Last week, I went to a Christmas market. End of story.
If only it were as simple as that. In a desperate attempt to stave off complete emotional necrosis and actually feel seasonal for a couple of weeks, I hauled myself into Manchester to visit what I was promised would be a bustling Santa’s workshop itself, where holiday goodwill pours from the stands of German traders like hot, spiced wine.
Ever heard of a German Christmas fayre? I have no idea if they’re a recent thing around here, but over the last few years they have been oozing into Britain’s major cities every December to flog Lidl bratwurst in rolls of stale bread to suckers who will pay £4.50 for the privilege. Citing the above-mentioned lack of any Christmas cheer, I shackled up with some friends and braved the impossibly busy city centre. Not an easy feat.
Don’t complain about this horrifying dead-eyed effigy of Santa. It was far worse when it was lit up the week before, so I’m glad that some feckless engineer hasn’t looked up from his porn mag long enough to fix it. Look at those eyes. Those are eyes that have seen the worries of the world. Don’t worry, Santa. We’re here for you.
A staple of Christmas Fayres is the Bavarian swing grill, where the aforementioned Lidl sausages and rubbery hot dog buns are teamed up in order to disappoint those stupid enough to buy one.
That’d be me, then. It tasted like shredded tyres.
With my stomach full and wallet empty, we pressed on through the stalls. The food stalls were grouped together into a fenced-off area, which was surrounded by policemen authorized to use the force of rudeness should anybody try to sneak out booze into the city centre and corrupt the roaming gangs of teenage arsonists that inhabit Manchester with bootleg mead.
The stalls contained ungodly horrors from a world to which style is as alien a concept as leg cramp is to an eel. By this time, the girls I was with had bought some mulled wine. I won’t disclose how much it was, but it was far, far too much.
This thing didn’t even have an excuse to be there, not being related to Christmas in the slightest. On the other hand, that ‘Fairy World’ display stand – minus fairies – is only £20, so my brother’s Christmas present this year is sorted.
I only have a photographic record of a couple of these stands, so they barely draw testament to the acres upon acres of resin I passed by. I regret not taking a photo of those glittery dragons left of centre, so you’ll just have to take my word as to how stroke-inducingly vile they were. Mythical sky-ruling beasts of inferno and slaughter reduced to a tasteless plastic centrepiece. It’s almost enough to bring a tear to one’s eye. On the other hand, I wish I’d seen those hourglasses while I was there. They look pretty bitchin’.
So long then, from Manchester’s German-Christmas-Festival-Market. Did I feel any more seasonal as I boarded the train back out to the campus? Did I fuck.
I wonder if anybody bought that fairy world stand.
PS. Thanks to Vittoria for most of the photos here. For this, she is awarded the coveted status of Dull Hypothesis’ Official Italian!