A Festive Memory

This week’s Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge is a festive memory.

This is a good one for me, for I do have a festive memory–as a child, I was very much into Christmas. What I used to love the most about the holiday was the Christmas tree. My mum used to buy a real Christmas tree and we would always decorate it together (well, she’d have done most of the job, as I realise now). And I would spend my whole time by the Christmas tree and I would play there.

Once, probably like 1986, sometime in the limbo between Christmas and New Year, I was once again playing near the Christmas tree and my mum was sitting on the sofa watching TV. I was suddenly struck by an idea of sliding under the tree and pretend I’m a Christmas present. Being a kid, that’s exactly what I did and I said: “Look, mummy, I’m a Christmas present!” Next thing, the Christmas tree fell.

Nothing serious happened, to me or to the tree, my mum put it back up and collected the fallen decorations and hung them back onto the branches. One of the decorations, a bauble, got stuck on the net curtain. I don’t know how, it was the glittery stuff it was covered with that must have somehow made it stick to the net curtain. (Is this where I say: “it was the eighties”?)

So that is my festive memory.

Because this is a photography blog, I have pics to share too.

Being a Christmas obsessed kid, and a kid who drew a lot, I started for myself a Christmas book. It was just a sketchbook where I drew Christmas things every year. I still have it to this day. When it looked like I was settling in the UK, I brought it over from my home country. It is not such a relic as it would seem, it has undergone a lot of changes throughout the years (decades!) and only two years ago I redid the cover. But some of my old drawings still remain. The oldest one is dated 1989.

We actually had a sofa like that. And the painting on the wall. And the plant.

This one is from the following year:

Drawing a giant Christmas tree next to tiny furniture and people just shows how much it meant to me

Vesele Vianoce means Merry Christmas in Slovak, in case you couldn’t tell.

More contemporary, this is 2019 (although it feels like a lifetime ago). Not much effort put into this one, it’s just a fanart of Mariah Carey’s Christmas album.

Actually, speaking of memories, I remember when All I Want For Christmas Is You was released in 1994. Little did we know it would become such a classic.

A Work Of Art

Following on from my previous post, here is another piece from Manchester Art Gallery.

This is the painting Hylas and the Nymphs by John William Waterhouse. It hangs quite high up, hence the awkward angle:

John William Waterhouse was an English painter of the Pre-Raphaelite movement and Hylas and the Nymphs is one of his most famous works. This is the gallery’s label:

(Look, I don’t know. Maybe the nymphs were just like: dude, you’re trespassing. It doesn’t have to be that deep. Waterhouse can hardly be blamed for some femme fatale shit, when it’s a story from Greek mythology. Also, I like Pre-Raphaelites. I like nice things. I’m a visual person.)

The image below is a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth film in the series, released in 2011, directed by Rob Marshall:

image credit: IMDb

Okay, I admit you have to squint a bit, but you can’t deny the presence of a tiny resemblance.

The two stunningly beautiful people are Philip and Syrena, played by Sam Claflin and Astrid Berges-Frisbey. Syrena is a mermaid, not a nymph, and there are no water lilies, obviously–I don’t know if that’s supposed to be a lagoon or what–but she does look like something Waterhouse would have painted. He seemed to have a thing for women of mythology and legends, and bodies of water. (Waterhouse, get it?) Philip is no argonaut, he’s a missionary, hence the cross he wears, but he was on a ship. Which is, I suppose, a logical occurrence in a movie centred on pirates. On Stranger Tides is probably the weakest in the series, but it’s still worth watching for these two, if nothing else. Their romance would surely inspire artists and poets alike. There was something so pure about it, stupid as the word is. I love Philip and Syrena, they own my heart.

*spoilers* Interestingly, much like Hylas, Philip was never seen again either. His fate is a bit ambiguous, as he’s injured, likely quite critically, and the above scene is the moment just before he and Syrena kiss and she pulls him into the water. It was established earlier in the movie that a mermaid’s kiss can heal, and she does tell him: “I can save you, just ask,” though he doesn’t ask, he says he wants only forgiveness (he blames himself for her capture). She kisses him anyway (get in there, girl!), and the last we see of them is when they float underwater. But I’m positive Philip didn’t die, the reason why neither him nor Syrena appear again is that The Powers That Be decided not to include them in the fifth movie. *end spoilers*

POTC gets a lot of ridicule, which I maintain is unjustified. The movies have everything–adventure, action, a dose of supernatural/horror elements, lots of humour, great characters, one of the most iconic performances ever from Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow–and they always nail their romances. It’s not only Philip and Syrena. Take the fantastic Elizabeth and Will from the first trilogy, and Henry and Carina in the last film. And they don’t take themselves too seriously. Plus, the theme tune is the best.

So. Anyway.

What I wanted to say is:

The resemblance of the Philip and Syrena scene and the Waterhouse painting proves that Pirates of the Caribbean movies are a work of art.

To all you film snobs out there–go step on Lego!

The Not Christmas Post

Yeah, I had to go there.

But at least I’m doing this on the 23rd, not on any of the Christmas days. Reality is… well, reality, even at this time of year.

So first of all, I had to make a Brexmas card, because of course.

brexmas card1

Open it!

brexmas card2

UK seems like it’s very sick and needs some good care. Just check this out.

uk not xmas card

It also looks like an England flag, which was not my intention–just a coincidence. Moving on to:

You know how the word snowflake has gained a completely different meaning to what it actually is. Used by people who can’t get over the fact that the world is changing to describe mostly liberals and/or socially conscious (aka woke) people. Snowflake? I give you snowflake.

snowflake card

Bonus – a not Christmas throwback

I found this anti-Christmas card I forgot I had among my Christmas drawings and cards (I have this thing I call the Christmas Book, where I’ve been drawing Christmas scenery and stuff since I was very young and in the last few years been saving cards in it, but that’s not what I want to talk about now). I should say I’m not the artist of this brilliant piece–it was done by a coworker. It’s from 2014 and I think it’s hilarious:

not xmas card

The point is, some people just hate Christmas, or can’t handle it. And that’s okay. It’s not an easy time for everyone, whether it’s for mental health issues, having lost a loved one or working in retail, you are all valid. One can also enjoy some aspects of Christmas and not the others. So maybe you like the food but are not thrilled about having to spend time with annoying relatives. I get that.

I have received shit from someone earlier this year when I said Santa Claus wasn’t real. I said it by mistake. (I think I meant to say something else but my communication skills are so poor I’m glad I can express myself on most days, also remember please that I’m not speaking my native language.) But as a result, I ended up hating that figure. Pass me those anti-Santa rockets, by all means.

Let’s just be good to each other, not just at Christmas, but all year round.

Unless you’re a bigot or a horrible person. Then you don’t deserve to be treated nice.

Merry Christmas.

Or not.

Mural in Manchester

Of course there is more than one. But this is the one I want to show you today:

Manchester Mural 7th Day

“… and on the sixth day, god created MANchester.”

The plaque next to it says “Based on the legendary t-shirt On The Sixth Day, designed by Leo B Stanley“.

The mural is on the side of the building of Afflecks, formerly known as Affleck’s Palace, an indie department store that houses stalls and small boutiques selling cult merchandise, alternative fashion, retro stuff etc. It’s simply an amazingly cool place. Check it out if you’re ever in town!