jo brand's week

In this season of enhanced Christian values and love towards our fellow man, it seems even Santa cannot avoid getting a bit of a battering. Bracknell in Berkshire was the venue for a dispute about parking after residents got angry about people attending a nursery nativity play parking in their street. Santa tried to intervene and was "jostled". Parking in someone's self-appointed space does seem to be a hazard in these days when everyone is so property minded. Many people desperate to park outside their own house erect obstacles to prevent anyone else getting in there, with a plastic bollard or a couple of planks of wood. So it seems an Englishman's home is now his own perceived parking space as well. One parent attending the play said of local residents, "These people obviously don't remember what it's like to be a child. It ruined our evening." I would say they remember very well. They all seem to have been behaving like children.

Of course, Santas always do it differently in America. A Santa in New Hampshire, of more than 20 years' standing, has been charged with assault for allegedly slapping a cub scout who pulled his beard after he and some other cubs accused Santa of being a fake. I can't help feeling sorry for this miserable old Santa. After 20 years, I'm surprised he hadn't fallen apart altogether, with the demands of a nation of spoilt little buggers.

So while adults behave like children, it looks as if many children are behaving like adults. I wonder what effect it has on a newspaper reader when they see that a child who has gone missing is described as "streetwise". Possibly something like the effect it has on readers when they discover that the female victim of a murderer is a prostitute. It doesn't feel quite so bad. I don't know if anyone thinks it's shocking that a nine- year-old girl goes into town and befriends men who live on the street, but I do. This is no reflection on people who are homeless, it's that "men" word, when you are examining how a nine-year-old lives her very young life. I saw a programme recently in which parents were discussing what they let their five-to-seven-year-old children wear. One couple said they allowed their five-year-old daughter to choose all her clothes, most of which were miniskirts and sawn-off tops showing her tummy. Who'd be a social worker, when there are such desperately ignorant parents around.

The Australian government is worried because many students from Asia are leaving the country because they are experiencing racism. This means Australia is losing money, and so they would be worried. When I was in Australia earlier this year, l found casual racism everywhere, even among students who are supposed to be a bit more liberal. I remember asking a punkish-looking girl what she didn't like about Australia, to which she replied, "All these strange foreign people coming in and taking our jobs". Perhaps the government needs to start with the telly. The most popular show has a section in it called The Nan News with some bloke dressed in a turban speaking in a cod Pakistani accent.

That Oliver Cromwell was a cheerful bugger. He apparently outlawed Christmas pudding, and the law in question has never been repealed so in theory loads of people have been acting illegally over Christmas. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of Christmas pudding but Oliver chucked in mince pies as well and I'd definitely have had a bit of trouble avoiding them. Cromwell declared these foodstuffs to be "abominable idolatrous things to be avoided by Christians". I can think of far more useful things that could be outlawed at Christmas ... the Spice Girls, the Queen's Speech, tiny carol singers that only know the first line of one carol, dates (the edible kind), those socks you get every year with rubber things on that stop you slipping over, and any type of sweet with the word "fruit" in it. That would sort my Christmas out.

Talking of tiddly little carol singers who know only the first line of one carol, or "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", repeated endlessly until you go psychotic, I have had my fair share this festive season. They also had a good little scam going, because one group appeared with the "Wish You a Merry Christmas" torture and I managed to stop them after the first line, thankfully, gave them some dosh and bid them a cheery-ish goodnight. Ten minutes later another group (same carol) appeared. However, what they'd done was just put a new one at the front of the pack so I thought it was a different group. I sussed them straight away and they confessed, but asked for some money for the one who had been absent the first time. They had one more bash with two extra singers up front, then retired gracefully. Still, at least they're using their initiative I suppose.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mary Christmas: the Bethlehem story is Mary's moment, when a poor peasant girl gives birth to the Son of God in a stable  

The appeal of the Virgin Mary: A supernatural hope at a time of scepticism

Peter Stanford

Letters: Why Cameron is wrong about EU child benefits

Independent Voices
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'