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Wednesday 23rd November 2022

7294/19814

We’re upgrading our streaming computer in the hope that will iron out some of the bugs we’ve had in recent months (and are ebaying these items -with more to add- to help pay for it). 
Bethany Black is not only a fantastic comedian but also builds computers to exact specifications (contact her on Twitter if you are interested!) and she turned up this afternoon to put everything together. Chris Evans (not that one) came all the way from Wales to help, but chose to use the trains and so arrived at about 4.30pm and had to go home by 8. But luckily that was enough time, I think, to get things up and running. We’ll see during tomorrow’s Twitch of Fun. The good news is that the new computer is super quiet and also has two screens, meaning I can run the show and “Check it” whenever a prediction needs verifying.

The kids are getting excited about Christmas. I feel fairly certain this will be Phoebe’s last Christmas as a full believer in the big man in the red cloak, but she might push her doubts down into her soul for one more, I suppose. The kids have been pretty good recently, aside from the odd push and shove that comes from siblinghood and I haven’t brought out the threat that Santa might be a no-show if they aren’t on the good list. In the past I have rung Santa up to rat them out for poor behaviour or threatened to do so. But this year I am feeling this is too cruel a way to behave to people that I am supposed to love (and luckily do love). 
I think it’s because I have had some sharp memories of similar comments made to me as a child and the genuine worries that if I continued to misbehave (or in fact behave as a five year old supposed to do) that all the glories of Christmas Day might be kept from me. There’s a little residual panic and sadness and even shame there. I didn’t mean to be a naughty boy (most of the time) and as much as this brilliant threat of divine retribution did stave off some instances of puerility, it’s not really in a child’s control and it’s a mean (if loving) trick to pull. I don’t blame my parents or any parents for employing it - like I say, I have done it myself- but it’s a weird power play and one designed to make the parents’ life easier and which, it seems, might do a little damage to the psyche of the kid. You can’t let your kids behave like idiots all the time, because they’ll hurt themselves and it’s also annoying. But making them dread the fact that they might have done something to make a supernatural being so cross that he will give you coal instead of present isn’t the best. Though it’s a good practice for the religious.
Did I feel upset when I discovered the whole thing was a fucking scam? I don’t think so. The knowledge comes gradually and the betrayal sweetened by the fact that you still get presents every year, provided you give the myth some tongue in cheek respect. Which in itself would be a bit creepy if every family didn’t do the same. It’s not an original observation to note that with Father Christmas we encourage a story which goes against all usual sensible advice to kids - don’t take gifts from strangers, don’t keep secrets or lie, let an intruder in through your chimney, but you mustn’t interact with him or say anything to anyone about him being there - but there is a deeper creepiness to all this and I think that little echo of panic of being punished has put me off joining in too much with the charade. 
Let’s see how irritating Ernie gets in the next four weeks though.

Little Jimmy Jimbob Acaster is the guest on this week’s RHLSTP. Enjoy it here.
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