Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cards and carols

Christmas was invented 165 years ago with two important inventions. First, on 19 December, 1843, Chuck Dickens published "A Christmas Carol". I am currently reading this in installments to the Dr, wowed by the fecund and twisted imagery. (You can currently also hear versions read by David Jason and Mitch Benn.)

Scrooge is Dickens' response to the horrors of Malthus, but he's also a richly drawn, smart, funny guy. It's implied he suffered abuse from his father - something skipped in the Muppet's own version. I love that his visitations could all be put down to what he ate late at night - "there's more of gravy than of grave about you," he tells the ghost of Jacob Marley. And there's something almost commendable about his insistence on hard work and financial self-reliance. He's a brilliant, memorable character because he's so much more than just a panto grotesque. As the story unfolds, Scrooge warms to Christmas but we also warm to him.

It is also 165 since (my hero) Henry Cole invented the first Christmas card. I like to think that brilliantly moustached Victorian gentlemen turned to their wives at the breakfast table and cried, "What the hell am I meant to do with this?"

Their wives will have considered and then smiled, "Send him one back by return of post." (The fifth Doctor Who discusses this economic model in part two of The Judgement of Isskar.)

Anyway. The Dr and I have dispensed with the card Card. We've bunged some money to Comic Relief and instead offer this electric alternative:

Merry Christmas!

A merry Christmas to all of you at home.

2 comments:

The Audio Time Team said...

The cat does not look amused. Maybe because it wants a santa hat of its own.

Happy Holidays.

Le Mc said...

You might be interested in this, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-Carol-Oxford-Worlds-Classics/dp/0199536309/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1230925621&sr=8-1, particularly the introduction.