Everything wrong with the UK in one handy image

It’s Boxing Day today which means for me, a day slobbed out trying to whittle down my Netflix list, but one image from Christmas Day is standing out because nothing says ‘poverty is a bad thing’ than a multi millionaire born into inherited wealth, power and privilege sitting in front of a golden piano.

For those saying ‘ah well, it wasn’t her choice to be born into that life‘, no it wasn’t but it is her choice to remain in it taking all the advantages and associated privileges coming from it.

We’ve suffered a decade of austerity and cuts since 2008 which was turbo-charged in 2010 with the advent of the coalition government between the Tories and Lib Dems. In 2018 we face the oncoming storm of Brexit which will ensure austerity is the norm forever for large parts of the UK, and there’s The Queen saying ‘poverty is bad, m’kay‘ in a room which could fund a hospital near you.

If there’s ever going to be a better picture as to why Britain and all it’s outdated, unequal ‘traditions’ needs to end it’ll always be this picture. Have a great Boxing Day folks…

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Last Christmas…

So here’s Christmas Day coming upon us with the annual day of ingesting as much food and drink as the human stomach and bladder can take. It is however going to be the last decent Christmas before all the shite that’s been brewing up not just for the last few years but since the crash in 2008, hits like a sledgehammer. There’s a perfect storm coming that mixes the long term effects of austerity and the oncoming effects of Brexit so people are right to enjoy what they can.

Sorry to be a downer but hopefully some sanity returns but I doubt it, so slap another turkey leg in your wine-filled mouth while avoiding the Queen’s Speech, and enjoy the day but really, Superman put it the best.

Merry Christmas! We’ve made it this far…

We all thought 2016 was a constant kick in the bollocks and 2017 would be a shining beacon of hope, but instead we’ve been fooled as 2017 has beaten us to the ground as Brexit, Donald Trump, and simply loads more things forced themselves on us. Indeed, it feels as if we’re lucky not to have turkey with nuclear fallout trimmings.

But we’re here. It may be grim, but for a few days we’re going to be eating and drinking our faces off while escaping reality for a short time before the grim relentless horror of reality glasses us across the face soon enough.

So happy Christmas.Enjoy yourselves!

The forthcoming horror of Christmas

I popped into a shop today. This is what it was like.

The horror, the horror…

 

For more comics like this please follow John Cullen here as he’s quite simply one of the best cartoonists working today. Chuck him some dosh too because good artists simply need support.

Merry Christmas everyone, with some exceptions…

Merry Christmas everybody, apart from Donald Trump.You can fuck off, and Nigel Farage can develop a painful bowel condition. Theresa May and her band of psycho Tories can march into the sea, and if Piers Morgan pops his clogs by Hogmanay then the hordes of worthwhile people we’ve lost in 2016 are somewhat balanced out.

 

Still, it is Christmas, so apart from the Brexiters, the Trumpettes, the xenophobes, the arseholes and the Daily Mail readers, have a great day. Here’s a wee treat for you too…

The horror of the Christmas jumper

Once upon a time the Christmas jumper was something we’d not be that bothered about. Your gran, or aunt would give you a jumper for Criggy, you’d wear it once, maybe twice, and then it’d vanish into a drawer to be pulled out only when it was freezing. Over the course of the 21st century the Christmas jumper has become the ironic Christmas party item for mainly, arseholes.

celebrity-christmas-jumper-top-best-cheap-cheapest-fearne-cotton-lauren-conrad-one-direction-harry-styles-justin-bieber-ironic-funny

See, there’s no way you could wear something like that without marking yourself out as a dick. The sort of person who enters a pub and orders a Guinness last while clicking their fingers as barstaff that work harder than they’ve ever done in their lives.

Today is Christmas Jumper Day which at least tries to raise money for Save the Children, but the streets are full of ironic jumpers worn by people with haircuts that wouldn’t look out of place in a Final Fantasy game. So please, give the Christmas jumper a dignified funeral, or if you do get one for Christmas, treat it as a gift from someone who gives a fuck about you as opposed to something sneery you can stick on your Instagram for snarky likes.

Merry bloody Christmas.

