Monday, December 18, 2006

It's Chriiissstmmaaasss! # 5 - I sympathise with the neglected

unfairly neglected

For TV viewers in Britain there is a dead hour on Sunday. It occurs after the footie has finished and before the gentle fish-out-of-water comedy dramas begin. It is the slot that is pretty much targetted at pensioners. Therefore we have yawnsome fare such as Antiques Roadshow, 'nice' safe celebrities like Alan Titchmarsh and Patricia Routledge making appeals for charities, Last of the Summer Wine and the daddy of all public service broadcasting - Songs of Praise.

Today I watched S.O.P. Well, I didn't actually pay attention, but it was on in the background with the sound off, whilst I check out the schedules on the 700 different cable channels.

For some reason it got me thinking about Christmas carols, because there's always a carol concert on on Christmas Eve, and then a televised midnight mass that nobody watches. The carol concert reminds of when I used to sing in the choir when I was a boy. I always enjoyed it I was a good singer and was quite often gven the lead. Unfotunately, genetic necessity intervened and my voice broke. Overnight, what once was the sound of an chirruping angel became the sound of an unoiled derailleur.

Two carols always stood out for me. The first is O little Town Of Bethlehem. For some reason everytime I hear it I am filled with dread. I don't know why, from a very early age, it inspired in me more fear than hope, but it does. So I don't like that one.

The other carol that I always disliked was The Holly and The Ivy. The reason is that it's just so bloody unfair to the Ivy. It gets second billing in the title yet when it comes to it is criminally neglected. Throughout all 53 verses of the song The Holly gets all the attention. It's 'the Holly this and the holly that' and 'the holly has this and the holly has that' and you're waiting and waiting for the ivy to get a turn and it never does. It annoys me so much, like desperately witing for Santa and then finding that he just forgot to visit your house. Why did whoever wrote it even mention the Ivy in the title if they were going to simply ignore it for the whole of the lyric? The disappointment and sense of injustice when I hear this song is similar to that which I felt when I discovered that Alfred Hitchcock didn't actually write any of the Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators stories.

I am suggesting a politically correct revision of the Holly and The Ivy in which the Ivy is not vicitmised by being neglected to the point where it has to ring Shrubline to complain.

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