The Twelve Blogs of Christmas: Eleven

I was dancing down the bar last night, to a very talented singer/guitarist called Emma. It was like one of those Chris Claremont party scenes. I have a significant gap: the last thing I remember is that I’m dancing, and then I wake up in the morning and there’s an empty can of mixed pulses in brine on my bedside table.

Simon, my Agent, points out that he caught the ‘Tom having only one hand’ thing in the online version of the Telegraph story, and fixed it. He’s clever like that.

I remembered something else from this year that I really enjoyed and I should have mentioned. Jekyll was daring television, continually surprising and changing its format. And its finest twist was a complete surprise. Moffat continues to impress.

Now, I’m sorry to say that the final blog of the Twelve won’t be tomorrow. It’s just not going to be possible, what with visiting relatives and everything. So I’ll see you again on Boxing Day.

Today, I was inspired by (quiz setter) Russell Hillman’s article on Christmas music:

To present the following…

The scene: the bridge of the original starship Enterprise. Spock is peering into that viewer thing of his. The music is that ‘everyday and possibly funny’ track that’s usually reserved for the end of episodes. Kirk and McCoy, glancing merrily at each other, and doubtless hoping for some racist fun at the Vulcan’s expense, wander over and cough.
‘Mr. Spock, what is it you find so… fascinating?’
‘Ah, Captain, Dr. McCoy. I have been examining the historical records of your home planet –‘
‘Why Mr. Spock, I’m amazed there’s anything on our little old globe that could rouse that green blood of yours. Do I mention that too much? Maybe. Who am I talking to? Who are you looking at?’
‘-Specifically those relating to the phenomenon known as “Christmas hit singles”. It is a most illuminating study. Consider the lyric “there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas”, when in actual fact, meteorological records of that year clearly show –‘
‘Why you cold blooded – ‘
‘I think maybe you do mention that too much, Bones. But… what the good doctor is… trying to say, is that the lyricist is clearly comparing the desperate situation of famine victims to his own privileged lifestyle.’
‘But for snow to fall on the areas affected by famine would make the situation many times worse. For those suffering starvation to also have to contend with hypothermia –‘
‘Spock, popular songs are… hardly noted for their attention to detail.’
‘This appears, Captain, to be particularly the case around Christmas. In this one example alone there is mythological confusion. Father Christmas, a benign figure from the Christian pantheon, is both an alcoholic and attended by “fairies”, whose presence in the life of Saint Nicholas I find to be of dubious historical provenance. He then goes on to break the law by, I believe the phrase is, “doing a ton up” on his sleigh. But the oddest detail of this piece is the middle eight. What did Daddy do when he saw Mummy kissing Santa Claus? The tone of the record at this point suggests nothing short of terrible violence. And if I may be so bold, similar consequences could result from this other track’s rather ill-advised wish that it be “Christmas every day”. I calculate that psychological harm would be evident within twenty-seven days. Not to mention the health problems associated with the consumption of Christmas pudding, mince pies, etc., on an continual basis.’
‘Spock, you green-blooded… sorry… these primitive tunes, they’re not meant to be taken literally. They’re just the sort of thing that bridges the gap between autumn and Scottie’s Engine Room Hootenanny –‘

Flash forward to the Engine Room on New Year’s Eve.
‘And on tonight’s Hootenanny, we’ve goot The Cloud Minders, Mudd’s Women, Charlie X, The Galileo Seven, and the welcome return of the Archons, ladies and gentlemen! We’ve got oor hair plastered to oor foreheads wi’ the heat down here, aye, that’s why it looks like that. And our livers are nae gonna take the strain! But first up, a big hand for Who Mourns for Adonais!’
Enter four Goths in Santa hats.

‘Also, Captain, two thousand miles, even at the time of that piece’s release, was not, relatively speaking, “very far”, being less than one day’s journey. The presence of snow would hinder the protagonist’s return home if he was on foot, but for snow to have fallen in sufficient depth in a two thousand mile radius would suggest excessive climate change. The presence of a red nose on a reindeer would be a decisive evolutionary disadvantage, rendering it subject to predation. If the couple who are “walking in a winter wonderland” remain “afraid” by their forthcoming nuptials, perhaps they should not have recklessly begun to consider such a process while building a snowman. Furthermore –‘
But when Spock looks up again, there’s nobody to be seen. The entire bridge is empty except for Uhura, who’s glad of the attention. ‘Why, Mr. Spock, it’s funny you should say that, I have a lengthy series of interesting observations concerning summer pop music. Now, where shall I begin? Goodness, I think I’ve already said more than I have for the last three years sitting at this desk –‘
But Mr. Spock is already out of the door which goes woosh behind him. And Uhura sighs and reaches for the small bottle of gin which she keeps under a flashing light which doesn’t do anything.

Until Boxing Day, then, Cheerio.

11 Response to "The Twelve Blogs of Christmas: Eleven"

  • LynnS Says:


    Well, that doesn't really cover it, but I'm busy. :)

    May your liver take the strain this Christmas, sir.

  • Garpu the Fork Says:

    Merry Christmas!

  • callistazm Says:

    *laughs because she gets all the Star Trek references*

    Brilliant! :D

  • Rob Stickler Says:

    Have a splendid Christmas Paul. Thanks for all your brilliant work this year and good luck for the next one.

  • Mr.SFTV Says:

    I got the Star Trek references and even all the Christmas song references.

    Have a good Christmas everybody.


  • Russell Hillman Says:

    Thanks for the link, Paul.

    Although it's been said many times, many ways... ...a Merry Christmas to all of you at home.

  • chas_m Says:


    I read the telegraph story and thought to myself "well, that's nice. That's nice old Paul. Very nice."

    Then I read Blog the 11th and laughed my arse off.

    Happy Christmas to you and Caroline and assorted.

    Chas (and Heather)

  • mysticgreen Says:

    Hope you had a lovely Christmas. In a surreal moment you sort of became part of our Christmas Day. Not being a fan of sprouts I have roasted leeks as my christmas veg and the question was asked at the table as to what they were like to eat. I said they were part of the onion family and my niece then started the references - "we are the family of onions" and "onion of mine" - excellent!

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Thanks very much, all. And Mystic, that's my favourite sort of reference to my work! Thanks!

  • Chris Says:

    After all the maddness of Christmas I finally got some time to sit and read your Christmas story in the telegraph.

    Beautiful stuff. The universe loves the Doctor and finds a way to let him know. And he says thanks. Loved it.

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Thanks very much, Chris.