Everyone has them. Don’t try to deny it. They’re cluttering up our bedrooms, making the path to the wardrobe more dangerous, and making it next to impossible to sneak into bed for a late afternoon nap without extensive planning. You realise that by now, nearing the end of January, this shouldn’t be a problem. We’re grown ups! That’s what we tell ourselves when we eat crisps and a Mars bar for dinner and what our parents tell us when the bank balance dips mid-month. Every year we tell ourselves we’ll be better, more organised. And yet each year December 25th rolls around and by the time we get back to flats and halls in January we have acquired huge amounts of stuff we have no idea what to do with.
Here at Culture we understand the plight of anyone who has ever been given a light-up snowman or a stamp in the shape of the Facebook ‘Like’ button. More than that, we can totally relate. There are presents that we love, and that amuse us, which we really get, but that are just so completely and utterly useless. Funnily enough, we think that’s a bit like culture. This is for all of you who have ever seen a play and thought, “I liked that. I think. I mean, I think I enjoyed it…Mostly,” but on the walk home you’re unsure where it belongs and what its further purpose is. That’s the novelty jumper you’ll never wear. Books create this same problem but it’s one step worse: you’re left with the physical book on your bookcase, which even though you won’t read again, you hang on to forever and ever. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Like nice soap too good for regular use but really, who needs posh soap? We’re not sure where art fits into things, but in the interest of fairness, we’ll assume it does. Choosing to believe that I’m not the only one who looks ignorantly at art and judges it on colour and size alone (“Does it fit? Does it go?), I assume that’s a bit like another favourite present. The bottle of flavoured liqueur too nasty to drink unless you really don’t need another. It was clearly on offer and the right shape for the bag.
Despite the constant battle with the pretty carved candles and the strange rotary grater (sorry Mum, it’s just, well, it’s awful), we realise that we are immensely fortunate. We’re sorry to complain about our first world problems, but seriously, next year skip the comic gifts: send us to the theatre instead.