Sunday 3 December 2017

The Betjeman Parody - Up to Date

First wrote this years ago, and it has apparently caused a certain amount of satisfaction. But it's looking nearly as dated as the Betjeman original. So now, inspired by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes's post on Advent, and updating the name of a certain Luton shopping centre.... (and acutely aware of the book that is a very reasonable Xmas present that we're plugging at the bottom, in a consumerist kind of way)

The tills in "The Mall, Luton" ring
The Advent Calendar's full of gin
While glowing icicles of white
Have blown away the last of night
In suburbs, hamlets, village greens
And towns from Slough to Milton Keynes.

The reindeer glowing on the lawn
And round the bungalow the strings
of fairy lights in many colours
and many flashing, tasteless things
mean that the passers-by can say
“That’s rather naff” on Christmas day.

The Coca-Cola lorries blaze
and Marks and Spencers' pockets fill.
The Hatchimals can safely graze
while Simon Cowell's puppets still [1]
can dream of having festive fun
when they’re his latest number one.

And up the airport Christmas Eve
They’re flying from the winter rain
As bankers quick the City leave
To spend their bonuses in Spain
And Easyjets crash past all day
(But Ryanair's on holiday).

And lads in flats wonder where’s dad?
And pregnant girls take after mum
And drunken office typists wretch
And dodgy blokes say to them “Come
and we will share a festive lark
in some side-alley quiet and dark."

But is it true, can it be true
This most unlikely tale of all,
Told in a garden-centre’s hue
plush unicorns in ox’s stall?
the Maker of the day and night
parodied under fluorescent light?

And is it true? For if it is
No fabricated Christmas songs
No bishop raging ‘gainst the sight
Of tinsel and Ann Summers thongs
The vomit outside heaving pubs
And midnight slammers in tatty clubs

No Lego underneath the tree
No plastic game that lasts three days
No office party’s all-night spree
Can ever this great Truth erase –
Our God was born to take our pain,
And shares it, ever and again.

[1] Still! I mean..... still!

Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. And don't forget it's nearly Christmas!

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