Sunday 22 December 2013

Sunday 22nd December - Christmas

Thank you for your kind wishes yesterday.  I now have proper 'lurgie' but I am sure I will be able to shake it off before the big day.  Overly elaborate quantities of food do not cook themselves.  To that end I am hurling myself into a supermarket today (the horror) after a trip to Ikea (I have gone insane, I blame the drugs).  Sadly, if I do not go to Ikea, Grampy or Grandma will have to sit on the floor to eat dinner as we only have four chairs.  Damn.

Anyway, I'm guessing we have all been bombarded by the jolly technicolour images of the perfect Christmas which at present seems a lot of hard work.  Instead, I fancied something a bit more sombre...

Christmas (1903) József Rippl-Rónai
Gosh, here we have an elderly relative having a great time at Christmas.  She seems a little crow-like and appears to have her stick ready for any seasonal beatings that need to be dished out.  The other woman is writing at the desk - is she writing her thank you letters?  Maybe Grandma is quite harsh about how quickly you show your appreciation.  More than half an hour and you might find yourself visited by the prompting-stick...

Although this is an image of Christmas, it doesn't seem to overflow with seasonal spirit.  I wondered if Rippl-Ronai was making some illusion to the other side of Christmas.  As he was Hungarian, the artist would have been aware of the stories of St Nicholas' companion/weird counterpoint.  In some parts of Europe he is called Black Peter (extremely politically incorrect) and in some parts, he's called Krampus.

Have you been naughty or nice this year?  If the answer is naughty you have more to worry about than just a lack of presents under the tree.  I must admit that until the advent of things like Facebook, I was unaware of Krampus, but now I am especially good so that I am not taken away by the terrifying devil creature who, I'm guessing, doesn't just give you a bit of a telling off.  Well, not everyone wants turkey for Christmas dinner.

There is a debate currently afoot as to whether Krampus is suitable for children because it is frankly terrifying.  Okay then, how about the above as an alternative?  The original Krampus had a bit of a taste for buxom women too (there's a surprise), so why should there not be a buxom woman Krampus, dishing out punishment to naughty gentlemen?  I'm sure the lovely gentlemen who read this blog (all three of you) have been especially good this year, so would have nothing to fear.  Unless of course you quite fancy being scooped up by a statuesque lady in a fabulous frock.  I'm not judging.

Mind you, all that seems a little bit too jolly to be our Hungarian Granny.  She reminds me a little of Giles' Gran, an essential part of my Christmas when I was growing up.  For those who have never seen Giles' Annuals, they were satirical cartoons by Carl Giles, and a collection of his work for the year was available at Christmas as an annual.  I remember reading them as a child and not having a clue what they were about but the Gran was just so funny - malevolent, umbrella-wielding and merciless.  Who doesn't love that?  Actually, there are a lot of similarities between Krampus and Gran, but I suspect that Gran is far more terrifying.

See you tomorrow, and remember to behave yourself...


  1. Crikey I'm not sure if I'm excited or terrified of meeting Mistress Krampus.
    A Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  2. Ripple Ronnie has got to be the best artist's name ever. There was a painting by him in either the Symbolist Landscape exhibition I saw in Edinburgh last year, or in the Dark Romanticism one in Frankfurt, I forget which, but I'm glad to be reminded of him and that Christmas picture is a cracker.

    Yes, that devil lady with the birch rods will colour my dreams too this Christmas (which I'm spending at my brother's in Granada, setting off after work this afternoon). I hope you recover in time to enjoy the festivities and that your family understand how lucky they are. Of course you are insane, but we knew that already, it's part of why we all enjoy you so much.

  3. Thank you, chaps. May you remain unmolested by the Krampus Lady, unless you quite fancy it. Honestly, I'm beginning to see a means of supplementing my income at this time of year...

  4. Krampus is pretty scary! But perhaps not as scary as Ikea, especially at this time of year. Do hope you got your chairs, and food and all will be right on Christmas Day. x


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