This Year’s Advent Calendar (2019)

Today’s advent calendar picture is of Dame Thora Hird going off on one because someone has linked all of her paper clips together in a long chain and she needs a paperclip.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of a perplexed stoat.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of the smile on Norse god Thor’s face slowly fading as he realises that the argument had had in his improv group had been real.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of a puddle on the floor from a leaky roof, next to a Wet Floor warning sign, in a factory that makes buckets.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of Martin Scorsese being chased through Poundstretcher by a bearded blue Pokemon.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of Top Cat and his wayward brother Bottom Cat arguing with a nun over the last fake moustache in the joke shop.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of the world’s largest My Little Pony being ridden by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau in the fifth race of the day at Epsom. They are coming last.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of a moment of jocularity at the margarine factory as Bill on production lime fifteen puts his false teeth on a margarine tub and everyone’s laughing.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of a killer whale ironing Batman’s uniform while a semi naked Batman is nervously pointing out the window at the Bat signal but the killer whale is too busy watching an episode of Salvage Hunters on a small tv.

Today’s Advent calendar picture is of Tony the Tiger being arrested for shoplifting in the kitchen utensils aisle of Poundland. ‘They’re grrrrrraters’, he’s saying, in a vain attempt to remind them of his fame.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of a pack of three rubber door stops, £1.99.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of Professor Brian Cox’s legs poking out the top of a haystack, next to a deflated parachute, and a man with an exuberant moustache wheeling a market barrow on which you can only purchase a pack of three rubber door stops, £1.99.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of an advent calendar picture showing today’s advent calendar picture which is a picture of today’s advent calendar picture.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of The Incredible Hulk about to go off on one because he can’t see how much battery life his iPad has due to a crumb from the baguette he’s eating having fallen on the battery logo, and he’s swiped it three times and yet still the crumb is there.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of Pam Ayres sneezing on a duck.q

Today’s advent calendar picture is of an elk wearing a flat cap.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of a hedgehog at an acupuncturist’s.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of a confused zebra on bin day.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of 1980s pop group Bucks Fizz arguing in the curtains section of Debenhams with the sales assistant, who happens to be The Emperor from Star Wars.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of a Fear of Abandonment group being told that their workshop facilitator is running late.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of Hilda Ogden just finishing cleaning the last step at the top of a lighthouse just as the door opens and Woking Football Club start running in and up the stairs with muddy boots.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of Sir Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein and Professor Brian Cox trying to figure out how to change the time on the clock on the cooker.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of the Easter Bunny in a hot air balloon with the Toilet Duck and they’re both taking selfies while Foghorn Leghorn operates the burner. Toilet Duck is doing the duck face. They’re about to collide with Lidls.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of a plate of six nuns fighting over the last custard cream biscuit which a squirrel has just nicked anyway.

Tinsel

Ho ho ho!

Every year for the last ten years or so I’ve written a Christmas poem or two. So this year I’ve gathered them all together as a present for some close friends, and then I thought, well, why not make it available generally?

So Puddlehopper Books and myself are pleased to announce to the world a pamphlet just for Christmas, Tinsel! It contains some of my various poems written especially for Christmas and it’s available through the Lulu website.

Tinsel is the ideal stocking filler, a book for evenings of warmth and that post Christmas glow. Details on how to order Tinsel can be found below, as well as one of the poems from the book.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/robert-garnham/tinsel/paperback/product-24334960.html

This Year’s Advent Calendar

Well this year’s advent calendar was a strange one. Here’s every day in it’s unusual glory.

