A Memorable Cracker Year

‘Twas in the year 1983 I spent Christmas in Manchester with the ex-Mrs Key’s sister and her husband, a Mexican anthropologist with a particular interest in textiles. We were all young and achingly right-on in a very 1980s way, which is why we thought very carefully before buying our Christmas crackers. Not for us the crass commercialism of the masses with their false consciousness and weird tendency to vote for the hated Thatcher. No, we would make the purchase of crackers a political gesture. We bought them from CND.

Oh how we failed to laugh around the Christmas dinner table as we pulled our ideologically sound crackers. Out fell the expected paper hat and printed slip – and on the latter, there was not a terrible and groanworthy joke, but a sobering fact about nuclear weapons and the inevitable worldwide holocaust they would cause. We donned our paper hats and read out these visions of mass destruction, smug in our righteousness. Then we ate and drank our fill and had precisely the same kind of Christmas as the lumpenproletariat we so despised.

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