Christmas Links #7

The Nightmares Before (And After) Christmas:
"A Hobo’s Christmas (1987)"

'It shows a nicer way of life': meet the makers of the £100 viral Christmas ad:
"Hafod Hardware owners in Wales say simple message has struck a chord with viewers."

Taylor Swift’s Music Video for ‘Christmas Tree Farm’ Marks the Arrival of Swiftmas:
"The music video for “Christmas Tree Farm,” has premiered, marking the official beginning of the holiday season, and, of course, of Swift’s birthday month."

Someone Said Kim Kardashian's Christmas Ornaments Look Like Evil Tampons And It's Me, I'm Someone:
"Giant creepy dildos? Happy holidays!"

Christmas sweaters are adding to plastic pollution, environmental charity says:
"Most Christmas sweaters are made of plastic and are likely to contribute to plastic pollution in the world's oceans, an environmental charity has warned."

The Christmas Chronicles 2 Coming To Netflix – With Goldie Hawn As Mrs Claus:
"Last year Netflix gave us an instant contender for the all-time-great movie Santas in The Christmas Chronicles – a Chris Columbus-produced festive adventure movie that cast none other than Kurt Russell as the man with the, er, bulging sack. It was evidently a hit, because the streaming service has just announced a sequel – The Christmas Chronicles 2 – coming in 2020."

The 2010s Broke Our Sense Of Time:
"The rhythms of American life changed in the 2010s. How everything from TV to Trump to Instagram messed with your head just enough that time feels like it melted." [via]

Christmas Links #6

Caught in the crush: are our galleries now hopelessly overcrowded?
"Can you really appreciate art when you have to crane your neck, dodge elbows and wait for selfie-takers to move on? Irate gallery-goers in London and beyond tell us why they’re giving up."

Checkout Girl (Get Your Free Copy!):
"When an 83 year old woman dies, she’s not transported to heaven but taken on a detour back to her life shortly before she died. It’s the first time she has ever experienced a detour being the best part of a journey."

The Sounds of Spotify:
"Public Playlists."
[Editor's note: This seems to be the base account for all of the genre playlists on Spotify. The Sound of Everything has one track representing each and has 3,782 items.  I think I have a new obsession for 2019.]

Taylor Swift is dropping a new Christmas song:
"The star shared a video teasing a self-penned festive song written over the weekend. The song will be accompanied by a self-shot video, which will premiere on Good Morning America in the US."

December's Schedule:
"Pretend to work."

Christmas family strain:
"How many films have been made all about the stress of family life over the Christmas period? Quite a few. Many of these films are comedies, and most end with everyone enjoying their family Christmas. But the reason we find these films so funny, is because we can relate to that Christmas family stress all too easily."

Exit through the gift shop:
"With the festive season upon us, Apollo’s editors have picked out their favourite gifts from museum and gallery shops."

Trafalgar Square Christmas tree: 'Sparse' spruce ridiculed:
""Britain's most famous Christmas tree" has been branded a turkey over its "sparse" foliage and "anaemic" appearance."

Art of the State:
Grosvenor Museum.

Art For years, my annual Christmas shopping ritual was to visit Chester, Manchester, Southport, Formby and Cheshire Oaks.  But thanks to my monthly visits to London and each losing their distinctiveness, I've visited some of these places less and less.  But I've stuck with Chester which has tended to survive intact, dodging somewhat the destruction of the high street.  Not any more.  Rather like a more picturesque Stoke, large sections of the shopping areas are now filled with vacancies and businesses which have been in situ for decades have slowly disappeared.  Although some places have demolished old stock and started again, Chester doesn't have that option.  So what will they do about such places as the block of shops opposite the cathedral which used to house some wonderful jewelry and sweets?  All is not completely lost.  A new vinyl shop has opened just around the corner from here selling new releases and back catalogue at premium prices but how long will that survive?

Access To Collection.

The Museum is open Monday to Saturday 10.30am–5pm, 1pm-4pm on Sundays.  The Grosvenor hasn't changed much since my visit for the last project over ten years ago. The paintings are still displayed between the three areas, the lecture theatre, stairwell and room on the first floor. There hasn't been a significant rehang, although the lecture theatre now contains work by more contemporary local artists, a rather strange portrait of HRH The Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester by Tom Wood has been given pride of place in the main display room (he "re-opened" the museum after refurbishment in 1992) and the still fabulous depictions of workers at Williams & Williams, purveyors of cast iron window frames have been moved to the help yourself tea room in the ground floor of the adjoining 22 Castle Street, a National Trust-style recreation of a 17th century home (currently decorated with trees and tinsel ready for Christmas).

