Rip your ties and your ties get ripped as old people bury their pasts | Adam Lent and Andrew Cliffe

Is Christmas still here?

Fifty years on, Dickie Aitken is playing in his holidays.

“Everybody at home is in a terrible Christmas mood,” he said the other day.

“There’s just two mugs of tea at my house. And another and another and another. All mine.”

Every one of Dickie’s sons has moved on to other things.

“Joe’s in a bedsit in Brixton. Russell has set up a web design business and his money’s gone. My daughter’s off to college in Newcastle. My son’s gay, I think.”

One of them happens to be Welsh.

“I’m struggling, you know.”

So he’s getting in his festival on now. It’s Christmas for rich, old men everywhere. The holiday party isn’t about love any more. It’s about war. It’s about what the hell they’re all doing in there at all.

“Fuck that. I’ve had enough of this, of two mugs of tea.”

The best scenario has the holiday party open all year round. When people can’t afford the booze. When financial pressures dictate that nobody can go out. When the middle classes can’t afford the travel.

“Hey mugs, there is snow in the Birmingham hills. Cool. We’ll go on a walk.”

But nobody is going out. The economy isn’t fair. Two years ago and last year the prices went up. Last year and this year most people are scared.

“Look at you, going to watch the Smiths in 1977.”

“Why am I looking at you like that?”

“I need something to smile about.”

As the night went on the society we had originally tried to bring together shrunk.

“You seem to have a lot of black people in here tonight.”

“I can tell. There’s no way I can get over the fucking floral dress.”

At one point all the old men held their own few torches up to the back end of the hall so they couldn’t see.

“Yeah, but look, there’s a guy working in the beer garden, there’s a couple of lads sitting down.”

“They’re racists,” said Dickie.

“We’ve always been a racist society.”

“It will take somebody that’s a fucking liar to tell you it’s not.”

Dickie put his leg into the cold. It’s the only way he knows how to walk.

“Geezers, we can get over this, man. Don’t you know it?”

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