Isn’t it odd how the card companies choose some holidays to milk dry of sentiment through the ruthless exploitation of every commercial opportunity, and not others? I am writing this in Starbucks, on February 14. It’s part of my Single Person’s Outdoors Reclamation Exercise (or SPORE), in which singletons across the nation throw off the shackles of our coupling-obsessed culture, and their duvets, to proudly march the streets alone among the hoards of romancing twosomes.
It is admittedly a change of tack from this morning, when I was participating in the Single Person’s Agoraphobia-Faking Federation (or SPAFF), in which we avoid all potential human contact by sitting in our wardrobes with and coat over our heads, playing the game of “if I died now, how long would it take for anyone to wonder where I was?”
But enough of that! For by the time you read this, it will be February 18, your dozen red roses will all have died and a WHOLE OTHER HOLIDAY will have come and gone. And not just any other holiday, but one of the best there is. Why is it, I wonder, that Hallmark et al haven’t tried to capitalise on pancake day a little more?
It is clearly a superior festival to Valentine’s Day, being as it discriminates nobody (other than the gluten-and-dairy-intolerant, but then they’re used to being awkward). There is a nice, meaningful message for those who want it, in the preparation for remembering Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness and the counting down of the days until Easter celebration. And for those who don’t, there is the excuse to eat oneself into a golden syrup coma. Not to mention endless opportunities for punning on the word ‘toss’. It has everything.
So in the spirit of bigging up the smaller events on our calendar, I’d like to nominate a few more for recognition and potential commercial gain. How about the Queen’s official birthday? As our figurehead, I can’t help but feel we should be allowed to share in her special day – like when your sibling has a birthday but you get a free dinner out of it. We could all have the day off work and wear little plastic crowns, and there could be a special raffle of all her rubbish unwanted birthday presents. Ruby encrusted sandwich toaster from the Earl of Bratislava? Me please! For the republicans among us, there would be the alternative option of celebrating Freddie Mercury, or Queen Latifah. It would have something for everyone.
Or how about All Saints’ Day? Largely ignored in the aftermath of Halloween, as you pick silly string out of your hair and try to work out if the blood on the floor is fake, the day is a missed opportunity for fun. It should clearly be used to celebrate the back catalogue of the eponymous 90s girl band, themselves so often ignored in the aftermath of the Spice Girls. We could all wear camouflage combats and see who still knows the words to the spoken bit in Never Ever.
And finally, St George’s Day – instead of beery racists painting flags on their faces while the rest of us look away, it should be expanded to include not just the dragon-slayer, but all Georges of any merit. George Formby. George Wendt. George from Rainbow. George of ‘Gilbert and…’. Not George Bush, though. That would be the only rule of Georgeday.
So, there are a few things for Hallmark to think about. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to lick some lemon and sugar off the ceiling.