Saturday, November 03, 2007

Goodnight from Sydney: Let the madness begin!

I am not sure about where you are, but today seemed to mark the first day of Christmas shopping fever here in Sydney. Even at my local deli, my purchases were wrapped in Christmas paper - $4 of salami protected by reindeer and a fat guy in a red suit, who doesn't seem to realise he can outsource his operations to Indonesia or Mumbai.

You may think that Christmas shopping frenzy is a relatively modern phenomenon (thank Gawd I don't have to say that without my teeth!), but take a look at this poem written in 1935 - four years before the start of World War Two.

Yule Fever by C.J. Dennis

I must go down to the shops again, to the crowded shops go I
And all I have is a long list of the gifts that I must buy,
And a few bob in the old kick and a mere spot of credit;
For he'll trust me, so the boss said, but I hate the way he said it.

I must go down to the shops again, for the call of Christmastide
Is a stern call and a hard call that may not be denied.
And all I ask is a fair choice at reasonable prices
And a hard heart for bland blokes with blandishing devices.

I must go down to the shops again. There's gifts for Mum and Dad
And Jim's gift and Joe's gift and toy for Peter's lad.
Then all I want are gloves for Clare? And June? I'll send her roses,
And -- who's next? The list says -- I've lost it! Holy Moses!

But I must go down to the shops again, to the shops and the milling crowd
On a hot day and a fierce day when the skies know ne'er a cloud;
And all I ask is a fair spin 'mid the masses overheating
And the loud bawl of the bored babe, and the toy drums beating.

I must go down to the shops again, for I would be counted still
With the kind coves of the free hand in this season of goodwill;
And all I ask is a stout heart to carry on undaunted
While we scour town for the salt-pot that we know Aunt Annie wanted.

I must go down to the shops again, for they'll ply me, sure as fate
With the pink tie and the puce sock, and I must reciprocate.
But all I ask is a long seat when the weary trek is finished
And enough left for the Yule feast ere the bank-roll be diminished.

Wherever you may be - be safe

Photo: Taken last Christmas outside a Sydney department store

PS - tomorrow I may take a break from posting!