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Tuesday, October 30, 2007


All hallows eve

Everyone seems to complain about Halloween. In my heady youthful days before PC we had pub games like dunking for apples (Messy, but lots of fun), Yard of ale drinking contests, apples on a rope, pig or ox roasts and bonfires (No vegetarian option). Fancy dress (For all ages). Jumping the bonfires. All good clean fun with only the odd black eye after the 'kissing game' (Heterosexuals only please).

The local Police paid us the odd visit, but didn’t get in the way. Even the vicar used to put in an appearance just to check we pagan country folk weren't doing any worshipping of devils / human sacrifices etc. It could get a bit boisterous, but nobody forced you to join in. Fights were quickly broken up and anything but a one-on-one punch up (“Take it outside lads”) was unheard of. Two on one was actively discouraged and thought of as downright cowardice. Nobody sat in a corner with a disapproving sneer and glass of cheap white wine either. If they did that, they could stay at home. We had fun. Rumbustious, old fashioned fun.

That’s what I found was missing from the UK before I left. No one seemed to really enjoy anything but the discomfiture of some other poor sod any more. There was something mean and crabbed about life in general. Gangs of teenage children bullying others because they (The gangs) have no real self esteem (Or goals, or anything) of their own. Schadenfreude ruled, especially in the media. The anti-everything faction of which has done incalculable damage. They know who they are by their own confessions. The middle class wasters of the sixties and seventies, who like accountants, knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. Spawny eyed wassucks.

Recent Governments wanted to control everything so they could get the credit and cover themselves in glory. Now they do. You can’t play a tune in a pub without paying the ‘entertainment tax’ or having a special licence. Singing and dancing is Verboten. The threat of a visit from unfriendly gangs often puts a damper on parties before they get going. Once upon a time, the organisers could stand up to them and deny them entry, occasionally at gunpoint, but you can’t do that nowadays can you? The UK populace have all been made ‘victims’ and very rarely does anyone pitch in on the side of the good guys any more.

Ergo the feast of All Hallows, Samhain, Halloween. ‘Trick or treating’ over here in Canada can be fun if you make a little effort. I got a bowl of candy ready and used a glove puppet to answer the door last night. It was a barrel of laughs for all concerned. Used to do the same back in the UK. The looks on the little kids faces when you opened the door dressed as a hunchback “Yeth, young marsters and misstwethes?” was well worth the preparation. It was fun too. Good old fashioned fun. Wonder what happened to it.

Juvenile? Immature? Maybe. All I know is that it beats the hell out of the alternative.

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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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