Minor British Institutions: Last-minute rush


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The Independent Online

You'll be tired by now, after a testing day which has included much wrapping, preparing and purchasing, plus that moment this afternoon, amid the jingle-jangle of the music, the unnatural heat, the smell of scent and the scent of panic, when you just couldn't think what to get for which visiting extended family member and made your annual resolution to start in September.

The consolation is that you're following in a proud island tradition: think Drake and his bowls, Geoff Hurst in 1966, Waterloo, Martha Lane Fox, St Helens vs Bradford Bulls, 2000, and a certain lackadaisicality, 1936-39.

True, it's not always worked out that well: Alfred, cakes; Harold, Hastings; Captain Nolan, the Charge of the Light Brigade; Gordon Brown, charm. And it might be a touch early to judge joining Europe or the musical penis for Uncle Brian. But: spontaneity, edginess, against drilled, dull forethought: we know which we prefer. Now, where's the turkey?