In this festive Low Life column from the 19 December 1981 edition of The Spectator, Jeffrey Bernard talks us through some Christmases past.
I’ve tried ignoring Christmas but the bastard won’t go away. It’s never been a good time of year for me what with being ignored by Father Christmas — yes, I’m going to have a right old moan today — and three years ago being left completely alone in a freezing cottage. Season of goodwill? You must be joking. But at least I’ve had an office party this year in Kentish Town. Last night I poured a vodka into my electric typewriter and it nearly blew up. There aren’t any decorations here and in this day and age I reckon a man could get kicked in the balls if he was found loafing under the mistletoe. Which reminds me, I’m somewhat choked at not having been invited for a drink by the Guardian Women’s Page writers. I have been invited to take a drink with Cosmopolitan and Punch though, and Norman Balon went berserk in the Coach & Horses yesterday and bought me two drinks. Could this be some sort of trap?
Anyway, I think I may have cracked it this year. The Spectator is sending me to the Park Lane Hilton from where I shall be reporting to you on what it’s like to spend Christmas in a hotel. This could lead to suicide, I fear, if the self-pity and sentiment set in and I really don’t want to be found dead wearing a paper hat. One looks quite silly enough as it is. Incidentally, why isn’t there a Mother Christmas, or is Father Christmas a nasty woman in drag? There was a monster Father Christmas in Harrods years ago, when I was a kid, who actually had the nerve to grope me in a fairy-lit grotto.