Our Man About Town Jeremy Smith on why he would be quite brutal to protect Christmas trees... (From Oxford Mail)
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Our Man About Town Jeremy Smith on why he would be quite brutal to protect Christmas trees...
On the one hand I feel thrilled (after all, what’s more exciting than seeing a huge Christmas tree, beautifully lit up, to remind us that the next three weeks are all about parties and nativities and carol concerts?). On the other hand, what could be more out of place, more incongruous, than the metal barriers erected around these trees (as if in readiness for an Oxford vs Swindon pitch invasion) when both the trees I’m talking about are smack, bang in the centre of Oxford.
The first, as you take the bus down Banbury Road toward St Giles, a festive bauble courtesy of Balliol College I assume, and the second, in Broad Street, across the road from the Oxford Tourist Information Centre.
Both, when lit up at night and early in the morning properly evoke that sense of awe and ‘aaaah...’. Yet there, at the base of each tree, are the barriers, grey and metallic, clumsily erected and thrown together like the leftovers from a city council organised open air festival.
Sadly – and this is where it actually hurts – I do understand the need for them.
There are morons in our community to whom a Christmas tree appeals like a flame to a moth. And perversely, especially so at Christmas. But surely there must be some better way of tackling these threats of pig-thick ignorance than by extinguishing the very incorruptibility and grace they aim to protect?
Obviously, I have some ideas but I’m not altogether sure they’re practical: ladies of the WI armed with light weight cattle prods and members of the local Lions clubs kitted out with night vision goggles and Tasers seems fancifully irresistible but highly unlikely.
Equally, I’d be happy to see a human chain of councillors surround these trees, ready to fight off at the slightest provocation any hint of mindless vandalism or suggestion of selfless politics. But again I doubt this would work (in fact, the sight of so many councillors actually doing something might ignite the very riot they were intended to stop). So, after a great deal of intense internal debate, this is how I think we should we deal with the problem – put up even more trees.Yep, to hell with the cost, let Christmas trees tall and proud line every approach into our city.
Decorate each as carefully as the two already standing, and then, as insurance against the mindless thug who equates petty vandalism with sexual prowess, place in each tree a nest of Africanised Honey Bees (or killer bees as they’re more colloquially known).
Too harsh? Nah. If the trees are simply left alone, no one suffers, but if anyone attempts to push, pull, tug or attach a winch cable from the back of a car, our African friends will ensure that said assailants not only beat a quick retreat but, due to heavy bandaging over hands and arms, will need their Christmas presents delicately wrapped.
Like Bill Murray’s cry to Mr Stay Puft in Ghostbusters: “No one steps on a church in my town...” Except these are evergreen conifers.
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