could easily mistake it for some gothic period piece and not suddenly have cuddly muppets jumping around) and the fact that some of the creatures are genuinely disturbing – not just the obvious Ghost of Christmas future (a fantastic reaper, chilling and stylised as it looms over Michael Caine’s ever more cowardly and repentant Scrooge) but the Elfin/childlike Ghost of Christmas Past where you can really tell that this is the same crew behind Labyrinth and Dark Crystal. Plus you’ve gotta love a rat making a pun about ASSets – doesn’t get any sexier than that ;).
Then there’s that tragic element that is so much a part of Christmas – even if it’s not used to sell Coca Cola – which I guess was probably bestowed upon the festive season by Dickens himself with the release of his original story. The melancholy of Christmas becomes more obvious with every passing year, when I was a little ‘un it seemed like things would never change, friends and family would always be united and nothing cemented that more than Christmas – a time of togetherness and celebration with those you love. But the passage of time has a way of changing things, important people in your life come and go, you leave home and start a life of your own and that traditional image of Christmas slips further and further away and even though it’s still a highlight of the year – some of the innocence and wonder slips away. Maybe it’s just my slightly morbid outlook on life but I kind of like finding the sorrow behind something supposedly so wondrous, it resonates even more profoundly than just trying to pretend that everything in the world is perfect and sugary sweet. I mean listen to Prince’s ‘Another Lonely Christmas’ it’s haunting, mournful and yet – as Nobby himself might say – IT’S CHRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISTMAS!!! through and through (and check that song out by the way – you won’t find it on an Xmas playlist but it’s fantasmical). Even Wham’s classic Karaoke hit ‘Last Christmas’, which is on every single bloody Now Christmas ’97 style compilation CD, is all about heartbreak sister – and that’s the gospel truth (seriously, Hercules is the shiz yo).
It’s something that the MCC (finally decided on an abbreviation to save me some serious word count Holmes…except this explanation has taken up more of my time, more of my words, and more of my mana….DAMN!) perfectly. I think a lot of the reason it hits home and makes me well up like an oily (oily?!) sponge more than most films (for other films that get Wooly weepy see Moulin Rouge, The Dark Knight – yes that’s right Ma fukka, The Dark knight, sue me it’s just to awesome to remain bone-dry – among many others – yes I know, i am a weiner) is that you’ve got a classic story laced with heavy, literary themes – death, bitterness, disillusionment– in a gothic, sometimes supernatural setting…with a cast of colourful, childish characters that aren’t quite mops and aren’t quite puppets but man!…and so on. It’s that clash of innocence and cynicism that makes MCC a classic family film like all the greats before and after (see the last 20minutes of Toy Story 3 and if you don’t start at least welling up you must be a fracking Sith Lord!). But before you think MCC is some Uber-gloom fest that Wooly’s been watching – HOLD YOUR HORSETTE SUNSHINE! because the icing on the cake is that the Christmas carol tale is all about a man – cruel, embittered and lonely – accepting that life, you know, ain’t exactly all rosy and delicious but just adding to misery will never get you even and will never leave you happy and maybe, just maybe, you can do something about it, you don’t have to settle for the cards you’ve been dealt, you can be something more – all you have to do is try. It’s cliché and romantic and blah blah blah but hey ho Johnny Snow it’s Christmas – anything can happen, we’ve just got to not sit on our bums and go out there and grab that shiny roast carrot!
God another long one, if you made it through that and it made even a tiny bit of sense I thank and commend you, now let’s get this Christmas party started – as the Muppety Ghost of Christmas Present would sing with joy in his heart:
It is the season of the heart
A special time of caring
The ways of love made clear
It is the season of the spirit
The message if we hear it
Is make it last all year
… but hey, I haven’t even seen It’s a Wonderful Life before so what the hell do I know?!
MERRY XMAS YOU WONDERFUL FOLKSTERS!xxxxxxxxxxx