Loony Lennox fucking hated ‘Christmas’, with undisguised passion, nursing a lifelong aversion to its traditional trumpeting of contrived pleasantries once each calendar year; seeing as on all other days, bonhomie is permanently overshadowed, by an oppressively exploitative Plutocratic anti-culture. Indignation erupted, as Len’s instinctive reaction to so many audacious, bold-faced lies, breathtaking public stupidity, palpable greed, & junkyards of waste gaudily decorating a single serving of ‘Christian goodwill’ (aka a masscrime de narcissisme, endemic to Q4).
Len’s formative experiences didn’t help. Lenny was an involuntary, unwilling product of a base, toxic, secular family home, & recipient of an unreasonably violent minority. Xmas in particular, was an ordeal. Set in deepest, darkest midwinter, affording limited scope for outdoor recreation (all his mates being dutifully committed to family gatherings), a ‘holy day’, during which mixed antagonists, overly familiar to his mother, & her damp, cramped, two-bed rental, irreligiously spent an unhealthy amount of time knitted together, feasting in a smog of acrid cigarette smoke, with a torturous backdrop odour of steaming cauliflower, & accompanying boiled-to-buggery Brussels sprouts.
Worse still, post-juvenescence, Lenny’s Yuletide holly & poisoned ivy issues evolved. December 25th, was Len’s birthday, so more than purely representing an exasperating epicentre of carol singing festivity, it was an integral part of his existential crisis, infallibly gifting him premonitions of impending doom, & raking-up tedious, exacerbating piles of depressing Advent recollections from primary school (where proponents of this nativity themed pageant, malevolently forced Len to assemble, despite his cogent dissent as a junior apostate, awkwardly alongside unintelligible, caterwauling, rosy-cheeked urchins, belting-out doleful renditions of ‘Little Donkey’). Each season, the episodes’ sickening, dramatic displays of public exuberance, sprinkled with a stage-managed spiritual solemnity, culminated in a dread sense of personal loss. Deep in Len’s studious reading of ‘pataphysics grew an idea, that he’d been figuratively thrown, with a truly arbitrary, criminal menace, from an inscrutable, jingling sleigh ride ensky: literally fly-tipped, into an absurd, wasteful, materialistic, oppugnant world of oceanic garbage gyres, & humungousland-fills
Rejecting vague, untenable theories, of a Great chain of Being, or those supportive of a generally accepted social class structure, based on what exponents touted as a natural, caste-based, & hereditary subordination to a priori hierarchies, Len’s autodidactic adult self, characterised such advocacy as evil spin, & dismissed it, along with celestial Noël’s perennial, ever mutating phenomena, as anally discharged, sexually transmitted scurf (distasteful colonic fungal eruptions, formulated via violent coitus, a lubed-up three’s-up, involving dodgy, late antiquity Greek Bishops, Ashkenazim, & wire-haired, sausage-munching, proto-German pagans, sky-high on egomania & magic mushrooms). Yet their farkakte concoction of Judeo-Christian mendacity, & bog-hopping, primitive mumbo-jumbo prevailed- with its infectious ‘all things bright & beautiful’ allure, manifesting mesmerically each winter, entrancing endless gushing streams, of enfevered, mouth-breathing numpties.
Big Len deduced, inevitably, in the fullness of time, power corrupts, & corruption yields authoritarian power: a suppression of opposition, & complete control over comparatively honest-to-goodness numbskulls, for whom it’s mind-bogglingly tenable to hold faith in omnipresent, yet unknowable, heavenly jurisdictions – maintaining universal cycles of life/planetary constellations- momentarily pausing from conducting unlimited Sisyphean galactic responsibilities to, paris passu, personally present folk with catalogue selected, thrift-budget, hire-purchased presents, & sundry FMCG, in reward for dutifully abstaining from consuming chocolates during Lent.
Not a pulchritudinousprospect, per oppositum, fascistic festive bullshit masqueraded intolerably- goading Len’s festering, atheistic, wounded child within. He loathed an emetic, temporal elite (laughing their toniest tinselled tits off, legging over compliant herds of unorganised wage-slaves); sniggering Tufton Street propagandists (rehashing puerile fairytales for mentally enfeebled, vulnerably servile, atomised consumers), & their retched, uniformed ranks of little helpers: system security forces- amoral tools of oppression, wannabe concentration camp guards, lickspittle famulus types (all pitifully angst ridden, when facing their epauletted superiors), soliciting supreme forgiveness from arrant scum masters for being uninventive, & insufficiently ruthless to successfully pursue-prosecute targeted, divergent vermin, lurking amidst hills, council estates, Badger setts, or scurrying like cockroaches, from capsized inflatable’s grounded along England’s eastern ‘gypsy shores’.
As a veritable wild child, renegade master, espousing Power to the People! Len saw ‘prerogative’ as the ultimate font of repression, from which rooted all manner of ills- a conspicuous, suffocating wealth, savoured by rent-seekers the most obvious, & its glorification presented as, in an act of devotion to the one true God, the pinnacle of human achievement, rather than a sad terminal debasement of common decency & any shared, unifying morality. Unforgivably, rabid nationalism, fostered by the treasonable House of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, along with a traitorous Church of England, played leading abusive roles, in dignifying & cultivating an ongoing historical amnesia, treacherously misleading fellow citizens, undermining any intellectual or journalistic integrity, & incessantly paving abominable highways, toward future crimes against humanity.
