Christmas Eve

Want to feel the Christmas spirit? There's a beautiful seasonal poem over at Ralph Murre's blog ( ) that might get you in the mood. I wish I could write with that kind of grace and maturity!

I'm off to London for the day on a work-related mission. Getting a bus half way and then training into the smoke. I'd rather go all the way on the train, but it seems the great iron horse won't be passing through little Northampton on Christmas Eve. Well, I can't blame the rail company. I wouldn't be passing through Northampton if I had the choice either. I'd be staying at home, drinking too much, taking a cold back country walk, lying in front of the television getting depressed etc. etc.--all the things I like to do best.
When I get to London I probably won't stay long. In fact, I may just do the deed I have to do, then turn around and come home again. It's what I did last year when I was in the same situation. I always intend to make the most of the fact that my work are paying me to travel to the city I love, but at Christmas the freezing weather and the crowds are just too much. I have so many issues with the capitalist free-for-all that Christmas has become, I want to get on a box like John the Baptist or some drunken nut and yell at everybody for letting themselves be hoodwinked so completely. Which I have no more right to do than anybody else, being a "tragic figure," according to one correspondent on this page, but there you are. Like that correspondent, I hide behind a keyboard and sling my self-righteous insults.

Listening to the news this morning as I was drinking coffee and trying to wake up, I remembered: it used to be a joke among us cynics that at Christmas, the news programmes would suddenly rediscover their collective conscience and pack their airtime with stories about abandoned animals and the homeless. But that doesn't happen anymore. All you get in 2006 are stories about Christmas shopping on the high street and what it means for business and the economy (oh, and the usual stories about the war, and America picking on Muslim countries.) It's represents an obvious a shift in the priorities of our society in the last 20 or so years: back then you at least had to pretend that Christmas had something to do with religion; now you don't even have to do that. Which is more honest, in a way, but it's also very sad. Am I the only one who doesn't want to live in a society where the highest aspiration a man is supposed to have is to acquire more and more and more stuff?

Yes, I know, bah humbug. But the Christmas they want you to have sucks.
Buy NOTHING. If you have spare cash, give it to someone who needs it.
Tell somebody how precious they are to you.
Shut your eyes and try to feel the presence of a divine spirit.
That's Christmas. This is just shopping.


Anonymous said…

I couldn't agree more with your comments about Christmas. I'm not a religious man in the slightest, but there are one or two things that actually cause me to feel just touch of that divine spirit. One of them can be found at the following link, which takes you to Jordan's Elvis World:

If you haven't been to this particular part of Jordan's site before, it's worth a visit. Listen to just 3 of the short tracks there, "Sweet sweet spirit", "Lead me, guide me" and "Nearer my God to thee". They were recorded during a break in rehearsals for the Elvis On Tour movie, when Elvis and his backing singers sang a few gospel songs, with no instrumentation, for the sheer love of the songs, and for God. They're not Christmas songs, but they're pure inspiration for a bit of much needed Christmas spirit, because they encapsulate the simple, genuine religous feelings of a group of deeply religious men.

Happy Christmas, bro.

Ralph Murre said…
Merry Christmas, Bruce, and thank you for the gift of your writing, which always provokes thought. And thank you for the wonderful reference to my blog.

- Ralph
Bobby said…
...calling in sick for all family holiday obligations... will probably just drink and read on the internet and watch movies I've already seen many times. I can barely get into the book store and get coffee with all the Christmas shoppers.

Have a good one, man. A good whatever. I'll probably do a drive-by comment on you tomorrow too.

Bruce Hodder said…
I have been to Jordan's site. It's amazing, perhaps the place all music fans need to go before they have a complete understanding of who Elvis was as a performer. I haven't checked those particular tracks, but I know "Sweet Sweet Spirit" from the "On Tour" movie itself, where it's sung--with spine-tingling beauty--by JD Sumner and the Stamps. Remember that moment? You get to watch Elvis listen to them and he is visibly moved by their incredible performance. I wonder all the time about the existence of God--contrary to what some have assumed reading this blog I have strong Christian sympathies--but when JD and the Stamps get going on "Sweet Sweet Spirit" I can feel some sort of divine presence in the room with me. I felt the same thing at a funeral once, for a guy I worked with. But enough of my theological meanderings!
I really hope we can get together soon. Now I've stopped my wanderings temporarily perhaps we can make it soon. Though synchronising diaries is always a challenge.
(I love it when family members contribute to this page. Makes me proud as hell of what we're achieving here, for some reason.)
Bruce Hodder said…
You remain an example to us all--but especially me--of rational, mature, non-sociopathic, elegant thought, and you are a very fine poet. I feel lucky to have crossed your path. Happy Christmas to you and your family.
Bruce Hodder said…
Hey Bob,
Every time I'm in a rush and try to take a quick trip over to Skullbolt, my security programme shuts me out. I need to find a way to permanently allow your site or I'll never get over there again! And it does contain some of the best writing on the web.
Happy Christmas to you, dude, and let's keep this strange trans-Atlantic relationship going into '07.
domestic empire said…
The spirit of 'Goodwill To All' is for life not just Christmas...pass it on!

Now....can I have a puppy?
Bruce Hodder said…
Only if you promise to look after it.

Welcome back, Gary. How's your life?
Anonymous said…
A few months ago the Australian prime minister came out and said that it should be every Australian's dream to own a Rolls Royce.

This is what we're up against.
Bruce Hodder said…
Bloody hell, Glenn, I never knew that. What a repulsive thing for a prime minister to say.

Sometimes I think history will look back on these times as a new Dark Ages.
Bobby said…
My page is not loading on your machine? I wonder if that's happening with other people. Nobody's coming by lately. I thought it was because I'd gone too far into the weird, scary, worthless places in my head.
Bruce Hodder said…
Ha, B. those places are the only places worth going.
Anonymous said…
This was a great post. I especially liked the part about me. (keels over laughing)
Bruce Hodder said…
Glad I amused you.
Anonymous said…
Me, too!