Well that was a year. 2009, when things got spoilt by people or organisations pushing it just a bit too far. Take Remembrance Sunday. As a teenager and a young man, not many appeared to wear poppies and certainly none of my peer group did. Then there was a slow re-emergence of poppy wearing and more people were doing it but it wasn’t commented on particularly. This year however, the Daily Mail spoilt it all by having a moronic campaign attacking anyone not wearing one with particular attention to footballers for some reason intelligible only to them. I’ve been wearing a poppy out of personal choice for ten years or so and I may well not next year if the Daily Mail is going to turn it into one of their dreary outrages. Mind you, they’ll probably be against them by then on the grounds that they cause cancer or because red is the colour of communism or because red is the same colour as ginger hair. And where did that come from? When did it become socially acceptable, nay desirable, to openly express fear and loathing of redheads? I must declare an interest here. I am a redhead, or was anyway. Some people unlucky enough to know me say it’s darkened to a browny colour or start wittering on about strawberry blond. Possibly they’re being kind as having ginger hair opens you up to unwarranted abuse these days, or at least from Tesco and Rod Liddle. In case you missed the story Tesco produced and then withdrew a Christmas card showing a redhead sitting on Father Christmas’ lap with the message ‘Santa even loves gingers’. So not content with destroying the high street and playing merry hell with the planning laws Tesco now see fit to mock the colour of my hair. I want extra points for that. Rod Liddle moaned in The Observer that the mother who complained should have taken the joke and wittered on about being muzzled by political correctness. Well, I’m happy to be accused of being a humourless killjoy by pointing out that restraining from mocking children for having a slightly uncommon physical attribute is not being politically correct, it’s being f**king civilised.
Which rather neatly brings us to the Christmas Number One. Of course I’m pleased that the Cowell nullity has been beaten by something else and there’s enough of the teenager in me left to be amused that this year’s winner has got swearing in it, but I also sigh slightly. Again, it’s gone too far. We wouldn’t be in this odd situation if Cowell had not seen fit to place one of his Midwich songs at the number one slot every bloody year. I have no issue particular with the X Factor, who am I to Jedward or Jedward to me? I fear not for the future of music. This generation’s version of punk will arrive. It always does when too much control from the top is imposed. But I have a nostalgia for the days when there was a minor interest in who would be the Christmas Number 1 and Cowell removed it and I don’t know why. He had to push it that bit too far and here we are.
So a Christmas wish and a hope for the new year, that busybody newspapers and over mighty supermarkets and music tycoons all calm down and leave us to our own devices. Just for a while.