Collection Focus.

Painted and acquired since my original visit, Francis Mullen's Ferris Wheel, Chester, Christmas 2010 captures the town in its ideal state, snow on the ground, grey skies, winter clothing, ancient buildings behind the city wall and lighting and an incongruous object.  Somehow, I'd completely forgotten that the wheel had been in place at the beginning of the decade, but this isn't an imagined scene.  Here's a photograph of a similar scene from an angle behind the spire of St Mary's ChurchHere's how Chester News covered the announcement of the event.  Mullen himself donated the painting to the Museum in 2013 and he goes into some depth on his methodology in this interview which also includes a brief biography.  This is his only painting on the Art UK website.  Most recently around Christmas time, this is how I imagine Chester will be, which is why I keep returning each year despite my increasing levels of disappointment and probably still will.

Christmas Links #5

'They threw sausage rolls!' Christmas gigs bring no cheer for standups:
"During the festive season, comedy clubs can be hijacked by drunk, obnoxious audiences. Dave Johns, Maff Brown and Jessica Fostekew recount their worst experiences."

Hashtag hunger: Are Britain’s supermarkets profiting from food poverty this Christmas?
"Sainsbury’s “#ShopForOthers” campaign and other such schemes invite customers to buy extra for people going hungry."

The £100 Christmas ad that blows John Lewis out of the water:
"Move over, Excitable Edgar! The most life-affirming Christmas advert of 2019 is here – and it’s for a tiny family-run hardware store in Wales."

I celebrated Native American Heritage Month by ruining a comedy podcast:
"Last week, I guested on the popular Earwolf series How Did This Get Played, a weekly comedy podcast dedicated to reviewing the worst and weirdest video games." [via]

12 Spirited Facts About How the Grinch Stole Christmas:
"Each year, millions of Americans welcome the holiday season by tuning into their favorite TV specials."

Pastime Paradise:
"One of my pet projects over the past few years has been trying to work out which Doctor Who scripts exist. After all, if you’re writing an article for Doctor Who Magazine, or a book for The Black Archive, it helps to know what is out there. So I’ve put together a rough guide."

How Artists on Twitter Tricked Spammy T-Shirt Stores Into Admitting Their Automated Art Theft:
"Yesterday, an artist on Twitter named Nana ran an experiment to test a theory."

Christmas Links #4.

The Christmas Trilobite:
"Up at 5am writing this year's Christmas story. I was convinced that if I carried on sleeping I was going to forget it. Three hours scribbling by lamplight and I think I've written pages of crazy nonsense. It's called - get this - The Christmas Trilobite. Hurray! Coffee now."

Why are fewer Christmas trees growing in the US? Blame the Great Recession.
"It's an interesting time for the Christmas tree industry right now: There are fewer Christmas trees being grown than 10 to 15 years ago, yet more people are buying them. And, they're paying a heftier price to boot."

Marvel's 'Black Widow' Returns in First Trailer:
Just to break out of format briefly (#nurd), but by the end of this trailer I'm more convinced than ever that that one of the post credits sequences on this will feature her waking up on Vormir perhaps next to Gamora after a final Steve Rogers cameo or some such. The Russos say that the reason she didn't get a proper memorial at the close of business in Endgame was because this film was coming. Well ok, fine, but the more believable reason is that she's not really dead, with Black Widow II already commissioned.  Anyway, back to the links ...

Christian group goes ballistic over a Christmas drag show: “An insult to the birth of Christ”:
"The drag show "blurs the lines established by God regarding sexuality," according to the conservative Christian group."

Child homelessness at Christmas up 46% in 4 years:
"The number of children who will spend Christmas in temporary accommodation due to homelessness has risen by almost half in four years, a charity says."

ITV reveals full Christmas Day schedule:
"A host of celebrity quiz show specials, plus a double bill of seasonal soaps."

"Christmas 1957 can be looked at as forming a turning point in the development of a more contemporary way of Christmas. It was for example the last year that there was a full set of Football League fixtures in England, although this TV schedule, unlike that of the BBC, makes no reference to sport."

Ice cream themed Christmas tea room opens for first time in Cornwall:
"Christmas bombes and sundaes are on the menu."

The 50 best Christmas songs of all time:
"Not all Christmas songs are naff. Forget the turkeys – here’s our pick of the festive pops for your Christmas Playlist."

Sophia Takal’s ‘Black Christmas’ Brings an Early Present With This Official Image Gallery:
"Blumhouse will be releasing director Sophia Takal‘s new take on the slasher classic Black Christmas on Friday, December 13, and the official image gallery has arrived today."

Christmas Links #3

Oldham College students bid for Christmas Number 1:
"All proceeds from the college's Christmas single will go to Stop the Traffik - a charity tackling human trafficking."

A 'bushtucker trial in a tin' - 3-course Christmas Tinner for Gamers is back by popular demand:
"Yes, that's right! The 3-course Christmas Tinner which went viral back in 2013, is now back with new vegan and veggie options after being inundated with demands."

Courtenay man attends Christmas parade dressed as Satan after 'Santa' typo:
"After a Vancouver Island newspaper accidentally advertised opportunities for "pictures with Satan" during a weekend Christmas parade – which drew international attention to the community – one man decided to dress up as the red man himself."

Or Do You Get Paid By The Joke?
"You would not believe how many times a week I get told that I should not be using Twitter. No, not that I use it too much. That I should not be using it at all."

The one where Central Perk came to London and made new Friends:
"Twenty-five years after the series first aired, UK fans gather on the set of the TV phenomenon."

Hallmark Christmas Movies Dominate The Holiday Season Because Fans Want An Escape From Everyday Life:
"“It’s just something to watch that’s mindless and doesn’t stress you out.”"

Popular Edinburgh chippy gets in to festive mood with return of its deep-fried Christmas pudding:
"A popular chippy in Edinburgh is aiming to get people into the Christmas mood with the return of its deep-fried Christmas pudding."

Christmas Links #2

Christmas for children and families at Liverpool Cathedral:
"Take your pick of these highlights from our Christmas events that are especially enjoyable for families and children."

Why You Are Wrong To Like The Film ‘Elf’:
"There’s been some kerfuffle in Britain this year about Channel 4 losing the rights to show Elf and some genuine upset that this great Christmas film won’t bring the nation together." [originally published in 2014]

Four Ingredient Christmas Cake, 16p:
"First measure out your ginger ale or ginger beer; it needs to be fizzy in order for this to work as the bubbles seem to act as a kind of leavening agent."

Healthy leftover ideas for Thanksgiving and Christmas foods:
"CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard offers tips on how to store and repurpose holiday leftovers, including cranberries and sweet potatoes."

Mince pies tasted by baker Alice Fevronia: 'It screams Christmas':
"The Great British Bake Off finalist picks the best of the 2019 supermarket offerings, with help from Stuart Heritage."

Fawlty at Large, Part One: “Did you book a sprout?”:
"There is a tendency, when talking about TV shows, to get caught up in the same old anecdotes and stock opinions."

BBC One Christmas film encourages people to live their #XmasLife this season:
"BBC One is urging friends and family to get together and enjoy ‘#XmasLife’ with a film that trots out BBC stars and features programmes."

How Yorkshire farmer conquered the Christmas tree market - despite planting them on his 'worst land':
"Dickie Ryder planted 300 Christmas trees in the mid 1970s."

Christmas Links #1.

Merseyrail Christmas Timetable:
"Summary of changes over the Christmas period."

Mince pies with a Chinese twist — Fuchsia Dunlop recipes:
"Sweet or savoury, these most elegant of seasonal canap├ęs are perfect for Christmas parties."

'Have a one-night-stand with a dress': the fashion rental revolution:
"Instead of buying a new dress for each event, join the sustainable fashion movement and hire your outfit instead."

The Queen's Windsor Castle Residence Has Been Decorated for Christmas:
"If you thought your festive table settings were suave, think again."

Fayetteville welcomes Christmas with A Dickens Holiday:
"Fayetteville's historic downtown Hay Street transformed into a Victorian-themed wonderland on Friday."

BBC confirms Christmas schedule, with Doctor Who, A Christmas Carol, Worzel Gummidge and more:
"There will be plenty to watch on the box this year, providing a perfect break from the busy festive season."

Free Christmas grotto bus coming to Liverpool's most deprived areas for families to enjoy:
"Children get to meet Santa and will get a free gift and selection box."

What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?
"Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?"