Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Cometh the hour, cometh the tune

The ever-cynical Demetrius has Christmas in his sights this week - or, more particularly, the excessive consumer spending increasingly promoted as the appropriate way to celebrate the birth of a man who advised his followers to give away their material possessions.
"It is possible that this year it may go beyond simple hyperactivity into manic warp drive of persuasion and almost bullying to make us buy. Governments will need the figures to look “good” that is in a way that suggests that they can buy a little more time before making difficult decisions. Business and banking need our spending as never before."
His post - do read it in full if you haven't already - reflects what I was thinking this afternoon on a rare foray into our local shopping centre, so I shall limit my own contribution to commenting on one aspect of shopping that has made several previous appearances here.

Although it is only November, the usual suspects are already beginning to put in an unwelcome appearance - an exhortation to rock around the Christmas tree or have myself a merry little Christmas is just what I need to enhance my loathing of my fellow man on a foggy afternoon.

But it was a new addition to the well-worn repertoire that caught my ear today and prompted  thoughts of Demetrius' post; a bluesy number sung by B B King (I googled it when I got home, so striking were the words):
Christmas time comes but once a year,
I'm so happy, my kids are happy too,
It'll take the next six months to pay my bills -
When I think about it folks it gives me chills
But I don't care 'cause Christmas comes but once a year. 
There's another verse about having fun - 'I don't care what I have to pay; Let the good times roll' - and the whole thing is on a loop, dripped into the receptive ears of shoppers as they browse the rails of disposable fashion for all the family with a message eerily similar to the consumption-promoting sleep-teaching of Brave New World.

If Demetrius is right, this, along with the much-vaunted, high-profile television adverts, may be the first sign of a brutal softening-up process aimed at brainwashing consumers into unprecedented levels of spending.

(Christmas Comes But Once A Year; lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. )


  1. It's not Christmas until I've walked into a shop, heard 'Walking In The Air' from 'The Snowman' and walked right back out again!

  2. Many thanks, warmly appreciated. If you are looking for cards the Giles RNLI is great!

  3. Julia, you're not alone!

    Demetrius, a good suggestion and one with which I heartily concur.

    For those who feel the Royal Mail has gone too far, the RNLI are doing e-cards too:


    (Prices on a sliding scale, from £1 for 1 to 30p each for 50+)


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