78. Christmas – It’s all about Family (with James)

L: Oh Jesus. You need to explain these things when you say them. “When in Rome” is an expression, which is like an idiom that we use to say “When you’re in a place, you should do things according to the customs of that place”, so “When in Rome, live as the Romans do” or “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, “When in London, you can blow your nose”.
J: But you’re still saying “When in Rome”.
L: Yes
J: You don’t say “When in London”, do you?
L: No, you don’t. You say “When in Rome”, because that’s like an idiom.
J: That’s the idiom that covers the whole ‘ting’.
L: Okay. So blow my nose. You know, when you’ve blown your nose, do you ever look?
J: No, when anyone’s there looking, but yeah actually quite useful, because it helps you know, how ill you are. For instance, if it’s very dark mucus… means you’re probably quite ill, you should probably think about going to the doctor. Maybe we should just move away from that.
L: Two words: snot and mucus. Snot and mucus are both words to describe the green stuff that comes out of your nose, when you’re sick.
J: God.
L: Alright? Okay? Good.
J: Lets’ move on.
L: Moving on. I’ve got… I’ve actually written a list, I had brainstorm about Christmas and we’ve only dealt with about three items on this massive list. So we’ve got another, I would say another… I’d say we got up to an hour for this episode.
J: Ouch.
L: Yeah, that’s fine. It’s fine.
J: I trust, let’s get on with it then.
L: So I’ve got “Christmas used to be winter festival” we’ve dealt with that. So for me when Christmas starts is basically when Halloween has finished. Like in terms of the shops. The shops start putting up all their Christmas decorations, all their Christmas merchandise goes into the shops, right of the beginning of November.
J: That’s the kind of commercialization of Christmas.
L: Yeah.
J: Is that a word? We need to put that down.
L: Yeah. Commercialization of Christmas.
J: Which means the sort of, we know what commercial means – making money.
L: Okay.
J: So commercialization is the act of making Christmas about spending money.
L: Is kind of capitalism, isn’t it.
J: Capitalism I suppose.
L: So commercialization.
J: And some people feel that Christmas is too commercialized or that they start merchandising too quickly. So lot of people think, Christmas doesn’t really start until mid December.
L: And so, what happens is…
J: … but a lot of people start early. The shops start in November or even earlier sometimes.
L: You’ve got lots of Christmas decorations in the shops and what happens is: you always hear people complaining about: “Oh my God, I went into Sainsbury’s and they’ve already got their Christmas decorations up. It’s absolutely unbelievable. It’s only the 1st November. I mean what is the world coming to” every year. Don’t you hear someone saying that?
J: Yeah, you do. You do a lot.
L: That people always got so…
J: Most of the people is quite boring, but they might have a point that is a bit annoying being bombarded. There is a word.
L: Oh my God. Being bombarded.
J: It just means attacked…
L: It means being bombed…
J: Basically bombed… like we were.
L: Alright.
J: Let’s stay away from the kind of… don’t mention the war.
L: Yeah. Being bombarded by something. Now, the term originally means being bombed, when people drop bombs on you. Right? We all know what that means, but… you can also be bombarded by other things.
J: You can be visually bombarded.
L: Yeah, you could be bombarded by advertising or bombarded by merchandise…
J: …or bombarded by excessively loud music or terrible pop music.
L: Okay.
J: … bombarded by the X-Factor Hype.
L: Okay good example.
J: Thank you.
L: So the shops basically start dealing with Christmas as soon as Halloween is finished. Then they put their decorations, the lights go up in centre of town and they switch on the lights. Next one is the word: “Scrooge”.
J: Well that’s from a “Christmas carol” by Charles Dickens.
L: Yeah.
J: Who was a Victorian writer, was he?
L: Yeah. He was nineteenth century.
J: Nineteenth century. Quite famous “Great expectations” that was him, wasn’t it.
L: “Oliver Twist”.
J: One of our great British London-based writers.
L: He was a great writer, because he wrote about the experiences of most working class people in London.
J: Yeah. As well as the upper class people, he wrote about all types of people.
L: He wrote about…
J: He is a good record of the time. Sorry Luke thinks I’m talking over him. A bit like he’s like “Eastenders” of his day.
L: Yeah. “It’s all about family”.
J: Although some people might say “Eastenders” is a trashy soap opera. Do we know why soap operas are called soap operas? Because they are originally… mini operas, mini stories sponsored by soap companies.
L: You’re listening to James’s English Podcast.