LUV – Right, listen. Markets are crap. They’re either famers’ markets, where men with suspicious moustaches convince you to spend four quid on a single carrot that’s still got shit all over it, or the sort of weekly town-centre market that only sells bright yellow underwear, hair extensions and T-shirts where badly-drawn versions of Bart Simpson lurch aggressively at hapless stick-figure Bugs Bunnies. To reiterate, markets are crap.
But Christmas markets? Brilliant. Best things ever. Christmas markets are magical places where all the stalls are wooden and have pointy roofs with scraps of cotton wool nailed to them. They play It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year non-stop, just so you get to experience the thrill of buying something from someone who’s visibly exhibiting a constant mixture of exhaustion and hatred all across their face. They sell exactly the same thing that they sell at every other market throughout the year, but there might be a van doing a hog roast as well if you’re lucky. And it’s colder. Christmas!
– Stuart Heritage
HAT – The trouble with Christmas markets, popping up every December like sparkling, alpine-scented zits on the nation’s arse cheeks and equally as welcome, is they’re so full of promise. The twinkling lights! The cute huts! The mulled wine fug so strong, simple respiration gets you wankered! You’re not in that shitty bit of ’60s modernist concrete outside Argos where the teenagers gather to gob McDonalds at each other and slowly circle on BMXs around pensioners. No, you’re in the snowy squares of Vienna, flitting about like some bloody princess made of crystal and mink fur.
But just look around. Those are not stalls of exquisite jewelled baubles; they’re stuffed with badly batiked scarves, handmade dolls that will kill you in your sleep and candles so expensive they presumably cure cancer or transmit free Sky Sports in their smoke. That’s not gluhwein, that’s 10 gallons of boiling Ribena with a Glade Winter Spice plug-in dissolved in it. That’s not the melodic bells of the Rathaus, that’s Step Into Christmas played on 18 different slightly out-of-sync sound systems. Ever sliced open your skull and plunged the vinyl of Now That’s What I Call Christmas into your cortex? Then you’ll know what it feels like.
So no thanks. I can get drunk and spunk my wages on Etsy comfortably from my couch without tripping over Spanish tourists in too many woollen layers and Instagrammers getting tumescent over the typography on the churros stall. Just call me Christkindl-narked. And I’m not even sorry.
– Julia Blyth