On the other hand, our softheaded demos were culpable, having capitulated; transformed nowadays into blinkered regiments of addiction. Len maintained that unquestioningly paying taxes, consuming tropical luxuries as if they were necessities, indulging in ephemeral rewards of the leisure & retail industries, rendered one guilty of complicity in a system of international exploitation of those less privileged, & anyone ignoring their complicity compounds that complicity. He concluded that the only honesty left is an honest admission that everyone’s now pawns in a game, & anybody unwilling to change their own inherently exploitative lifestyles, or to vacate their own cherished positions of relative privilege, are in effect, wardens of our own open, yet high security prison. As such, with visceral detestation, Len abhorred Christmas shoppers acting in reflex, responding to advertising stimuli, unable to recognise the cracked façades of their ubiquitous, flagrantly trade-marked, black mirrors.
Dragged backwards, as a nipper, Len was roughly reversed through stifling shopping malls & department stores, by a neurodivergent mother, an insipid housewife of simple, received, faith, who contemplated Chrissie as the jolliest of times; generating thrilling sartorial opportunities to glam-up. She imagined the whole affair a benign minor miracle, blessed by an invisible right-hand, of a masculine, fair-skinned, ultra-national, English speaking, shop-keeping, Caucasian God.
Left, seemingly for an eternity, awaiting mommie dearest, outside ladies changing rooms, wee Len, unloved & unwanted, like some dusty ornament, or a token curio from a transitory affair, wandered off, to press against those glass exteriors, fronting a plethora interchangeable shops; it could be an emporium dedicated to exclusive Provençal face cream- whatever they sold, he stared inside at the bland products like a piqued Martian.
Enraged by an acute embarrassment, provoked in her by incredulous security personnel, scolding & enquiring as to why she hadn’t responded to their PA, &/or rushed to collect four-year old Len from their care, mother, by way of furious revenge, angrily chased her little boy around their tiny flat, growling & thrashing him with the heavy metal end of their dead dogs lead, until finally exhausted, she abated, pouring herself a strong Southern Comfort, with a Babysham chaser.
Licking multicoloured wounds, Len precociously realised himself as of no importance to anyone; merely a boring assemblage of mundane materials. A poor, fledgling, & ragged substrate perhaps, still- he understood himself thereon as an ongoing survivor of terrible, continuous abuses, existing irreparably in an aftermath of personal catastrophe.
When Mums’ elderly parent’s health declined, she got into a new Christmas tradition of making devotional trips north of the border, to visit them in Glasgow over the holidays, stopping until after New Year, unhindered by her children (deeming both old enough to stay at home, quietly & unobtrusively with their dictatorial stepfather. Him, a merrily pensioned, moustachioed, one-time merchant seaman, ships chaplain cum eternally unrepentant child abuser, gleefully adorned by garish, chunky knitted Xmas jumpers (100% tat), mostly steaming drunk, battering Len & tiny twin sister Myra, on successive Christmas Days, repetitively screeching ‘that’s for nothing, now do something!’
Too miniature to construct effective defences, too secular a mini martyr to flee (seeking sanctuary), too creative (after the sailor died) to blindly forget (consigning an ex-ensign to history’s nonce-bin, damnatio memoriae); on the contrary, Len girdled in knotted big boy nick-noks, bearing heavy, sensitive crosses, wandered into middle-age & beyond, under three shadows of performance art: pain, imagination, & an acute sense of absurdity. Len abided, stoically strolling on, drinking from fathomless cups of question marks, decanted from charred, chasmic kettles of doubt (left unattended, some had bothersomely boiled over erenow).
A few blips emerged, blemishing Len’s career- his working life turned out to be an incomplete, chequered series of paltry wage packets. It started out reassuringly mainstream; following a crackerjack chat with a state school vocational guidance counsellor (imagine a black hole, preternatural sucking noises, & you’ve formed a fair facsimile), Lenny joined Ryman’s on the high street- gaining notoriety as a flim-flamboyant guy, aggressively dancing to the Star Wars cantina theme, at the stationers Christmas party. After this stellar cameo, he careered downhill- lamentably incapable of sustaining a legendary office place status incorporating paperclips, printer cartridges & permanent markers.
As an angry young stallion in need of support, TLC, sustenance, & camaraderie, Len predictably ran off to gay Paris, joining the Cirque Medrano where he mastered innovative high tempo mixes of dressage, & breathtaking impromptu bareback equestrian routines. These cunning stunts, performed au naturel, made Len (hung like a Shetland pony) a cause célèbre: but like all good periods in his life, it wilted on account of a sorry series of unfortunate events.
Drifting back to London, & balls-deep into male prostitution, Len hammered away under an alias of the ‘Dominant Ferret’, until deterred by the demise of his foremost customer, who perished of an AIDS related illness in Brompton Hospital, two-weeks prior to Christmas (another epiphany, bringing unwanted, supplementary wreathedfatality). Shaken by hostile events & frenzied media coverage, Len stirred himself to segue into erotic pole dancing.
