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Another re-blog, but plus ca change!

The Christmas lights have just appeared in Suttonford, so we will

be pleasantly decorated in time for Santa’s arrival in the town.

Basingstoke will also be ablaze, but in a more gaudy fashion.

Here’s a tribute to its display in a former year.

Festival Place


O mega-town of Basingstoke,

how shrill we see you lie!

Above your phosphorescent glow

the silent stars go by.

Yet in your dark streets shineth

the Wondrous Light that draws some from the motorway,

yet fails to signpost Magi through your roundabouts’ array.

(Praise Him in the filament, anyway.)

In Toys R Us they’ll buy a Beanie Baby for the King;

from Mcdonald’s, a children’s meal

with a collectable key ring.

(Those Loom Bands are maybe not His sort of thing.)

Mary and Joseph, Rudolph and Pooh Bear

watch o’er the child beloved and fair.

All is calm.  Sleeping in heavenly rest.

Most take taxis to avoid the breath test.

Mixed iconography screams houses into shrines:

iced Yuletide logs in lurid neon signs.

What shall I give Him, poor as I am?-

I’ll nick a Tesco trolley and use it as a pram.

Blest be that apple near the wheelie bin-

someone’s Last Supper on the lawn close to us:

the turkey carcase an oblation for sin?

A Damien Hirst Pax Hominibus?


God rest ye merry, Basingstoke,

you’ve always got The Anvil,

but it’s closed on Xmas Day

when the kids can be a handful.

While housewives wash sports socks by night,

men get their flexes convoluted

and for the love of flashing Bambis

prepare to be electrocuted.

Away in a Manger, no crib for a bed,

the little Lord Jesus flashes green and then red.

The stars in the night sky have nothing on this-

Basingstoke’s Gloria in Excelsis.


  • The Anvil is Basingtoke’s Theatre.
  • Hartley, Harris , Manning: authors of above book.