Do you believe in the spirit of Christmas? It’s difficult, isn’t it? People constantly smiling and wishing you well, happy music playing wherever you go, the cold and empty hollow sound of children laughing. It’s a fucking horrible time of year. Be honest, is there anyone on this planet who hasn’t put a bullet through their televisions the very second that David Jason says “Consider yourself at home”? As if that wasn’t enough, Matt Smith and Karen Gillan also appear in the eye-rape that is the BBC Christmas trailer. Fine if they want to embarrass themselves but why drag a Cyberman down to that level? And then Scarlett Johansson made this bucket of awful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_Lj58hsOO4
I should make it perfectly clear: YOU MUST NEVER CLICK ON THAT LINK. I hope I wasn’t too late. Yes, Christmas can be a trying time and joy never comes along like it does in the movies. Christmas miracles don’t really exist. At least, I thought they didn’t.
I was on my way to a gig in Milton Keynes on Wednesday and the train was full of Christmas misery. It was crowded plus at least half the people on board had, for some reason, brought their Christmas shopping to London for the day. I was already in a bad mood because I missed an earlier train due to my bank being dicks. My card was declined at the train station and when I called my bank they said they had put a block on my account because they were suspicious that my card was being used fraudulently. “We noticed an increased use of your card so the fraud department were contacted”, they said. Increased use? At Christmas? Give me fucking strength.
So the busy train started its journey to Milton Keynes and I relaxed with a book. For about 12 seconds.
A family sat next to me. Mum, Dad, brother, sister. All very sweet and Christmassy except that daughter decided to listen to her iPod and was, in the spirit of Christmas, sharing her shit music with us all by playing it loudly. I immediately tensed up and, as my blood turned to lava, I decided to think carefully about my next move. They’re a family who’ve been out for a day in London together and they seem perfectly nice and cheery. On the other hand, they are clearly ignoring the fact that their daughter is a turd. I pondered for quite a while. In fact, I pondered for almost my entire journey but, with only 10 minutes to go before arriving at Milton Keynes, I broke. It’s not too much to ask for her to turn her music off. It’ll be fine.
That’s when the shouting started. Despite me being very polite to the girl, Mum just exploded. “Why are you talking to my daughter? Why are you talking to my daughter?” I answered both those questions clearly, calmly and politely but that wasn’t enough for this screaming hate-witch. I was continually told by Scary Mum that her daughter wasn’t bothering me which was incredibly factually inaccurate. She was bothering me to shit. Scary Mum then went on about how her daughter had every right to listen to her music despite the fact that she doesn’t and to tell me that I had no right to ask her to turn it off despite the fact that I do. Then she gave her husband a stare. I could tell by his face that he had received this stare before and he wearily went through the drill. “Would you leave us alone now, please?”, he said. I will as soon as she turns her music off, OK? “I don’t think she’s going to”. Scary Mum had had enough of Tired Dad and of me. She pointed in my face and shouted “You have no right. She’s just a child”. That’s when I shouted back “No. She’s just YOUR child. Don’t you have any control over your own children?”
She went a bit quiet then but the look she gave me could be heard by the dead. “She’s listening to her music”, she said much quieter than before. “Get used to it”.
OK, I said and got my iPhone out, scrolled down my iTunes to find Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t and played it loudly while holding it directly at Scary Mum. I am 43.
Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t is a loud, aggressive piece of thrash metal. I like it very much but I can see why it wouldn’t be everybody’s cup of tea. It certainly wasn’t to Scary Mum’s taste. She shouted at me and threatened to report me to transport police and also pointed out several times that I was Irish. Don’t know why as I already knew I was Irish. But after a minute of Anthrax I noticed some of the other passengers faces. They looked embarrassed. Let’s face it, they looked embarrassed for me. I’m a grown man doing battle against a protective mother with the power of heavy metal. I started going red. Crap. I’m going to have to switch the music off and give up. All I wanted to do was point out to someone that they might want to be more considerate to others but now it’s gone too far and I look stupid again. Why does it always have to be me that asks someone to turn their music down? Why does it always have to be me that makes a stand? Why does it always have to be me that makes a solid gold arse of himself? Will I always be alone?
And what happened then? Well, on London Midland trains they say that Michael Legge's small heart grew three sizes that day. A man sitting behind Scary Mum leaned over and pointed his iPod at her. It was playing heavy metal. I don’t know what it was but it was the most magical, wonderful, CHRISTMASSY heavy metal I’ve ever heard. Someone stood up and joined in. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? It’s about friendship, sharing joy and banishing the baddies. Some people started smiling…laughing. Two grown men in their 40’s ringing in Christmas cheer and uniting everyone in their festive, glowing hatred of dicks who play music too loudly on public transport. Tired Dad leaned over and asked his daughter for her iPod and then turned it off. Scary Mum looked furious but said nothing. Me and the guy switched our satanic carols off, thanked one another and sat down. I looked around and there were enough happy faces near me to make me think that, yes, Christmas is a special time of year. Maybe we should be more like this all year round. Hey, maybe we WILL. And just then, in the carriage of the London Midland train to Milton Keynes, it started to snow.
Merry Christmas, everybody.