Imagining the Bag of Tat

Christmas is upon us. I know this because even the normally sane are unable to resist the festive calls this year’s herald angel, Justin Bieber. Abandoning dignity, Marina Hyde fessed up to her horde of Christmas songs, a trove so catholic that Bieber finds admittance. In Toronto, The Globe & Mail tells me, that Bieber has fulfilled a life’s ambition with a rink side photo op with the Maple Leafs. (This appears to be routine – the Vancouver Canucks get Bublé, although here in Montreal the Canadiens have descended into a festive dispute over a newly installed anglophone coach, leaving the McGarrigle-Wainwrights, who could probably form their own hockey team, to perform their Christmas concert in more conventional venues). Other intimations include the clearer focus on reapings which a slower new cycle affords, this year’s harvest including Cesaria Evora, Christopher Hitchens, and Kim-Jong Il, and the transformation of my Facebook feed into a series of frontline dispatches from conflicts taking place in the aisles of distant supermarkets.

Overwhelmed by the schmaltz pouring from the radio, it is my normal habit to retreat to my room and examine the contents of the Bag of Tat. Last mentioned during the crazed pursuit of Battenburg cake in the Inverness branch of Marks & Spencer – to better celebrate the royal wedding, you understand – the Bag of Tat is a kind of oubliette in which are desposited the documents of our a collapsing civilization. It should be said that the bag of tat is a kind of grand guignol that is best approached with equanimity provided by the first sip of the second gin. With Atlantic preventing examination, the oubliette will have to be investigated contrarily, and from memory.

In it may be found the edition of OK! which previewed the funeral of Jade Goody. (The horror was signalled on its cover which dryly informed the reader that this was edition number 666.) Alongside this are images, torn from The Face circa 1995, of celebrities enacting their own demise through the lens of David LaChapelle, in whose direction the opera of terrorism reached its fullest expression. Other gems include a postcard on which is depicted a snowbound a Air France liner as the rescue team ascends the stairs, their success unknown and unmatched by their ability to evoke the glamour of a late 60s Mossad strike.

Since these early images were gathered, some kind of event horizon has been passed. That this was confirmed in August in the window of a Subway outlet in Manchester was only fitting. Blink now and you will miss the replacing of democratically elected governments with former Goldman Sachs executives, the ousted politicians attempting to relaunch their former careers in the music industry. We can only await the day that Berlusconi, upping the ante with Beiber and Bulbé, not only appears with but sings with A.C. Milan. Until that comes to pass there is a delightful Tumblr feed of Kim Jong-Il looking at things, and as I don’t want you weeping at the feast, knuckles whitening around an ill-advised third gin, I leave you with the the merriest greetings from the Bag of Tat and its most festive document.

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