Today’s advent calendar picture was of a duck wearing a Groucho Marx moustache, nose and glasses.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a clown waving his big shoe at a smoke detector
Today’s advent calendar picture is of the Easter Bunny trying to keep two sides of a build-it-yourself shed upright while Marilyn Monroe reads the instructions.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of the seven dwarves waiting, angrily, at a mobile chip van, while the lady serving, who for some reason is a panda, is looking at holiday photos being shown to her by Snarf from Thundercats
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Gandalf at the self service Tesco machine
Today’s advent calendar picture is of an advent calendar
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Vladimir Putin eating a Pot Noodle
Today’s advent calendar picture is of sixteen Laurels (from Laurel and Hardy) and Sid James queuing at a self service cafeteria.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a frog trying to push a sofa up a flight of stairs, backwards, sweating profusely.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of an igloo, a bin with contents strewn around, and a polar bear flaked out by tranquilliser dart.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a Peruvian brown bear wearing a scarf scraping frost off the windscreen of a parked car with its engine running.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a sneezing unicorn.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a badger and a rabbit having a row about who gets the last chicken mayonnaise sandwich in the chiller cabinet while TV’s Victoria Coren Mitchell sneaks in and grabs it for herself.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a stack of suspended ceiling tiles, £11 each plus postage and packing
Today’s advent calendar picture is of the nativity scene. (Bit early but there you go).
Today’s advent calendar picture is of fifteen donkeys wearing sombreros and a man at a stall trying to sell them more sombreros but the donkeys are having none of it.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a badger getting a refund on a pair of trousers.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Lord Byron on roller skates in a crumpled heap next to a slightly dented Ford Focus.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a panda in a library reading a Will Self novel, double checking some of the weightier vocabulary in a dictionary.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Mr T from The A Team at the boating lake in the park, rowing a rowing boat past some rhododendrons.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a squid waiting in the queue for the Primark changing room with a Tigger the Tiger onesie.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Darth Vader in a lightsabre battle with Alan Bennett.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Michael Portillo looking very grumpy on a rail replacement bus. Oh, and why not, Skeletor from HeMan is sitting three rows behind him, eating a Pot Noodle.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a confused ostrich.

A Christmas miracle

It was a Christmas miracle
Just like the ones you hear about.
Mum had lost her glasses,
Couldn’t find them anywhere.

All year long without them,
Assumed for some reason I’d nicked them.
Why would I nick your glasses?, I asked.
For a crazy prop, maybe.
For one of your shows?

(I mean, seriously,
Don’t you think I’d have at least
Asked her?)

All year long without them.
Squinting at cooking instructions.
Just get a new pair, I said.
No, she replied,
They’re here somewhere.
Are you sure you didn’t nick them
For one of your crazy shows?

All year long without them.
Bifocals too, she said.
I remember having them
At Christmas.
It’s a problem which really
Does vex.
Seriously, what have you
Done with my specs?

All year long without them.
They’d hang on a chain round her neck
So that she couldn’t lose them.
And then she lost them.
And anyway,
At what point during my act
Would I need a pair of glasses on a chain?

It’s not like I’m a drag act.

All year long without them.
And do you know where they were?
In the Christmas decorations box,
Sitting atop tinsel having been
Packed erroneously
Eleven months before.

Another Christmas miracle,
Another Christmas delight.

Seriously, though, I protest,
I wouldn’t have just taken them.
Jeez.

Three Christmas Poems

Poem

There’s nothing under the tree
Nothing for you and nothing for me
At least not a thing that I can see
Since Santa fell down sizewell b

Rudolf has got the night off
And donner and blitzen have a nasty cough
The sleigh is now wrapped around a tree
And Santa fell down sizewell b

A large concrete chimney silhouetted against the sky
Santas dodgy tummy from a bad mince pie
He’s run out of tea and he needs a wee
And now he’s fallen down sizewell b

To the boy in the window who waved
To the elves in the factory who are all enslaved.
A Christmas elf dreams of liberty
And santas fallen down sizewell b.

The sleigh is all covered in tinsel.
The cars and the houses are covered in tinsel
I can’t think of anything to rhyme with tinsel
And now santas fallen down sizewell b.

