What’s on in Edinburgh This Week? Fucking Christmas, that’s What

It’s just vaguely possible that there are some amazing gigs taking place somewhere I know not where in Edinburgh this week, but in all honestly I do not give a tinker’s cuss.  It’s Christmas, you should all either be wrapping presents, buying the bastards, or just cooking something nice and stopping in with friends and family with some nice music.  Far be it from me to lecture people on how to enjoy themselves but… well, you know me well enough by now, I’m going to do it anyway aren’t I.

So honestly, balls to gigs this week, there’s really no point in worrying about them is there, it’s just not what this time of year is for.  I’ve seen a few emails recently saying things like Happy Holidays and people making reference to non-denominational Winter whateverthefucktheywereonabout and all that, and I know they mean well, but fucking hell, I am about as uncompromising an atheist as you’ll meet (ie I find it very hard not to see religious belief as a form of learning disability) but Christmas?  It’s not even a fucking Christian holiday.

I’ve never been offended by being wished happy anything, and I went to a school where that might have been Ramadan, Chinese New Year, Chanukah, Christmas, some solstice or other, or whatever the fuck else.  Who fucking cares?  It’s just a greeting and someone wishing you well, get the hell over it you fucking coward.  As long as no-one asks you to personally give a shit, then someone else having different beliefs to yours and celebrating their own festivals does not fucking oppress you.  So yeah, happy Christmas, whatever.

Personally, apart from the Pagan celebration of light in the darkness of Winter, which has a rather magical quality of its own, just symbolically, I couldn’t care less about the religious implications of Christmas.  It’s not a Christian festival, it was simply adopted by the Christians because they realised that they had far more chance of foisting their religious babble on populations they wished to convert if they respected and adapted to existing rituals, it has nothing to do with anything in the fucking Bible and anyone who tells you that ‘Jesus is the reason for the season’ is basically a fucking idiot.

Apart from those of us in the Northern Hemisphere needing the celebration of light and warmth to combat the cold and the snow and increasing absence of sunlight (welcome to the shortest day of the year, incidentally) there is another big benefit to the Christmas and New Year period which I really appreciate.  It’s the punctuation of the year.  One thing about living in a society which is still fairly homgenous is that the Christmas and New Year breaks are pretty much celebrated by everyone, or at least acknowledged by everyone, and consequently pretty much all of society just stops and pauses for breath.

Life gets pretty fucking hectic, and things develop a sort of helter skelter momentum of their own and you can go on holiday, but the fact that you and everyone around you kind of has to take a break and put their feet up for a week seems to punctuate the natural forwards motion of life for just long enough.  So as long as you can ignore the rapacious commercialism and observe the break on your own terms, something I have very little difficulty in doing, then that week just stopping and doing nothing, looking back on where you were this time last year and musing on where you might be this time next year is just a relaxing, peaceful and nurturing way to recharge the batteries and draw breath before it all goes mental in the New Year again.  Which it always does.

So I’ll appreciate the next couple of weeks and all the silly rituals people, including myself, choose to observe.  It’ll be nice just to do nothing for a while and feel no guilt about it whatsoever.

Burl Ives – Wayfaring Stranger
[audio:http://songbytoad.com/tunes/BurlIves-WayfaringStranger.mp3]

Neko Case – Wayfaring Stranger
[audio:http://songbytoad.com/tunes/NekoCase-WayfaringStranger.mp3]