Local artist and poet Alan Wolfson was invited to create a poem for this year’s festival. Here it is…
Mister please, Oh Mister please,
What’s the history of Christmas trees?
Oh Mister, please solve the mystery:
How many light bulbs does it take
to change a Christmas tree?
That’s a very good question you’re asking me
I admire your persistance and tenacity,
Welcome back, this is the year 1593.
and by now there’ve been several attempts at a Christmas tree.
One bloke grew a 20foot long hedge, about so high,
trimmed it all nice, and then dug it up in one long stretch, strapped it to a pole and hoisted it up in the air.
It looked terrible.
But people passing by would attach coins to it.
Never caught on as a Christmas tree
but he’d invented the first ever hedge fund.
So, good news. Christmas trees – It all started right here. Hundreds of years ago when this was all just fields.
And Estate agents, and charity shops.
This was before it was even called Crouch End today.
Before it had it’s own identity, it went through many names –
it used to be called Highgate’s Gutter.
Then Muswell Hill’s Bottom.
Then Stroud Green Salad.
Then Queens Wood Milieu
Then Son of Harringey Ladder. –
not the real ladder, the step ladder.
The name has evolved, and is still evolving today . .
Crouch End, as the name physically suggests, is just a precursor to being called Up Itself.
Anyway, way back before all that, when all this was called Waitrose Meadow, and the Clocktower was just
a sundial on a stick, an early settler brought a beautiful Norwegian Spruce home and presented it to the family.
It’s a Christmas tree.
Looks like a tree to me. What makes it a Christmas tree.
Yes, I know. We need to do something with it, but decorations havn’t been invented yet.
Then another early settler Mrs Dunn the Baker – for it was she – had an idea.
How about this? . .
She stood on a short Step ladder – and poured soup all down the tree.
What a Mess.
Then they threw mud, bits of herring, underwear, cutlery
They tried attaching small rodents, household pets
baryard animals, woodland creatures, livestock
Even their own children hanging from the branches . .
Then one day from the nearby sausage farm over the hill called Finsbury Pork, a man came along with a load of savaloys.
He dressed them up as angels and donkeys and shepheards and snowmen and reindeer.
And voila – a Christmas tree fair chandelier with savaloys in fancy dress.
And that’s how decorations were invented.
Lights were far more problematic, beginning with dousing the tree with cooking oil and setting it on fire.
Until one day, Thomas Edison’s son, TINY TOM invented the tiny light bulb and was passing by right here and thought he’d try them out on a Christmas tree.
Fast forward to flickering and flashing LEDs Today,
and I will leave you with a short tale about purchasing
some . . .
I don’t want to be a techno–bore
But last week I was passing by a computer store
I decided to go inside it
I took a detour and saw a bored computer guy looking forward to his next chore.
I walked towards him and I said
Hi computer guy,
I’d like to buy some flashing lights
He said allright, so I bought them for cash
I Took them home and brought them back the next day
I Said hey – these lights don’t flash.
He stared at me and then
Have you tried turning them off and turning them on again?