Oh What a Lovely Xmas

I’m scurrying back from the German show at the British Museum. Usual stuff about  how could   Goethe, Beethoven , Schiller, Durer, Luther, etc turn into Eichmann, Heydrich, Himmler, Goebbels and Goering. How could the Bauhaus turn into the gas ovens , and so on. OK its more than that and  as a display of artefacts far more interesting (and popular) than the more prestigious Ming show elsewhere in the building. For the Musee I bought a VW Beetle (very iconic) key ring and a Karl Marx(very ironic) money box.

I get home with the odd thought about Hun bombers and the Pastoral Symphony when I come across the Sainsbury’s Xmas ad. In case y ou haven’t heard, its a take on the famous 1914 truce in the trenches. Get the hankies out.Both both sides singing Silent Night, a game of footie, an exchange of  chocolates and then its , oh, oh,what a lovely war and  its back to the main film.

Now for Sainsburys this is absolutely brilliant. The whole country has gone mad for the 800,000 poppies on show at the Tower. Everyone a  dead relative. You can see the agency pitching the idea. We  are all getting off on great grandad , who loved horses, wrote poetry  ,lied about his age and died somewhere on the long road to Tipperary or was it Leicester Square. Any way it was goodbyeee

. Around six million  went down to look at the massive display of  porcelain poppies. This was a pilgrimage  to our history, our national blood sacrifice, our past on a wartime scale. And now Sainsburys have  cashed in on the one moment in that Armageddon when peace broke out. Christmas is for sharing is the catch phrase.

Recently I heard some archive  recordings of the men talking about how the  generals got it started again. After all as in the Sainsbury film where Jim  and Otto become great chums,the few hours of fraternising had made many realise that both sides were fighting for God , Freedom, Mother and Apple Pie. That is ,the whole thing was nonsense,

The generals realised that this mood could spread and  that could be the end of the war without the required slaughter or the statuary victory. So they started artillery bombardments from the rear to get the other side back on a war footing. Meanwhile Sainsburys are sellling chocolate made in Ypres  Belgium  of which all the proceeds will go to the British Legion.

They ‘ll be using the Korean War to sell dog food next.




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One Response to Oh What a Lovely Xmas

  1. I haven’t seen the advertisement so can not comment, save to say that if the proceeds go to the Royal British Legion then the edge may be taken off all the criticism. Perhaps that’s wishful thinking on my part.All I know is that settled opinions and values are under constant revision or consideration afresh…

    As for what you’ve provoked in me from the rest of your piece – events of the past are so much easier to comment upon and criticise from the comfort of the present. I look at the contrasting attitudes towards the obscenities of slaughtering trussed up prisoners by ISIL and the limp-wristed response of the worlds’ political elite. I wonder what future generations will make of what is happening now in Syria/Iraq?

    Three hundred or so men were shot in WWI for cowardice/desertion, and other crimes of the time and circumstances. Looking back on it now, from the comfort of our homes and in an utterly unrecognisable world, from then, it is impossible to truly understand what a World War means: attitudes, resolve to win, the necessity of unquestioning obeisance to a purpose and the orders of superiors with whom you may disagree. It’s called discipline (even respect), care for a comrade and so on. Poems by Sassoon and Owen tell of it but thousands still kept to the cause…

    We don’t see much of that in wider society now. But, the wonderful carpet of Poppies at the Tower, the chocolates and so on make you stop and think some more…

    In the meantime, go and see ‘The Imitation Game’. A wonderfully crafted film about a war of a different kind. We may need to draw on the skills of Alan Turing in this respect :find the means to break the hold of Internet and media in subverting in some minds a nations’ values, cohesion and religion to the heinous creed of ISIL and its followers, parents and schools.

    Taking away citizenship rights is only the beginning of the fight…

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