My top 30 Christmas things….

Even someone as battle-hardened as myself isn’t invulnerable to Christmas and over the years I’ve got a list of various things that I love that makes me enjoy Christmas. This is a changeable list every year, but right here now this is a list of films, TV programmes and music that is my idea of Christmas joy.

30/ The Ramones-Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)

The Ramones in the 80’s were a patchy affair from their 70’s peak, but they still made great tunes and this little oddity from them is a great tune.

29/ David Bowie and Bing Crosby-Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth.

It’s Bowie still in his pomp, and still clearly on one matey. It’s Bing Crosby looking a wee bit confused. It’s one of the oddest, but greatest Christmas records ever.

28/ The Star Wars Holiday Special.

I first saw this thing at a SF convention in the 80’s in Glasgow. It’s appalling but it draws you in just to see how much worse it can get. It is however worth it just to see how totally muntered Carrie Fisher is.

27/ Batman Returns

The first of three Tim Burton related things here. Batman Returns is the only Batman film so far to tap into the perverse Gothic nature of Batman and his universe, and it’s set at Christmas!

26/ The Office Christmas Special

Ricky Gervais’s David Brent character had grown tired (that bloody dance!) during The Office’s second series, and the plan to end the programme with a pair of Christmas specials was the right decision. It was a pretty perfect ending.

25/ Glasvegas-  A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss) EP

This isn’t going to be the first Glasgow Indie band on this list. This EP is a modern classic, and the title track is glorious.

24/ Only Fools and Horses Christmas Specials 1996

Most comedy programmes don’t get to have an ending, much less one that everyone thinks is a perfect ending. Only Fools and Horses did as Del and Rodney finally made it big. Then they fucked it all by bringing them back but lets not talk of that ever again….

23/ Tales From the Crypt (1972)

Tales From the Crypt is an adaptation of several classic EC Comics stories, and this one starring Joan Collins as a total and utter bitch is glorious. There’s more horror to come on this list, a lot more….

22/ Black Christmas (1974)

This pre-Halloween slasher film is a gem of a film. It’s more or less following the template of every slasher film ever years before that template became cast in stone. It’s also a great film. The remake isn’t a great film.

21/ Greg Lake- I Believe In Father Christmas

The 1970’s were a shining Golden Age of the Christmas single and this one has a fantastic cynicism hiding behind the jolly Phil Spector-esque sound.

20/ John Lennon- Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

The 1970’s really did smash out some great Christmas songs didn’t it?

19/ Lethal Weapon.

In the same way the 1970’s were a shining Golden Age for Christmas singles, the 1980’s were a shining Golden Age for action films. The first Lethal Weapon is set at Christmas and is one of the best action films of the era, not to mention it stars Mel Gibson before he became your old racist relative you don’t talk to at Christmas.

18/ The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Specials

During the 1960’s and 1970’s the comedy double act Morecambe and Wise produced a Christmas special every year that was their A-list material. Sadly the BBC seemed to have purged YouTube of their best work at their peak in the mid-70’s before they went to ITV and declined as used to be the case when performers moved over. This clip though is from the 1969 special and features Fenella Fielding….

17/ Edward Scissorhands

Remember when the idea of a Tim Burton directed film starring Johnny Depp was a thing of excitement and not something that made your heart sink? Edward Scissorhands is simply one of Burton’s best films as it mixes satire, comedy, horror, romance and Christmas all in one fantastic mix.

16/ A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector

Remember when Phil Spector wasn’t in prison for murder but instead was just a musical genius, albeit one that was an abusive arsehole? This oddity is simply the finest Christmas album ever. Just try to disassociate the man from the work….

15/ The Wizard of Oz

There’s nothing Christmassy in this film but for a certain generation of people in the UK who first saw this as a wee child in the 1970’s this is forever locked into being an essential part of Christmas.

14/ The Great Escape

If there’s one single film that screams ‘British bank holiday entertainment’ it’s The Great Escape. It’s the easy fix for TV schedulers as you stick this one and bingo! You’ve filled nearly three hours so you can go on the lash for a bit!

