In which I reveal the horror of the wizzard curse.

Printed 20/11/08

There is a shop near London Bridge station called The Christmas Shop. It is open all year round.
I'd sincerely love to tell you it sells Easter eggs, pumpkins and menorahs, just to get a kick out of spreading daily confusion among the simple minds of the general public (the same reason I very soon plan to open Jigsaw World, North London's premier wig specialist — possibly with a picture of patio furniture on the sign), but sadly nothing so creative is at work. The disappointing truth is that it just sells Christmas.

Christmassy Christmassness, and nothing but it. It baffles me.

Think about it - this is someone who has devoted the entirety of their working life to Christmas. They live Christmas 12 months a year, seven days a week, endlessly striving for Yuletide perfection with a dedication that potentially no other human has ever given.

Apart, maybe, from the Wise Men, though notably even they were 12 days late.

Think of the time and effort this person is clearly putting-in to source the very finest flashing tinsel Christmas tree earrings that have ever been made, all so that we can wear them for three hours at an office do before they fall off in a clinch with Brian from accounts on the photocopier.

June, July, August — Christmas, Christmas, Christmas. They wake up in the height of heatwave, throw on their hand-knitted Rudolph jumper and some comedy antlers, scoff down some mince pies and drive to work with the heater on and Perry Como on the radio. And I can't confirm this personally, but I'll eat my non-festively-themed hat if their ringtone isn't Frosty the Snowman in all its polyphonic glory.

What I want to know is, at what point in one's life does one have the epiphanic moment, of realising that what you want to do with your life more than anything is flogging sets of musical, fibre optic Victorian carol singers? Is it a calling, like priesthood? Are there only several people in the country properly qualified to distribute such high quantities of joy and imitation snow-glitter? Or is this the back-up career plan when, after wishing desperately every birthday, despite all your best beard-growing efforts and several courses of chimney navigation, however many times you watch Tim Allen and take notes, you in fact don't, ever, grow up to be Santa?

Specialist shops in general have always had a kind of morbid fascination for me — as a person who gets bored of her dinner halfway through eating it, I am constantly amazed by people with enough stoic devotion to one obscure pastime that they genuinely believe the world needs a shop dedicated to it. Down my road is Girls Bike Too, which just sells pink motorbike leathers. A bit further down there is a wrought-iron specialist, an Afghan cardigan shop (because a girl can never have too many), and a shop that just sells clothes rails.

But none of these is as depressing as The Christmas Shop (with an average lifespan of six weeks, they're never around long enough to garner my sympathy before something new pops up anyway — "Sad about the Afghan woollies, but look! A Slinky specialist!"). Even those shops that just cater for uber-plastic, helium-enhanced birthdays and hen parties, imbued though they are with a melancholy yearning for days before sashes saying "super slut" were the last happy vestment of singledom, at least have customers all year round. Tasteless people will always need tat.

But let's face it, our craving for Christmas tat was satisfied with one swift trip round a garden centre in the mid-90s, and though the tinsel now looks like something a cat would cough up, adding to the collection now would just be extravagance. Trying to understand how The Christmas Shop makes enough to pay premium city rent when it is obsolete for a good nine months of the year is making my brain hurt, and also spawn the idea that it might be the front for a crack den.

OR, and this is the genius explanation — the owners are under a curse. A hex put upon them by Roy Wood of Wizzard, as bitter vengeance of the fact that no matter how much we as a nation may love I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, the truth is that Slade will always, always, be just ever so slightly better.
And so, in some warped festive version of Groundhog Day, Mr Christopher Mass has been doomed to live out Wizzard's wish for all eternity.

And keep Roy Wood in August baubles until the end of time.