Built like a truck, as male stripper in a Go-Go Bar, he’d still occasionally bump for a buck, yet most days, tips in a G-String made his living. Alas, it’s a young man’s game; time & tide waits for no one. So, as he approached 40, sporting an unattractive thicket of sprouting grey pubes, his perfect skin & professional bookings dried-up; thereafter, in the eyes of escort industry impresarios, Len resembled an unemployable husk.
Whilst foolish accoutrements never really choked Len’s chicken, unemployment brought poverty & an acceptance that all the consumerist manna symbolised by Christmas, ever associated with the genesis of his miserable lonely life, & so sorely coveted by that bitch of a mother, who brought him screaming into this hideous, unfriendly, world, tantalisingly dangled, like a Christmas tree fairy, always beyond his tetchy, stunted reach.
In search of much needed currant bun, Len wafted off to Torremolinos, handing out flyers, touting timeshare opportunities along the Costa Del Sol, with its imperial cloak of Franco irrefragably lifted & seamlessly replaced by battling beach towels on tour: the Isle of Sheppey vs. St. Pauli. In post-party middle age, Len took up ‘art’ as a spare time hobby, engrossing his self in cubism, & in particular left-leaning Picasso’s oleaginous reaction to oppression by the forces of control (Len wouldn’t cross a pedestrianisation to piss upon any offensively romantic Royalist arse-lickers like Goya, even if he was on fire).
Tending a hangover one Sunday morning, protecting his discombobulated, roastednut, he sat under the sweet shade of an Almond tree, by his easel, on the promenade, recreating ‘Guernica’ on a cheap calico canvass. Fatefully, a louche English aristocrat, cruising under the moniker ‘Count-Duke of Olivares’, stopped to accost, & sneer at Lenny curtly in RP, with inappropriate condescension & insulting catty remarks. It was an ill starred dialogue, which put the kibosh on Len’s monumental Iberian pipe-dream. After a brief, testy, Daliesque exchange, Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimentel, with attention to detail (in exemplary historical attire), concluded: ‘You are a painter? So am I (however, as a widely published, semi-professional, I am your better). You are a lover of Spain? So am I! You are a communist? Neither am I’ thus ruffled, Lenny lamped the surrealist cunt.
After a violent scuffle, including intervening paramilitary members of the Policía Nacional, Len was arrested & consequently deported following a summary civil court judgement. Lenny humbly sought financial support from his casual employers, for a soft loan, so as to take the matter to the Tribunal Supremo de España, but he found himself alone, boracic lint, & without allies, in the face of smug & entitled adversaries.
Back once again, anchored in broken, Benefits Britain, enduring a feral Badgers lifetime of grinding hardship, Len’s plight was considered & interpreted by Psychiatric Social Workers (public sector psychological professionals, financially restricted from conveying necessary, practical assistance).
Painfully approaching his 70thbirthday, rather than sagely taking a timely December breather, to rest-up, spank the monkey, or imbibe flagons of herbal tea, Len ultimately buckled under the strain of a zero-hours Santa gig (on minimum wage, without any contractual security), in a Great Grotto Emporium at his local shopping mall. It was a crazy, regrettable appointment. But thanks to encroaching dementia, anticipating his mortality, Lennox fantasised that being accepted as a penitent employee in the grotto, at the beating heart of heady, unrestrained festive happiness, might seed a belated conversion, proving in some way therapeutic, or somehow render an ouroboros moment, bringing a fresh perspective, a new Lennox (old skin shed, metamorphosis complete).
In reality circumstances unfolding, failed to live up to his lofty expectations. Flippant, sarcastic, five-minute job introduction training, administered by giggling undergraduate staff, was restricted to ‘never begin sentences with phrases like, for as much as it hath pleased the Lord thy God.’
His sorority supervisors, two débutants, were riding a frisson of excitement amidst the situations peculiarity- amused by Len’s somewhat desperate, urgent relevance. For such well heeled, private schooled, posh girls, every living day was Christmas-like- & this year’s bonus prize arrived in the shape sharing hilarious experiences, & making laughable memories from temporary jobs, employed beside crude, subservient subjects; lending these trust fund sisters, narcissistic occasions, to conspicuously flounce, into ordinary offices, adorned in bedazzling Balenciaga coats, Jimmy Choos, & to die for Birkin handbags.
Tragically tipped over multiple emotional precipices, into a psychotic episode, brought on by flashing lights, wall-to-wall tinsel (&, minus a protective horcrux, the death of another chunk of his withering soul), non-stop invasive grubby fingers, red snotty noses, stinky soiled nappies, topped of with a sticky, spitty, sucked candy cane rammed up his bugle. Len snapped. Bridling, ascending a metaphysical Shetland pony of liberty, loudly announcing, in a rebel yell, directed towards bewildered parents ‘No surrender, Marina Ginesta’, prior to cantering, fully fancy-dressed, State Pension travel pass to hand, outside onto a chaotic, snow-covered omnibus terminus.
Story: Evan Findlay Hay