Live Allusionist alert!
I'll be doing an Allusionist-based stage show at SF Sketchfest, 10pm 12 January at the Brava Theater in San Francisco. Tickets are on sale now HERE.
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Charles Dickens wrote about the plight of the impoverished and destitute members of British society. So how come his name is a synonym for rosy-cheeked, full-stomached, fattened-goose, hearty merry "God bless us every one" Christmas?
Avery Trufelman and Katie Mingle of 99% Invisible report from the streets of Victorian London at the annual Dickens Christmas Fair in Daly City, California, while historian Greg Jenner explains the origins of the festive traditions for which Dickens gets the credit, without even wanting the credit - in fact, his motivation for writing A Christmas Carol was far from a cash-in on Christmas.
NB They're at a busy event, so if you're finding the audio a little unclear in places, check the transcript of the episode here.
SAUCE FOR THE GOOSE:
- The Dickens Christmas Fair is on at the weekends till 17 December! Prepare yourself for a visit: here's the illustrated map, here are the fascinating guidelines for your costume.
- To learn a lot more about Charles Dickens in respect to Christmas - his Christmas-related writing, his enthusiastic celebrations, the joy and burden that A Christmas Carol brought to his life - read Dickens and Christmas by Lucinda Hawksley, who is his great-great-great-grandaughter.
- Read A Christmas Carol as well. It's a lot more fun and funny than I had remembered.
- Critics often slated Dickens as an author, but here's George Orwell defending him.
- A Christmas Carol screen adaptations, ranked. I fear Muppet Christmas Carol fans will be out for blood.
- The Dickens Museum is situated inside his former home in London.
- The annual gathering of Dickens's many descendants sounds pretty fun.
- How 'All I Want for Christmas Is You' was concocted.
- How to concoct a perfect Christmas pudding, if you must.
- Newish Christmas tradition? Ridiculously over-the-top advent calendars. I'm not complaining - a couple of years ago my brother got me a tea advent calendar and it was great. He also got his wife a gin advent calendar and she did not complain either.
- The transcript of this episode is at theallusionist.org/transcripts/dickens-christmas.
Thanks to Casper for sponsoring this episode. My niece is now very well supported and snug sleeping on my Casper mattress. MY Casper mattress, Matilda! Buy your own at Casper.com/allusionist, and get $50 toward any mattress purchase by using the discount code allusionist at checkout. Terms and conditions apply.
YOUR RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
- Greg Jenner is the self-described 'chief nerd' at Horrible Histories, and the author of A Million Years in a Day: A Curious History of Everyday Life. Buy it (it's available in several languages!) at your local bookshop, or your non-local Amazon, wherever - just buy it, it's full of tidbits of information about things in your daily life. Here are a few examples. Find Greg's work at gregjenner.com, and find him on Twitter @greg_jenner.
- Greg also appeared on the Xmas Man episode of this show a couple of years ago, telling us about meaty Victorian Christmas cards, and the history of Santa. Hear it at theallusionist.org/christmas - it's worth checking out that post for the links to some great pieces Greg wrote about the complicated history of Christmas.
- Avery Trufelman and Katie Mingle do beautiful work on 99% Invisible, which you can hear at 99pi.org. They are @trufelman and @katiemingle on Twitter.
- Martin Austwick makes the music that you hear in every episode. He has a new album out at palebirdmusic.com.
- Find me at facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/helenzaltzman and instagram.com/helenzaltzman. And live at SF Sketchfest on 12 January!