Marjorie wants world peace
Dave wants an end to starvation
Gemma wants less underrepresentation in the media
Francis wants a more transparent banking system
Lisa wants a respite from the crushing oblivion which awaits us all
Jim wants a cheap pair of socks
But none of them will get what they need
Cos santas fallen down sizewell b

He’s down there!
He’s down there!
You can just make out his face a glower
From the bottom of the cooling tower

Poem

Amid the tinsel of a November Weatherspoons
A cold air nip as the log fire cracks
Alone at table 67, traditional breakfast
No one to share the superfluous hash brown with.
You can’t put tinsel on loneliness.

Twenty years of solo meals and microwave Christmas puds
And naps in party hats and texts from exes
And pondering on paperwork to pass the time
Or at least the polishing or painting of skirting boards
You can’t put tinsel on loneliness.

You can’t put fake snow on despair
You can’t hang angst on a tree
You can’t parcel up and shrink wrap disappointment
You can’t fill a stocking with ennui
You can’t put tinsel on loneliness.

A mardy face sneering under a felt red Santa hat
Randy nights of crackers pulled, curtains drawn and candles snuffed
Christmas Eve spending the day at your mothers, as a ‘friend’
Unwrapping just the one present and finding its a tea towel
It’s the thought that counts
You can’t put tinsel on loneliness.

Here he comes now, Josh, duty manager,
Yes everything’s all right with my meal, tell me how you’d feel
These cold mornings just expose the emptiness of the galaxy
And the dichotomy between companionship and the briefness of our existence,
Yes, everything’s all right with my meal, but
You can’t put tinsel on loneliness.

Table for one, sir?
Leave a coat on the chair so that
Some other loner doesn’t nab your seat
While you’re ordering at the bar
The all day breakfast is only served till eleven
You can’t put tinsel on loneliness.

Back amid the tinsel of a November Weatherspoons
Flimsy cardboard card advertising overpriced turkey
And the promise of not having to do the washing up
We timed our orgasm for the stroke of midnight
Rhythmic with sleigh bells like a radio jingle xmassified
You can’t put tinsel on loneliness.

Poem

The bus driver is wearing a Santa hat
So that’s alright, then.
He’s as surly as ever, bless him,
Drums his fingers on the steering wheel,
A sea of red tail lights matching
The red of his Poundland felt hat.
He’s made the effort.

The teenager in the supermarket
Didn’t know if they had any more Utterly Butterly.
He looks nervously, left to right,
Light a rabbit in the headlights, like it’s all a test,
And I want to reassure him, but it’s ok,
Because he’s wearing a Santa hat.

The genial geography teacher
Drones about longshore drift,
And the formation of spits.
There’s something vaguely creepy
About the way he always picks on Kyle
And makes Kyle the butt of every joke,
But it’s ok today because, gosh,
He’s wearing a Santa hat, and so is Kyle.

There’s a doo wop choir in the high street
Singing up tempo versions of Christmas classics
As shoppers stress over single use bags,
A gust of wind and their felt Santa hats
Flip up into the air like a red and white wave,
At the exact moment they belt out the final note
Of Santa Claus is Coming To Town.
Be good, for goodness sake.

I’ve never owned a felt Santa hat.
They make my forehead itch and I’m really
Not as jolly as the sort of person who could
Pull it off,
But there are those who aspire to joviality
And others who wear them because it’s what you do,
Isn’t it?
Every night I go home to an empty flat.

The lady behind the counter in the coffee shop
Has just cocked up an order and her boss
Is explaining company procedure right there,
In front of everyone, while Christmas songs play
On the speakers, and wouldn’t you know it,
But both of them are wearing felt Santa hats,
So that’s ok, then.

This year’s advent calendar 

Well this year’s advent calendar was a strange one. Here’s every day in it’s unusual glory. 
Today’s advent calendar picture was of a duck wearing a Groucho Marx moustache, nose and glasses.