13/ Brazil

Most people forget that Terry Gilliam’s brilliant Brazil is actually a Christmas film. It actually says more about the modern age of Christmas consumerism than anything else I can think of, and that’s the last and only bit of political comment on this list…

12/ Scrooge (1951)

There’s a load of adaptations of DIckens’s A Christmas Carol out there, but this post-war version from 1951 starring Alistair Sim is by far the greatest version. It’s one of those films that’s unanimously considered a classic.

11/ Trading Places

Dan Ackroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis and Eddie Murphy are all at the peak of their game in this classic John Landis film. It’s also one of the best comedy films of all time, not to mention for teenage boys of a certain age it contains the most fantastic scene ever…

10/ The Nightmare Before Christmas

This Tim Burton produced film directed by Henry Selick has become a modern day Christmas classic because it’s something so original and different, but yet still manages to feel like a traditional Christmas film.

9/ Cocteau Twins-Winter Wonderland/Frosty the Snowman

The second Glaswegian band on this list produced in 1993 the EP, Snow, which was a Christmas release from one of the last bands you’d imagine doing a Christmas release. I’ve included both songs as they’re the most lovely versions of the songs you’ll hear.

8/ The Snowman.

Back when Channel 4 produced brilliant stuff all the time rather than endless game shows featuring crap comedians, they produced this classic adaptation of the Raymond Briggs comic. The version above is the original version including the sometimes edited out David Bowie introduction that for me, helps set up the animation brilliantly.

7/ It’s A Wonderful Life

It’s the ending of this film that’s made it so loved, but it’s all the dark horrible stuff that leads up to that ending that makes it worthwhile. You earn that happy ending.

6/ M R James’ Whistle And I’ll Come To You

Thanks to the Victorians and M.R. James the idea of the ghost story has become a Christmas tradition. This is the best filmed version of a James story, and is still utterly terrifying.

5/ Scrooged.

This updated 1980’s version of A Christmas Carol stars Bill Murray and for a while was a bit of a hidden gem but over the last decade or so, Scrooged has rightfully taken its place as one of the few versions in the modern era that adapted the source work for the modern age so perfectly that it’s easy to forget this comes from Dickens and the Victorian age. Even today some 25 or so years later it still has something to say.

4/ The Pogues- Fairytale of New York

Yeah, not a lot to be said about this. It’s flawless. It’s a song that can be easily played at any time of the year, not just Christmas and there’s no other Christmas song I can think of where that’s possible.

3/ Die Hard.

Die Hard is a Christmas film. It’s got a happy ending where the hero and his wife drive off into the Californian sunrise as it snows, well, it snows millions of dollars in paper bonds. Of course Bruce Willis has to go through hell and fight for the love and trust of his wife who he’s been estranged from, It’s also a film that has barely got an ounce of fat on it, so nothing is wasted in this film, not to mention in this first film John McClane isn’t a superhero as he is in later films, but an ordinary man trying to get out of an extraordinary situation. That’s I think the attraction of this. Any of us can put ourselves in McClane’s position, that and of course it’s just a bloody good film.

2/ Slade-Merry Christmas Everybody

It’s not Christmas til you hear Noddy Holder scream ”It’s CHRISTMAS”. Of course once you hear this for the first time in the year (normally around the first of December) you’re sick of the sound of it, but then 11 months later when you hear it again the following year for the first time you’re transported back to that Golden Age of Christmas songs from the 1970’s. Just try not to remember power cuts, flares and Jimmy Savile….

1/ Wizzard- I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday

In the 1970’s men from the Black Country strode across popular culture like giants, and for me, none more so than Roy Wood. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday is perfect. Imagine today if people sung with Brummie accents on pop songs? It’s the cheery joy and goodwill dripping from this that makes it impossible to not hum along with regardless of where you hear it. There’s few songs that are so timeless that in a century it’ll still be played over and over every single December for as long as humanity celebrates Christmas.

And that’s it for my little list. I’m having a very, very, very, very quiet Christmas this year to recharge my batteries ahead of a very potentially hectic January, so a word of thanks to people that’ve supported my efforts here this year and may everyone have a happy Christmas and I hope everyone gets what they wish for…..