So, this is (nearly) Christmas. Are you ready? It’s a complicated time of year. The general pressure is on family, peace, gift-giving and happiness. But that may not be how things are for you. Family relations can be difficult. Money’s tight. Peace? Well, Putin’s still on his bullshit. All told, you could be excused for turning your back on the whole charade.
But the day can be an excuse to make your own sort of merry. After all, we celebrate in late December as the winter slowly begins to retreat and the darkest day is over our shoulder. It can be a time to reflect, take a breath, and make plans for the year ahead. Above all, it can be a moment where you gather the people you love and show them you care, in whatever way you can.
If nothing else, take comfort in a tiny chink of regularity and sweet routine.
Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.
Of course, we’ll upend tradition immediately by starting, rather than finishing with a song. Not just one either—101 of the buggers. Stick this playlist on shuffle and let the good times roll!
We love this tale from webcomic guru Ursula on the day she won an Oscar. It also features Neil Gaiman and some nachos so hey, all points covered.
Gaiman and Hugo and nachos, oh my!
On the subject of The Dark Scribe, a reading Neil did of A Christmas Carol in full Dickensian mode recently re-emerged. It is, naturally, well worth your time. Gods, that beard!
A Christmas Carol, Gaiman Style
Ulric Collette does family photos like no-one else. They are beautiful and slightly creepy but show the way genetic traits thread through generations in a simple and elegant fashion. Lovely stuff.
This long oral history of the nascent LA punk scene is stuffed full of great characters and stories, against a wonderfully pungent backdrop. It’s fascinating to read about the early days of some very big names and how they had to struggle and hustle. Strap on, turn it up and hit that big chord.
Hollywood Freaks On The Hollywood Scene
This week’s ep is perhaps not the jolliest of holliest, but we came across some fine writing which should be shared whatever the season. Charlie Smith’s blog, in which she shares her struggles with bipolar disorder, is striking for its honesty and flashes of humour. The mind is still largely unexplored territory and we’re finding our way through it without a map. Wrong turns are only to be expected.
One of our major obsessions this year has been The Bear. We are not alone in loving this show about food, family and the stress involved in managing both. We have not yet got around to recreating the iconic family meal tomato sauce. Should you feel the urge, Natalie Guest has your back. It’s a fine antidote to that Xmas excess…
Do you remember that time kids in Japan ended up in hospital thanks to an episode of Pokémon? We do. Hindsight only adds another layer of weirdness to a tale which was already pretty darn peculiar.
Christmas songs. We know them, we sing them, they’re in our blood and our hearts. They take up space in our heads which could be used for something more useful. We never really think about what they’re saying or the clumsy ways they try to deliver the lyrical load. Jon Elledge has been thinking about them. A lot. We’re a bit worried about Jon.
And finally. The question of what we do with Christmas trees after the event, or at least the big public ones, has been elegantly solved. Compost? Boring. Mulch? Bitch, please! Take that piney fragrance and put it in a drink. Now that’s how you fizz up your festives!
A different kind of Christmas fizz
Ok, one last song. Bela Fleck and The Punch Brothers all cram on stage to read out some letters to Santa and crack out a fantastic Christmas medley. This is exceedingly jolly.
However you celebrate, whoever you choose to celebrate with, we wish you a fine and peaceful day tomorrow. We’ll be back on New Year’s Eve with some exciting news about exploits and adventures in 2023.
See you in seven, elves and baubles.