Saturday, 24 December 2011

Bad Santa.

Before I start I just want to say to all of you who kindly wished me luck and offered me support for the job interview that I didn’t get the job in the end.
So thanks for nothing.

On with the show.

As I am writing this on Christmas Eve I thought I’d give you a nice festive tale of my youth.
I left school at the age of sixteen and got a job in an old cinema that had been converted into a shop. It was run by a big Irish guy called Mulligan and his wife and I did a bit of everything there, unloading the delivery lorries, working the tills, stocktaking and security.
Many of the textile mill towns in the north of England have large Indian and Pakistani populations as migrant workers came over in the ‘50s and ‘60s and settled over here.
Jim’s shop was in the Pakistani area of Halifax and around 80% of his customers were Asian. In October time lots of the kids would come in wearing their best sarees and kurtars and waving around money that they had been given as gifts as they were celebrating their version of Christmas. Mulligan capitalised on this and always made sure there was plenty of toys and sweets in at this time of year.

When Christian Christmas came around Mulligan decided to dress up the office as Santa’s grotto by covering the filing cabinets in white sheets and installing one of his mates from the Irish club in there in a Santa outfit with a jar of lollipops.
Mulligan would let the kids in one door, they would tell Santa what they wanted then Santa would give them a lolly and show them through the door that lead out of the office and into the store so they could spend their money on the useless tat he sold there.

This worked fine for one day until Santa spent all the money he earned on Guiness and Bushmills at the Irish club that night and didn’t show up for work the next day.
This is how I found myself sitting in an office covered in white sheets wearing an ill-fitting Santa suit while Bing Crosby’s White Christmas played on an endless loop and a big Irish bloke let Pakistani kids through the door one at a time.

Now I was as skinny as a rail with long dark hair and a black eye I had gotten in a fight a few days before so I hoped the dim lighting in the room would hide the black hair sticking out of the hood. No such luck.

The first little girl that came in said, ‘You’re Van Helsing not Santa. I can see your hair and black eye. You chased me out of the shop last week for stealing sweets’.
I gave an unconvincing and high pitched Ho Ho Ho and told her I was indeed Santa and had been kicked in the eye by a Reindeer.
‘Where’s your big belly then’?
I explained that I had to diet as chimneys were narrower these days.
‘Why are in here on your own then, where are your elves’?
I leaned forward and tugged my beard down so she could see my face.

‘Listen Sameena, we both know who I am but just for today let’s pretend I’m Father Christmas. To be honest I thought you guys had your Christmas two months ago’.
She then informed me that December 25th was a public holiday in Pakistan in memory of Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
She agreed to play along for the price of two lollipops.

So I spent the rest of the day trying to convince the local kids that I was Santa and not the skinny bloke they saw every day, occasionally chasing out the ones who would sneak out the back door and come around the front, bamboozling poor Mulligan into letting them back in the ‘Grotto’.

I also developed an aversion to Bing Crosby’s voice, he sounded like he was drunk when he sang which with hindsight he probably was.
On that note I’d like to wish all of you a brilliant Christmas and New Year and I look forward to reading all about your exploits in 2012

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


I might have to drop off the blogosphere for a week. I'm currently working nights while trying to organise the annual hellfest that is Christmas.

But the main reason is that I sent off an application form for the job of Coroner's Officer three weeks ago and last night at work I got an e-mail informing me that I have been short listed for an interview next week.

So my spare time will be taken up with preparation for this and pacing up and down while chewing my fingernails. Don't wait up.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Uncle Van Helsing.

Babies, they lie around all day leaking fluids from both ends like some kind of toxic spill. They can't feed themselves, talk or perform basic motor functions. I never know how to deal with something that is so dependent on outside assistance.

A girl on maternity leave visited my workplace the other day and brought in her new baby to show to us all.

Of course this meant that all the women immediately stopped working so they could cluster around the overpriced luggage that babies have to be carted around in making noises like Teletubbies while the baby lay there goggling at them in bewilderment.

I never know quite how to react when a baby is introduced into the workplace, I've tried offering them coffee but they aren't interested and they never have much to say. They just stare at me in that spooky way that babies do, as though they are reading my mind or something.

My female colleagues always insist I pick visiting babies up so I invariably end up standing there, holding a baby at arms lengths as though expecting it to explode like a shitbomb.

As you have probably guessed I don't have kids so don't interact with them on a daily basis. If I have to talk to anyone below the age of twenty I sound like Prince Philip, asking them things like "And what do you do", while being concious of the huge generation gap yawning between us.

The best thing about babies is that they don't fuck about. If they want something they bellow their little heads off until they get it, but all they care about are the basic things in life. They haven't yet grown up and learned to want needless things like iPhones or Call of Duty games.
All they are interested in is eating, pooing, sleeping and being loved.

Which when you think about it are the important things in life.

Maybe I can learn a thing or two from babies.