was_tansu_now_badhedgehog: (bunnay)
[personal profile] was_tansu_now_badhedgehog
OK, so one of the small towns in these parts has Christmas Eve fireworks, with a procession and some carol singing preceding the gunpowder and metal salt based bangtertainment. Sounds like a jolly little evening diversion between wrapping up the last presents and settling in for ham and mince pies. The fireworks are done by my mother-in-law's* friend's son, who has a proper pyrotechnics firm that go round Proper Actual Places and do Proper Actual big firework displays, so it's worth seeing. Year before last the police made them put the fireworks on 15 minutes early, so we saw them at a distance, from the bypass (well done idiot police). So, this time we turned up early just in case. A ha ha ha ha. Ha ha.

We hung about. It was not like it is in Europe. Bugger Europe, it was not like it is in the next town over. There was no mulled wine stand, there were no mince pies. The parade started from the bottom of the hill. The parade was (I think) supposed to be a "lantern procession" up the hill from the square to the castle, but in fact went down like this: Car with flashing light; old Bentley bearing beardy chap in Santa suit and burning its clutch out; small silver band; a mass of the general public about 10% of whom had glowsticks; small drumming crew. Well done everybody.

A man wearing a hi-vis vest appeared on a stage and began speaking into a microphone while the drumming crew were still finishing up their vaguely samba-themed thing. The man became audible. He had a patter similar to one of those fellows who sells cut price tea towels at a market (NOT ten pounds not EIGHT pounds girls not even FIVE pounds step up here love these are quality towels I'm not doing these for three pounds TWO POUNDS for this bundle of towels and I'll throw in a dishcloth as well love). Mother-in-law whispers to me "that's the vicar". Jesus Christ, that's church these days is it? He can't be shifting many towels.

The cut-price priest invited us to join in some carols. Him and the microphone weren't enjoying the closest of working relationships at this point, rendering us underclued as to what we were supposed to be singing. The silver band played from underneath a plastic awning, quietly. "We'll just sing two verses of Once In Royal David's City" shouted the vicar. By this point you can make an educated guess as to whether or not the gathered crowd had had song sheets distributed unto them. Another man joined the vicar on the stage and joined in with the singing. He had no high vis jacket, but he had a voice, which covered up the clueless mumbling from the gathered populace. There were more carols and Christmas songs: hush hush silver band for the carols, karaoke backing tracks for the secular songs. There was White Christmas. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas (we've got a bloody white Christmas, we've just driven through sodding snow to get here, turn the sodding fake snow cannon off you muppets). I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, one where the council salt the roads.

The karaoke Christmas songs suddenly turned into karaoke Shine by Take That. Is this a Christmas song, we mused. Wouldn't Stay Another Day by East 17 have been the obvious choice? The man without the high vis jacket was making a good job of the Take That song, though. The Take That song was followed by... another Take That song. We realised who the man was. He was that fellow who's big on the karaoke circuit round here, does the working mens clubs. Does a Take That set. I think he's been on Stars In Their Eyes. The second karaoke Take That song was followed by a third. Fucking hell, he's doing his whole bloody Take That set, like he's some bloody big shot. We're only here for Mike's fireworks and our feet are freezing.

There were no mince pies, no mulled wine. Fuck it, if we'd lost the bloody war, all the carols might be about Hitler, but at least we'd have some fucking mulled wine and lebkuchen round about now.

Just another two songs now, said the high-vis parson. Christ, we'll count them down and then we'll see the fireworks and then we can go home and have some ham, been standing here forty five bloody minutes. The final Take That song wasn't one I knew. Might have been the new single, who bloody knows. Then the half-price priest stepped up with his microphone. He touted midnight mass and then said something about "a song" and "put Christmas words to". The meaning was apparent. He had put Christmas words to a song. The backing track started. It was "Hallelujah". He'd put his own Christmas words to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and he was singing it, on his own, on a stage, badly. I'm not putting across how surreal this was, I can tell. I dunno, I find it hard to take someone seriously as a priest when they're singing Christmas doggerel to the tune of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". You can put on my grave "she let petty intellectual snobbery turn her away from the simple honest love that a complete fucking idiot had for his God, and now she burns in hell" if you like. Ah well. I wonder if he does a version of "Suzanne" about the Easter Bunny.

The fluorescently-jacketed market barker for God stopped kicking all that's right and proper up the arse, and counted down from ten to the fireworks.

They were brilliant.

They were world bloody class.

*not technically "in law" but I like the term "mother-in-law"
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