Apparently four reels of the new movie ‘Little Fockers’ were nicked from a van delivering them to cinemas in the UK today. Teenagers are supposed to be behind it. The irony is astounding. How dare they!? Luckily the films they stole can only be played on a cinema projector and it’s very unlikely they’ll have one of those. In fact, can you even buy them anymore? My friend Alex had a small projector in Dubai that we fixed up to play Monty Python on his living room wall, once. I believe we used it again on Christmas Day to watch Titanic on a rooftop… hmmm, so yeah, maybe you can buy them, for DVDs. But you’d be hard pressed to find one that’d host a whopping great reel of film. Or any sort of film, really. This makes me think…
Isn’t it weird how you can get the smallest, most intricate Star Trekky things that flash and buzz and whir and download and upload and emit chart hits and videos of your mum singing karaoke into a carrot, but you can’t buy the really cool stuff anymore? The idea of what’s really awesome has been skewed. You notice it more at Christmas. Things that flash and buzz and whir will always be great gifts because they appear to be from the future, but there’s so much of them now that things from the past are getting rarer, AND more precious, and more valuable, not just in a monetary sense, but in the sense of what they mean to people when they get them.
My friend bought his girlfriend an awesome vintage tea trolley for her birthday a couple of weeks ago, and her other friends got her a bike with a basket on the front. Facebook was alight with comments of ‘ooooh’ and ‘aaaaah’ and ‘I’m jealous’, because these things are seriously cool. Everyone still loves the non-techy pressies that serve a proper purpose; the ones that you can touch and feel, and inherit, hand down, sell without warrantee and really cherish. But not as many people get them, these days, I bet. I wonder how many kids are asking for… say… a set of paints, as opposed to the PhotoShop package for their brand new Mac, this year. God this is all making me sound OLD!!!
But seriously. It feels like hardly anyone really THINKS too hard about what to get others for Christmas now. If they did, then why was walking down George Street just now like partaking in the Battle for Middle Earth? EVERYONE’s out, buying what they couldn’t be arsed to buy before. I mean, it’s not like Christmas sneaks up on us. It happens at the same time every year, on the same day, everywhere in the world, whether you want it to or not. There’s no excuse for an hour long queue to buy shite Reindeer splattered socks at David Jones. You should have bought them in the sale back in January, you IDIOT.
Only people do forget. After all, it’s more a commercial holiday now than anything worth celebrating for any other reason… like the birth of that lovely Carpenter’s son, Jesus, who sacrificed his life so we could do terrible experiments on mice, to make them sing like birds (and maybe a little bit so he wouldn’t have to be a tradie like his dad and get blistered hands, and a wife who only slept with invisible men so no one could accuse her of cheating with a human).
Give anyone an iPhone and they’re happy. Anyone. iThings are great. But you’re not gonna give it to your own kid one day, like you would a beautiful, vintage tea trolley, or bike-with-basket. You’ll put that iThing in the washing machine in your jeans pocket, or drop it in a pint of beer, and when it comes to getting an upgrade, you’ll chuck the carcass of the gift that gave you so much joy in the drawer that holds all the other shit you never use or need, but can’t quite bring yourself to part with. And thus, the gift giver is forgotten too.
While I clearly love iThings and other gadgets that make me feel “modern” , even ones that have clearly been purchased in a last minute flurry of Christmas consumerism – I can’t help but think Christmas was so much more meaningful when you knew you’d at least get something durable that you could re-gift to your own Little Fockers, years down the line. Nah, I’d never say no to another iThing, to add to the collection, but I have to say… I’m glad I’m of a generation that still appreciates receiving gifts from the heart, instead of just the high street.