A song for all seasons

'At the memorial service for summer 2002 came the announcement everyone was half-expecting; it's been replaced by autumn 2002!'
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The Independent Online

The death has been announced of summer 2002. It was not totally unexpected, as summer had been in a weak state for some time. After a painful last few days, summer 2002 finally expired last week, surrounded by relatives, loved ones and representatives of the major insurance companies and travel agencies. At the memorial service, many speakers remembered fondly that summer 2002 had been playfully unpredictable. Sometimes there were thundery periods, but then everything would clear up. The World Cup in Japan and South Korea had been one of her finest achievements. Since then she had never been quite the same again.

The death has been announced of summer 2002. It was not totally unexpected, as summer had been in a weak state for some time. After a painful last few days, summer 2002 finally expired last week, surrounded by relatives, loved ones and representatives of the major insurance companies and travel agencies. At the memorial service, many speakers remembered fondly that summer 2002 had been playfully unpredictable. Sometimes there were thundery periods, but then everything would clear up. The World Cup in Japan and South Korea had been one of her finest achievements. Since then she had never been quite the same again.

And then came the announcement that everyone had been half-expecting. Summer is to be replaced, with immediate effect, by autumn 2002!

Yes, autumn is the new season on the block, with a whole new programme of treats to carry us through to Christmas.

And first off is a great offer to establish autumn as a big brand name to reckon with – you can have all the blackberries and mushrooms you can pick, for FREE!

Plus there are some wonderful new scents and aromas, such as Bonfire and Old Straw and Moss and Sawdust!

And some great new colours for the autumn season, like Incandescent with Rouge, Conker Brown and Mushroom White, Low-Lying Mist and Early Nights.

Plus a whole new array of autumn repeats in the TV schedules on the BBC, and fantastic new programmes such as Which Do YOU Think Is The Greatest British Season of All? ("Send for our shortlist of four...").

Only two months to go till Christmas now, and the evenings are drawing in, and the leaves are coming down, and the clocks are going back, and the nuts are falling all around, and it's all non-stop action...

"Sergeant, I don't think I can take much more of this!" "This your first autumn, lad? It gets a lot worse than this, you wait till they burn the stubble and set the mulled wine blazing and set fire to Guy Fawkes; then you'll know you've been in action, because it's autumn!"

When we get the welly boots out again and find all the mice sleeping in them, when we retrieve our gloves and scarves and mittens and earmuffs, because it's getting a bit Ben and Jerry (that's rhyming slang for cold; Ben & Jerry = "Is it cold out? Yes, very") and your ears are starting to burn, know what that means, when your ears start to burn? That means someone is talking about you and what they are saying is: "Look at that person over there, their ears are burning, shall we throw some water over them?"

Autumn! Season of mists and menthol sweets! I'm dreaming of a White Christmas and I'm going down to William Hill in the morning to put £500 on a white Christmas Day, for does it not say in the Good Book: "Let him who is without sin among you throw the first snowball"? Meanwhile, you can keep your "I'll Remember April" and "September Song" and "April in Paris", because nobody ever wrote a song about October, and maybe that's because there's no rhyme for October, apart from sober, but there's no rhyme for April either, and see if I care, because it's autumn!

And the mad winds whirl the leaves along the pavements, and the scurrying clouds fly overhead going south on their holidays, and the plane trees of London lose their foliage like a very classy striptease act – don't look at that tree, child, it's naked, I'll explain what that means when we get home – and crumpets are in the shops again and we all sing the old autumn chorus:

Toast that crumpet!

Spread that butter!

Every slice, we get

Fatter and fatter!"

Never mind, because it's autumn! And slowly winds the herd across Mike Leigh, and it's beginning to get a bit parky (that's rhyming slang for cold and horrible, as in "I wouldn't care to be living in Baghdad right now if I was Iraqi") so wrap up warm and tell yourself "I Got Plenty of Muffin", and pretty soon you will have nothing to fear but winter itself, for if autumn leaves, can winter be far behind?

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