Nativity… (dot, dot, dot…)

I like dot, dot, dot. Actually, I use, dot, dot, dot too much. It bespeaks a little quotidien epihany, or some confidential crumb of scurrilousness. I like scurrilousness too. But anyway, we’ll get to all that. Probably. That’s the other thing about, dot, dot, dot, sometimes it just doesn’t deliver…

It’s my birthday today. I’m 41. It was also my daughter’s nativity play tonight. Hence the title of the entry. It was my first nativity play – well, since I was a short-panted performer myself, that is. I did recall that halcyon era, actually. I remembered the costume cupboard at prep school. It contained a variety of widely disparate get-ups, plus the headmaster’s wartime service dress, complete with France and Germany Star etc. It was unlikely to fit any of the 7-13 year old schoolboys who generally performed in our school plays, but I admired the generosity of spirit. He had been a commando in WW2 and had led his men up the beach at Normandy, doubtless riddling square-jawed Teutons as he went.

My daughter’s headmaster definitely hadn’t been a commando in WW2, and the only beaches he seemed likely to have stormed were in Mykonos. But he seemed a decent type, nonetheless. What he said as he introduced the nativity was perfectly apposite, but it was spoiled for me just a touch by his cropped leather jacket. He always looks a bit too ruddy for my liking too. Like he’d just bolted from the scene of some unspeakable impropriety. Though, what is inappropriate these days? There’s a question for you…

The nativity was good, and passed off without any silly innovation or cultural shilly shallying. It actually referred to Jesus and everything. The stock characters of shepherds and Oriental royalty were all decked out in faux Middle Eastern garb complete with tea towels on their heads, and it all seemed unashamedly English. I used to rail against political correctness, but I’ve exhausted myself now. Having said that, I was a bit uncomfortable when I recognised, with a jolt, that the only non-white nipper on stage was also wearing a tea towel on his head.  Was there a wag in the constume department? Had the production been infiltrated by the EDL? Or was this a tick of the cursed bourgeois paranoia? And was my staring now starting to unsettle the poor child? I had to look away before a moral vortex span out of control in my poor fevered brain.

Anyway, I participated in the cooing and laughter and rather enjoyed myself, quite against type. The only thing that marred it for me somewhat, was the fact that all the children sung in a very glottal fashion. It made me wonder whether my daughter must inevitably end up speaking ‘urban’. We’d evacuated North London so that she didn’t end up speaking like Rasta Mouse. Now it seemed we were to be foiled cruelly by the ineluctable spread of pre-consonantal glottalisation even to the last redoubt of merrie, picture postcard South East England… That mild pang of anxiety was succeeded by a shrill internal whizz of inadequacy. If, due to my audacious corporate buccanneering, we hadn’t been reduced to genteel poverty, perhaps I’d be attending a nativity staged at a some select fee paying pre-school, and I wouldn’t be the only man in the hall with a fitted, silver-collared, monogrammed umbrella and without a visible tattoo. Curse audacious corporate buccaneering…

After the spectacle was concluded, fractious children had been consigned to their guardians and a good time had been had by all, I took my daughter to The George for a pint. I had the pint, you understand. Well, it was my birthday…

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One Response to Nativity… (dot, dot, dot…)

  1. I adore the nativities – I’m the one crying before they even come on stage. It’s a right of passage for parent and child, memories are always made and retained forever. My eldest is now 20, but we still tell of the shepherd who got bored, picked his nose and rolled about the floor displaying his blue Thomas The Tank Engine underpants to the entire crowd. They’re great.

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