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Sunday, 22 December 2019

Whamhalla Awaits

Can you hear this picture?


Now as it is a certain time of year I bet a fair few of you have heard this song. Recently even. I bet that at least one of you have heard it today, even.

There is a certain amount of creep, when it comes to Christmas. It somewhat feels like the Christmas-branded guff comes out earlier and earlier every year, and the eagerness for people to start being their happy little elf-selves is palpable by the beginning of October. I've personally always held to the Halloween rule - after that, do what you want, the big holiday of the year is already over.

There is also a common link between how early Christmas decorations start being put up and generalised depression within a community, but yanno.

Perhaps a more visceral indication of the oncoming festivities is when the music starts playing on the radio and such - the first creeping out of your Wizzards and your Pogues and your Slades and such. Then you have your songs that have the word "Christmas" in them so they are automatically Christmassy, and songs that have bells in them so they are also Christmassy for no apperent reason, like East 17.

And then you have this little yuletide ditty, too - this little tune by pop lads Wham, from back in 1984. Last Christmas. A song and a video in combination that tell us of a man who is terrified of being alone but also can't let go of the girl that apparently randomly seduced him the Christmas before and then dumped him immediately.

The video doesn't seem to convey this angle. It more seems to be that the band and their friends all hang out in a ski lodge over Christmas, and that Andrew Ridgeley is now going out with George Michael's ex, but they still all hang out together anyway, a situation I would literally shoot myself in the foot to not have to deal with.

How do you deal with the unavoidable, inexorable Christmas creep? (No, not that guy in the office that you really should report to HR.)

You turn it into a game, of course.

Whamageddon. It's been running for years, now - the rules have been formalised. It begins at midnight, at the very beginning of December, and the goal is to make it to midnight Christmas Eve without hearing Last Christmas by Wham. If you hear it, and you recognise it, you have to declare it. You're out of the game, and consigned to Whamhalla. If you make it? You have achieved glory - feel free to blast the tune first thing on Christmas morning to celebrate (and wake up your neighbours).

Covers are okay. Remixes are okay. They aren't the original song, so by definition, they don't count. A lot of folks who like this song but play Whamageddon anyhow stave off  "Wham Cravings" by this method. It isn't illegal to sabotage your friends - adding it to a community playlist, sneaking it into the youtube queue at a party, literally walking up to people while playing it on your phone - but it is considered a serious breach of etiquette and a total dick move.

I lost Whamageddon this year at the work Christmas party, which is probably true for most people. I was out early. I don't know if anyone else that I know is still in, at this point. Maybe. We live in hope.

It's this kind of little game - this constant social game that other people know about and participate in - that can make life a little better. Like injokes with your friends (37!), or like The Game (which you just lost), or THIS nonsense, before insecure racists turned it into their little feel-better symbol (assholes).

I hope you have your own little games to play this Christmas - your own little things to do, ways to stay sane.

Look after yourselves.

If you'd care to share my blog with your friends, I'd appreciate that! If you'd like to thank me in a fiscal form for entertaining you a little bit, I do have a Patreon right here, but please - no pressure. Thank you for reading, and check my social media to the right to keep in touch.

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