93. Christmas Special – Part 2

Friday, February 1st, 2019

“But different things can often blend together”, said the pine tree. “Let me tell you a funny story about pagan rituals”       (Lemony Snicket, The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story (2007))


Welcome to Histories of the Unexpected where you will discover the history of things you did not know even had a history, like the history of snow or the history of shrinking.

For this episode let us join the Saint Nicholas of nautical knowledge,Dr Sam Willis, and the bus conductor of route 1066, Professor James Daybell, as with merriment abound and good cheer all around, they finish decorating the Unexpected History of Christmas part two.

Our ghosts of Christmas past and Christmas present will wind their merry way through Dickensian snow strewn streets, from World War II rationing and Dr. Carrot to the rubble filled streets of post war Berlin and the German film industry, from Christmas superstitions and love divination in the 1890s to representations of birds and a 1955 foretelling of doom, from holly and patriarchy or matriarchy to Laurie Lee and gender distinctions.

James and Sam check their naughty and nice list and discover that this unexpected history is actually all about; survival and improvisation, memories and family, censorship and regeneration, tradition and folk lore, belief and luck, gender and domestic roles.

Listen out for a fab Christmas pudding recipe – especially if you need to use up some potatoes… and you might want to check who you’ll be sending the robin decorated Xmas card to.

“I bless the rains down in Africa, Gonna take some time to do the things we never had” (and if you want to know why we’ve gone with the lyrics to Toto’s ‘Africa’ – well you’re going to have to listen to the podcast!)

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