The Tottenham Ploughman Sunday 11th December: From Santa to the Lord of Misrule
On Sunday 11th December at Bruce Castle in Tottenham I’ll be at the Tottenham Ploughman community winter festival as a real Santa with a real beard.
I won’t be handing out presents but encouraging people to donate to Crisis at Christmas. It has always seemed to me that particularly at this time of year Crisis plays an important role of making sure that people who are down on their luck (for whatever reason, and it doesn’t matter what the reason is) won’t otherwise be able to enjoy the season as the rest of us hope to.
The Santa hotpants and other apparel are all part of the fun because one version of Santa is about a jovial man with a beard.
I am particularly keen of course that real Santas should have real beards.
But there are many perspectives on Santa and before the figure was reinvented by the Victorians and Charles Dickens more broadly, he also represented a much longer lasting seasonal tradition of the Lord of Misrule.
The Lord of Misrule who in folk custom runs from All Hallows (1st November) to at least Twelfth Night (6th January) and sometimes through until the end of Lent as well is about turning the world upside down.
Figures of authority are mocked and poked fun at.
So as the Secretary of the local wing of the TUC I do think that at this time of year the Santa hotpants add a rather different perspective to what is usually a rather serious role. I only wish that more of my colleagues and comrades on the other wing of the labour movement, Councillors and so on, were able to allow themselves to be laughed at this time of year too.
In the age of social media trolls and 24 hours news this may be a bit more problematic than it used to be but it remains a way of addressing social tensions and it might also be just a little bit genuinely subversive too.
See you at the Tottenham Ploughman then…
Bruce Castle, Lordship Lane N17 Midday-5pm Sunday 11th December
The link to the Crisis website is here: