Ah, Christmas. Once a Christian celebration of the birth of Christ. Now a shamelessly capitalistic holiday where the big corporations bleed money from the workers so their managing directors can buy each other Ferraris while we buy boxes of chocolates and necklaces that make your neck turn green for each other.

On the other hand, it's when people give me shit, and that's always welcome!

So here's my Christmas wish list. I doubt anyone will buy me these things, but there's always the chance, in the same way that there's always the chance that I will be kidnapped by alien love gardeners who want me to explain the difference between banks and building societies.

Writer's Handbook 2003

Last year I had the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook, so this year it's the Writer's Handbook. More of a symbolic gift, I suppose, but they do contain very helpful lists of novel publishers. I can't start sending out Articulate Jim until certain gastronomic elves are finished proofreading, but one should always look ahead, as the Vietnamese soldier said to his friend as he disappeared into a concealed spike trap.

This present also has the singular honour of being the only thing I know for sure my parents are getting me.

Gandalf Jigsaw

Oh ho ho, these are so cool. You've got an upright wire and a load of discs to put on the wire, and you have to work out in what order to put the discs on to make a 3D sculpture of Gandalf. Me, I just want it so I can construct the puzzle except the top of his head, then put a small mound of frozen prawns on top and run around showing it to people going 'Look! Look! It's Gandalf's brain!'

Downs Syndrome Winnie the Pooh

The minute I saw this in a catalogue I just fell about. It's so brave of Disney to introduce stuffed toys that represent serious illnesses in order to educate the little kiddies. Me, I just want this so I can make my very own 'Victorian Sanitarium' playset. Downs Syndrome Pooh will be kept perpetually in a bleak little cardboard cell, bullied by Doctor Action Man and Nurse Princess Leia, occasionally brought out to be brutally hosed down with cold water every week. I'm thinking of sending it to Hasbro.

McCulloch Mac Cat 335 Petrol Chainsaw

This one's a no-brainer, really.


PDP100 Duck Popcorn Maker

Actually I don't really want this, I just wanted to show you it, as this is the most disgusting popcorn maker I have ever seen. Actually this might be good for my Victorian Sanitarium playset. He could be the weak-stomached young doctor who keeps throwing up when they bring in Downs Syndrome Pooh for more experimental brain surgery. Hey, I guess I can work Prawn Brain Gandalf into this as well.

And that concludes my wish list. But remember the true meaning of Christmas, kids - to get ratarsed on cheap plonk and stuff yourself with mixed nuts in front of The Great Escape.

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