#80 Christmas at Kings Cross, #79 Christmas at Southbank, #78 Christmas at Covent Garden
As of today, CHRISTMAS is happening, right now, to YOU! And there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Don’t even try. Christmas is happening to London, too, but not all London christmases are created equal. Some areas big up the Yuletide merrily, but others seem to have had Christmas thrust upon ’em…
Kings Cross stands out with a classy addition to the St Pancras concourse: a 10-metre-tall tree made entirely out of Lego, baubles and all. 600,000 pieces, in fact. As well as brightening up the station, it does perhaps the most important job of all: it makes you feel you’re living inside Minecraft. And there’s no better christmas gift than that. The fact that St Pancras has kept all other decorations to a minimum is actually a point in its favour. Even if the biblical Jeremiah, history’s most famous christmas tree hater, wouldn’t have approved.
The sour stink of economic despair is wafting through London’s christmas celebrations this year, so it’s good to see that Southbank is bucking the trend and pulling out all the stops with a full-on christmas market in the german mould – which means lebkuchen, gingerbread houses, glühwein and a strictly enforced policy of covering everything in old pine, fake snow and bratwurst. But with Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland bigger than ever this year, there’ll be stiff competition for the ‘most teutonic christmas; no seriously, it a touch scary; they seem to have killed an entire elk to make this shop’ prize. We’ll visit there too, soon.
Covent Garden, though, is in less good shape. A giant log cabin promises some tacky treats, but is actually home to a dullsville video installation claiming to be about the nativity but actually only featuring a few artist’s models walking very slowly. Spot the excited people queuing up to go in, and the bewildered people coming out.
When we popped by last month, Covernt Garden was flaunting a couple of reindeer, available for the petting. Unfortunately, just putting two bewildered-looking ruminants in a metal pen surrounded by camera-clicking tourists doesn’t guarantee a christmassy feel. It’s easy to look christmassy when you’re pulling Father Christmas himself in a flying sleigh; turns out, on their own, reindeers are about as christmassy as a bottle of Hawaiian Tropic. Boo, reindeers. Boo!
Anyway, you won’t believe the Christmas London nonsense we have to share with you in coming entries, in between the (relatively) normal stuff. Be very prepared indeed.