I love that friendly, cheery, charity choir, wrapped up warm against the seasonal chill, holding lanterns on poles, regaling me with a wonderfully-harmonised 'Hark The Herald Angels Sing' on my doorstep. Glowing with the Christmas Spirit, suffused with goodwill to all men, they make me feel Christmassy all over. I love that sort of carol singer.
Of course, I don't get that sort of carol singer.
What I ACTUALLY get is a bunch of scruffy chavs in fake Kappa jackets, hoods and Burberry baseball caps firmly in place. No lanterns on poles for this lot - any lighting they have is more likely to be the still-smouldering remains of the last person to turn down their demands for cash. Suffused with Christmas Spirit? Er, no. Suffused with White Lightning and Mad Dog 20/20, more like. And of course, their vocal skills extend only as far as mumbling their way through four off-key lines of 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas before a bunch of grubby hands are extended expecting payment.
Carol singing? This isn't fucking carol singing, it's mugging set to music*.
I'm not a Scrooge. I don't believe that anyone wishing another a Merry Christmas should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. I love Christmas - but this isn't about the Christmas spirit.
Just like trick-or-treating at Halloween, a fun and well-meaning activity has been appropriated by scrotes and used as a means to intimidate people. More threat than tinsel, and more about money than merry.
Well, my little troupe of talentless troubadors, guess what? You're not getting any money. Yes, you can ring my doorbell four more times after I've told you to go away. Yes, you can even call 'mean wanker**' as I shut the door. I really couldn't give a shit. You do your worst*** - it really, honestly, can't be any more painfully intolerable than what you believe passes for singing.
In the meantime, I will ensure that the next time you ring my doorbell and attempt to demand money with menaces for a tuneless rending of about 20% of a single 'carol', you'll have a close and meaningful experience with about a hundredweight of reindeer droppings and a mulled-wine powered flamethrower.
Bah. And, possibly, Humbug.
*I am, of course, using 'music' in the same sense that it can be applied to most X-Factor contestants. That is, about as musical as listening to a disgruntled donkey having a razor blade drawn slowly across its scrotum.
**Of course, anyone who'd actually been to school or who had even watched anything more intellectually stimulating than 'The Wall' would probably shout 'Scrooge'. But given the educational standards in this area, I'm pretty gratified they have sufficient vocabulary to use 'mean' in one of its contexts.
***I live in Oxfordshire, where I can say 'do your worst' and be reasonably certain that I've already experienced it. Presence of chavs notwithstanding, in this area it's unlikely they'll stab me in the face and burn my house down.