December 2008: Bah Humbuggers

You may not be aware but there is actually a secret society that monitors the movements of Christmas and its associated works.  I myself, of course, am a fully paid up member of the Bah Humbug Club and proud of it. This year, my first complaint came when I spotted a ‘dedicated’ Christmas shop next door to one selling Halloween fare in late October.

You know the type of shop I mean. The one that has tinsel coming out its doors, gaudy musical Santas and gaudier trinkets for the even gaudier trees that it sells. These shops make hay while the snow falls, if you get my drift. Come January, they are closed again for another ten months or so and the proprietors go back on the dole.

These shops prey on people’s sense of season: as do the advertisements on the telly, telling us about holidays that are coming and snowmen walking in the air. It all gets a bit much for me really and the rest of the Bah Humbuggers. Every year the members of the BHC complain about how Christmas starts too early, advertisements are too moody and Christmas music is too loud. All this, and more, came to be discussed in the first annual Bah Humbug Club meeting the other night.
There was a fuller attendance than normal, probably due to the recession. We had some members rejoining us, those weaker ones who lapsed when they made a few bob during the Celtic Tiger, got caught by the Christmas spirit and ended up in the Best Lit-up House competition last Christmas. One broke down as he showed us a photocopy of his electricity bill from January 2008. ‘Imagine’, he sobbed, ‘I’ve been such a fool. That bill is more than the redundancy money that I got when my job went in July.’

Needless to say, he didn’t get much sympathy from the diehards amongst us. We just demanding his membership fee from him and told him he should never have fallen for that type of Christmas malarkey in the first place. After the usual moaning and groaning, the meeting livened up when an emergency motion was put to the committee from the floor. A proposal was made to send a message of congratulations to ‘that fearless woman’ (as it was put by the speaker), one Barbara Heavey from Cork, and inviting her to speak at our next meeting on Christmas Eve.

This woman is the latest heroine in the eyes of the Bah Humbug Club and there was no problem finding a seconder for the motion. She shocked the nation last Friday night by informing Pat Kenny that she couldn’t be bothered to attend the Late Late Toy Show and he could keep his free tickets, thank you very much. To horrified gasps from the audience, Kenny strayed from his script (a rare and dangerous thing for him to do, my sources tell me) and ripped up the tickets there and then, live, on air. ‘There’s your toy show tickets,’ he said, teeth clenched in a forced smile, ‘I will give them to someone who appreciates them …’ Nobody pointed out to him that, as he had already torn them up, it would require some deft sellotaping to get them back into working order, but that’s what happens when Pat strays from a script.

You have to hand it to Barbara. She followed up her ‘insult’ to Pat (who indeed seemed to have taken it personally) by telling a national newspaper that she only entered the competition out of ‘boredom’. We all can sympathise with her on that one.

Poor Pat seems to live on his own little planet, along with his ego (now bruised, no doubt.) He cannot understand how anybody would not want to attend ‘his’ toy show, the same show that doesn’t allow children in the audience but allows Pat to act childishly and foolishly himself in front of adoring adults. On Sunday last, still reeling from the shock of it all, he said that he was at a loss at to why the woman had entered the competition if she didn’t want to attend The Late Late Toy Show. Eh, Pat … hello? It might have something to do with the fact that there was also the small matter ten grand on offer as a prize, five in cash and five in vouchers.

And Pat likened the demand for tickets to his show to the demand for another, less in demand (to his mind), show. ‘Tickets to The Late Late Toy Show are impossible to get’ he ranted ‘no one can buy them. There are people in PR who can get you tickets to Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration. They can’t get tickets to The Late Late Toy Show.’ Right, Pat, right.

And so, it was with a spring in our step that we left the Bah Humbug Club the other night. Sometimes it takes the Barbra Heaveys of this world to remind us Bah Humbuggers why we exist. We are all looking forward to our next meeting when our campaign against ‘Greatest Hits’ CDs by has-been 1970s singers , as well as our efforts to have ‘Fairytale of New York’ banned from the airways will be discussed. I shall keep you informed of developments.

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