I was hoping the Mayan Apocalypse would save me from last-minute Christmas shopping, so you can understand how bitter my disappointment is to wake up and find the world still in one piece.
If you gave me a flat choice between Christmas shopping and inhaling caustic soda through my eyes, I’ll go with the corrosive chemical, thanks very much. It seems to be a genetic thing. My son went into town last week to buy all his little stocking-fillers, but instead he got a hamburger and went home. That happens to me all the time: my mind goes blank and I turn into an even bigger blithering idiot than I already am. I get paralysed. I freeze up. I cease to function.
Maybe it’s a man thing. All the women I know have their presents assembled since August. Wrapped up and stacked neatly under the tree. All the men I know are blundering around like the Living Dead, randomly picking expensive hand creams off shelves in shops they’d never dream of frequenting at any other time of the year.
So much for the ancient hunter-gatherer in us. I don’t believe any of that shit about our savannah-roaming ancestors hunting down antelopes with a spear made from the fangs of a sabre-toothed leopard. I reckon they sat around all day in the cave talking about bladder-ball while the women went out and bought their meat from the bush-butcher.
How much is that leg of wildebeest?
Five coloured pebbles.
What? That’s robbery! I can get it for half the price from Knurgg in the Cut-Price-Wild-Game Cave.
I don’t know any men who like shopping, either at Christmas or any other time of the year, but that isn’t the only horror of the season, since some fool invented the idea of office parties going around in Christmas jumpers and elf suits with antlers on your head, being obnoxious and falling asleep drunk in the ladies’ toilets and puking all over the floor and generally behaving like an utter turd.
I was in an excellent local hostelry last night, Bourke’s Bar in Limerick’s Catherine Street. They do an outstanding Thursday night free session with some of the finest bands in the business and last night saw the return of Pugwash, an excellent and talented bunch of lunatics from Dublin. Admittedly, they are fat bastards. These are the guys for whom the belly-cut was invented, but they’re talented fat bastards and surprisingly polite once you get past their-fat-bastard Dub facade. They’re nice guys.
I was surprised at how easily they conceded when some fool of a woman requested a Christmas song.
Accompanying Pugwash was Ken Stringfellow, formerly of Big Star. Where will you get this on a Thursday night for nothing? Outstanding.
Now, the last time I saw Pugwash in Bourkes, the place was mobbed with people who wanted to hear them, but this time round, the dreaded Christmas factor kicked in, and yes, there was a hard core of people who were there for the music, but we also had to endure wave after wave of inconsiderate idiots in antlers who thought it was acceptable to stand in front of the piano player and talk at the top of their voices.
Unlike my companions, I didn’t know anything about Ken Stringfellow until last night, but I enjoyed his style in two ways. I used to idolise that band, said Wrinkly Joe. The second thing about Ken Stringfellow that impressed me was the way he dealt with chattering, boorish, ill-mannered customers. It’s one gig, two bars. Go outside if you wanna talk.
A little later, when a third wave of antlers and lit-up jumpers rolled in, some airhead twenty-somethings made the mistake of standing in front of two seriously-interested music heads and striking up a conversation. One of -the old crusties made it simple: If you’re not here to listen, you can fuck off. He might as well have slapped them. Twenty-somethings aren’t used to being told NO.
I’ll never understand that level of discourtesy to performing artists and to fellow patrons, that people think it’s ok to stand in front of the stage and talk to each other over the music. Perhaps boorishness has become the new normal. A little after that incident, when yet another crowd of drunken, antlered, light-flashing fools trooped out, two of them deliberately dropped half-full beer-glasses on the ground.
Because they’re idiots.
Anyway, that’s enough of my ranting. Peace and goodwill to all mankind, except for fools in lit-up jumpers, elf outfits and antlers.
Tomorrow is another day of purchasing silly underpants and Groucho Marx glasses.