The J.B. Priestley Society wishes all members and all visitors to the site a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Priestley loved Christmas. The following extract from one of his finest novels, Bright Day, ilustrates this wonderfully. It also shows us the kind of Christmas many of us don’t experience today.
Best wishes to you all.
“Christmas, starting in early November, was something largely invented by the Advertising and Gift departments of the stores, a commercial racket to boost the mid-winter trade in profitable lines. In those days before 1914, certainly in Yorkshire, there was far less of this standardised Merrie Yuletide salesmanship, but a great deal more hearty and widespread enjoyment of the season itself. Christmas arrived at the proper time, late on the twenty-fourth of December, but once it did arrive then it really was Christmas – and often with snow too. Brass bands played and choirs sang in the streets; you went not to one friend;s house but to a dozen; acres of rich pound cake and mince-pies were washed down by cataracts of old beer and port, whisky and rum; the air was fragrant and thick with cigar smoke, as if the very mill chimneys had taken to puffing them; whole warehouses of presents were exchanged; every interior looked like a vast Flemish still-life of turkeys, geese, hams, puddings, candied fruit, dark purple bottles, figs, dates, chocolates, holly, and coloured or gilded paper hats; it was Cockaigne and ‘the lost traveller’s dream under the hill’; and there has been nothing like it since and perhaps there never will be anything like it again.”
J.B. Priestley, Bright Day.
Bright Day is in print and available from all good booksellers.