Thursday, 28 January 2010
Shine on you crazy Christmas lights!
Early in the new year I wrote about the dramatic enhancement of the Christmas decorations in the Hilltown area of Dundee. A new twist in this seemingly never ending saga of unbridled excitement and aesthetic delight has emerged, however.
It seems that not only is the tree not just for Christmas, but the lights themselves are to be a permanent feature! In a news article that has all the hallmarks of yet another Unionist conspiracy, today's Courier reports that Dundee's SNP administration is under fire for leaving the lights burning until after, um, Burns Night, following an earlier row over a council decision to cut funding to community projects (which Lib Dem councillor Fraser Macpherson described as, "a staggering example of the SNP acting as Robin Hood in reverse — taking from the poorest in society, the people most in need of help.").
But local councillor Jimmy Black says the lights are to remain to "brighten the area up" and "cheer people up", and suggests that this ostensible extravagance will in fact cost around the same as a streetlight to run.
I had noticed that the lights were still ablaze, and indeed did wonder whether they were to be a permanent fixture in the area, particuarly as they don't have a very 'Christmassy' appearance.
And since the festive lights in St Andrews have in the past been up until February - they are similarly monochromatic and thus also have a less seasonal look, it's just that there's a lot more of them - the continuation of the Hilltown's limited display seemed unremarkable. (The environmental aspect of the Hilltown's ongoing adornment isn't mentioned in the Courier article, but see my 2007 letter - under the pseudonym 'Lichts Aff' - in the Evening Telegraph contrasting the St Andrews lights with Fife Council's stance on carbon emmissions.)
On the aesthetic point, it's probably worth noting that the lights look slightly more attractive in real life than in my unflattering camera phone snap, and indeed the Courier's illustrative photograph perhaps shows the tree and adornments in a better light.
Interestingly, however, the paper's photo also shows an unflatteringly large amount of the nearby Cookies Bar, and the smokers (presumably) standing at the pub door perhaps illustrate the paradox of the powers that be trying to prettify the area on the one hand while making it less attractive on the other, courtesy of the smoking ban. Personally, I would prefer not to have the smokers rather than to have the lights!