364 Days of Tedium is one of the funniest books I’ve read this year. Actually, to be fair, it’s probably one of the funniest books I’ve read EVER.
It’s a comic, showing us what Santa gets up to on his days off.
It is hilarious.
And the best bit – I’ve been able to (after popping a request up my chimney, sellotaped to a four pack of Carling) get hold of the man, the myth, the legend – the lager quaffing, reindeer fancying, fatty himself – and I’ve interviewed him.
Welcome to the blog, Santa! Before we begin, what should I call you?
I go by many names: Father Christmas, Santa, Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle and in some cases Pappa Big Sack (but that’s a completely different story). Probably best if you just call me Santa.
So, Santa, are you really a saint? Do you believe in all that jive?
That happened such a long time ago that it’s all a bit blurry. I remember my wife telling me I’d been canonized the night before but I just thought she was referring to the state I’d come back from the pub in. I think they just felt they had to give me something by way of thanks for delivering all those gifts. These were the days before Minimum Wage after all.
So. The reason you’re here is because Dave Cornmell has written and illustrated a book about you ‘364 Days of Tedium’ – how did the project come about? Were you aware that he was writing and drawing things based on how you spend your time between Christmases?
I don’t remember agreeing to the project, but then… I don’t remember much of what I did the previous evening, so I could have authorised it. There’s very little to do up here (in the North Pole) but watch TV, drink and, er, drink a bit more.
Are you happy with how you’ve been portrayed in the book?
I think it’s the most realistic and true-to-life portrayal of me to date. Which is why I’m so angry about it.
What’s the best part of your job?
People assume that it must be the satisfaction of bringing joy to all of the children of the world, but to be honest; that wears a bit thin after the first century or so. And let’s face it, once the wrapping paper has been ripped to shreds and the selection boxes have been swallowed, they’re back to the additive-fuelled, half-chimps they’ve been for the rest of the year. No, it’s nothing to do with the kids; the best thing about my job is the famous red suit. It’s basically an adult-sized baby grow. What could be better than that?
And the worst? (I’m assuming it must be the intolerable guilt when you find out that you’ve forgotten to deliver a present to someone…)
I don’t like minced pies. I mean I REALLY DON’T LIKE MINCED PIES. I’m gagging just thinking about them. I have no idea where this idea of leaving one out for me on Christmas Eve came from. It must have been a prank by the Elves. I used to just collect them in a bag and lob them over the back of the sleigh, but I had to have a rethink after causing a pile up on the M4 in 1995. Now I feed them to the reindeer or grind them up and dispose of them in your gardens like the prisoners of war in The Great Escape.
Okay, you mention your reindeer there. Time to go a little deeper. Can I ask you about your relationship with them? There are parts in the book that seem to suggest you’re – how to put it? – closer to them than the average man is to his pets.
That ‘thing’ has been blown out of all proportion. This kind of thing happens all over the world at any office party. It was a simple case of having one too many drinks on New Year’s Eve and getting into an embarrassing situation with a member of staff. It’s just that in my case the member of staff was a reindeer. And I might have had sex with it. But most probably didn’t. But might have. Anyway, I digress – next question?
Talk to us about your drinking. Do you think you have a problem? Does your wife?
Those rumours are callous and nasty. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that my wife does not have a drink problem. I, on the other hand… well, it’s a fine line isn’t it? People expect Santa to be jolly. Let’s face it; nobody wants a dull Santa do they? Admittedly, nobody wants a shouty, sweary, punchy Santa either, but that’s just the way it has to be.
It would appear that you don’t only struggle with alcohol, but with the bottles it comes in. Could you tell us about that mishap? Was it an isolated incident?
It’s nothing really. It’s just that it appeared on YouTube. You know how it is: you’re bored, you’ve drunk a bottle of wine, you stick something inside the bottle you can’t get out again – we’ve all done it.
Was working one day a year always your ambition?
I thought it sounded like a great job to begin with – I liked the idea of being my own boss and travelling the world, but once you’ve seen one chimney you’ve seen them all. It’s like with most jobs – you think you’ll stay there for a couple of years but end up hanging around for centuries. Nowadays I’ve just got to keep doing it because my pension’s so rubbish.
If you didn’t have this job, what would you do?
I’d do any job that means I don’t have to leave my armchair or actually have to meet people. Which, I guess knocks out everything other than TV Critic and Gay Sex Chat Line Operator. I’m probably best where I am I think.
Do you have a message for Dave Cornmell, or for the people who are publishing 364 Days Of Tedium, or indeed for its readers?
All I’d say is that “I know where you live and I’ll be leaving my own, personal Christmas log on your carpet this year.”
And finally, could you recommend a book to my readers?
The Argos Catalogue. I’m not being funny, but if people would put the page number and code thing next to what they’re asking for it doesn’t half make the elves’ job a lot easier.
And how will you be spending the next 364 days?
I’ll probably do some travelling. Maybe decorate a bit. Learn a language perhaps? But later in the year, like. You know; when I’ve had a chance to put my feet up and fully recover from another day at work.
364 Days of Tedium is published by The Friday Project and is available in all good book stores. I think it’s rude, wrong and utterly hilarious. Go see.