I’M NOT IMMERSED in the whole “Christmas Spirit” thing most years until a lot closer to Christmas Eve than we are now; usually — and certainly as busy as I have been these past few years — Christmas is on top of us before I get to it. A reminder of how Christmas and the march of time lobbed onto my radar last week, and today’s musical flashback reflects the fact that ’tis the season: in more ways than one.
But I have, I must say, gotten a little better with all things festive in one sense: if you’ve got friends and/or business associates abroad (and I have both) and you want to send them Christmas greetings, organisation is key.
There have been times I’ve sent a handful of Christmas cards off to Britain in the full knowledge they’ll be lucky to make it there by the new year, and last year — with almost a dozen cards to send to London, some to friends, some to people I’d worked with in my media business, and some who fit both categories — I decided that such tardiness simply wouldn’t do, and from memory it was about now I posted them all (it was when my mum came to visit Melbourne for her birthday, and this year her birthday is today, so happy birthday mum).
One of my London friends (and I will be careful not to identify her) who I know through more political avenues (yes yes, I know, there’s that link again) conducted — about mid-year last year — something of a social media debate on the merits (or otherwise, in her view) of Love Actually, that Christmas-themed multipolar British rom-com that hit cinema screens worldwide back in 2003; “Miss Apples” (as we will refer to her) was the first to alert me to last year’s excellent Christmas commercial from British retailer John Lewis (and you can see that here — believe me, you’ll love it) and when she got my Christmas card sent me a picture of it, on her desk, with “mini-Monty:” John Lewis sold out of genuine Monty the Penguin toys in record time, of course, but she’d found something comparable, and it gave me some satisfaction to see that for once, my Christmas cards had actually made it to their destination by the middle of December.
I tell this story — one friend in London, the cutesy TVC I connect with her, and the spirited charge against Love Actually she led on Twitter — because the Fairfax press carried a piece last week on Olivia Olsen who, as those who know Love Actually will know, was the 11-year-old who appeared in and sang a ripsnorting rendition of Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas near the end of the film.
Unlike my friend “Miss Apples,” however, I love Love Actually, and this Christmas Eve staple in my house will again get a viewing once the turkey has been prepared for the following day.
It’s hard to believe that Olivia is all grown up, as readers will see from the Fairfax article; the pretty little kid who starred as Joanna, the love interest to the gorgeous Sam, is now 23: she has grown into a beautiful young woman, to be sure, but for tens of millions of Love Actually devotees will be forever etched in time as Joanna, singing that song.
And it’s a reminder that just as Christmas is a special time of year, it shouldn’t be taken for granted; that quirky British film was 12 years ago, and the speed with which the passage of time has rocketed ever since is scary, to say the least.
Today’s Retro Tuesday is a relatively quick one. How much can you say about Christmas, really, without getting really silly about it in a column like mine? But for a double shot today, I have chosen a second track from the same movie, and this is one that should be played as loud as you can get your system to play it.
I’ll be back in the next couple of days, and we’ll talk about something that has nothing to do with Christmas; but in the meantime, enjoy these couple of pieces from memory lane; and if you don’t already have one, go and get a copy of Love Actually to watch on Christmas Eve once the kids have gone to bed: as silly and corny as it is in some ways, it’s a great rollicking yarn, and with Brady movies coming out of the woodwork at this time of year, I know what I’d rather be watching… 🙂