Today’s advent calendar picture is of a clown waving his big shoe at a smoke detector 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of the Easter Bunny trying to keep two sides of a build-it-yourself shed upright while Marilyn Monroe reads the instructions. 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of the seven dwarves waiting, angrily, at a mobile chip van, while the lady serving, who for some reason is a panda, is looking at holiday photos being shown to her by Snarf from Thundercats
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Gandalf at the self service Tesco machine 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of an advent calendar 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Vladimir Putin eating a Pot Noodle 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of sixteen Laurels (from Laurel and Hardy) and Sid James queuing at a self service cafeteria.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a frog trying to push a sofa up a flight of stairs, backwards, sweating profusely.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of an igloo, a bin with contents strewn around, and a polar bear flaked out by tranquilliser dart. 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a Peruvian brown bear wearing a scarf scraping frost off the windscreen of a parked car with its engine running. 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a sneezing unicorn.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a badger and a rabbit having a row about who gets the last chicken mayonnaise sandwich in the chiller cabinet while TV’s Victoria Coren Mitchell sneaks in and grabs it for herself.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a stack of suspended ceiling tiles, £11 each plus postage and packing 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of the nativity scene. (Bit early but there you go). 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of fifteen donkeys wearing sombreros and a man at a stall trying to sell them more sombreros but the donkeys are having none of it.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a badger getting a refund on a pair of trousers.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Lord Byron on roller skates in a crumpled heap next to a slightly dented Ford Focus. 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a panda in a library reading a Will Self novel, double checking some of the weightier vocabulary in a dictionary. 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Mr T from The A Team at the boating lake in the park, rowing a rowing boat past some rhododendrons. 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a squid waiting in the queue for the Primark changing room with a Tigger the Tiger onesie.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Darth Vader in a lightsabre battle with Alan Bennett. 
Today’s advent calendar picture is of Michael Portillo looking very grumpy on a rail replacement bus. Oh, and why not, Skeletor from HeMan is sitting three rows behind him, eating a Pot Noodle.
Today’s advent calendar picture is of a confused ostrich.

You Can’t Put Tinsel on Loneliness

Here’s my Christmas poem for this year.
https://youtu.be/QeCr-13YBEo

Poem
Amid the tinsel of a November Weatherspoons 

A cold air nip as the log fire cracks

Alone at table 67, traditional breakfast 

No one to share the superfluous hash brown with.

You can’t put tinsel on loneliness.
Twenty years of solo meals and microwave Christmas puds

And naps in party hats and texts from exes

And pondering on paperwork to pass the time

Or at least the polishing or painting of skirting boards

You can’t put tinsel on loneliness.
You can’t put fake snow on despair 

You can’t hang angst on a tree

You can’t parcel up and shrink wrap disappointment

You can’t fill a stocking with ennui

You can’t put tinsel on loneliness.
A mardy face sneering under a felt red Santa hat

Randy nights of crackers pulled, curtains drawn and candles snuffed

Christmas Eve spending the day at your mothers, as a ‘friend’

Unwrapping just the one present and finding its a tea towel

It’s the thought that counts 

You can’t put tinsel on loneliness.
Here he comes now, Josh, duty manager,

Yes everything’s all right with my meal, tell me how you’d feel

These cold mornings just expose the emptiness of the galaxy 

And the dichotomy between companionship and the briefness of our existence,

Yes, everything’s all right with my meal, but

You can’t put tinsel on loneliness.
Table for one, sir?

Leave a coat on the chair so that

Some other loner doesn’t nab your seat

While you’re ordering at the bar

The all day breakfast is only served till eleven

You can’t put tinsel on loneliness.
Back amid the tinsel of a November Weatherspoons 

Flimsy cardboard card advertising overpriced turkey

And the promise of not having to do the washing up

We timed our orgasm for the stroke of midnight

Rhythmic with sleigh bells like a radio jingle xmassified 

You can’t put tinsel on loneliness.