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the
flip
side
. . . a slightly off-kilter view of local life and worldly matters
  Perhaps out of all the great comedy acts of bygone Christmases it’s Victoria Wood that I miss the most. I’m not forgetting Morecambe and Wise, Les Dawson and the Two Ronnies, who often had my father laughing until he cried, but I’m not sure any of them can beat Wood’s 2000 special, Christmas With All The Trimmings. Featuring a jaw-dropping cast of A-list actors it sends up Bond-like espionage, period dramas, musicals and more. So much invention, so many great lines . . .
Don’t you just love trying to call up banks, insurers, HMRC, etc? After the inevitable security questions (fair enough,) questions about why you
are calling, and the inevitable half an hour wait to be connected (listening to annoying muzak), they now want you to take part in a ‘short survey’ afterwards. Hmm, a chance to prolong the tedium even more, ooh, yes please.
Watching the recent BBC documentary about the outspoken Suffolk artist Maggi Hambling reminded me of her sometimes fearsome reputation among local journalists. I know of two experienced writers who would approach her with caution, never knowing whether their questions would be seen as an affront and dismissed with a withering reply. Although entering Hambling’s studio at Saxmundham with some wariness they would invariably return smiling, saying she had been great value during combative but amusing interviews. More recently Hambling has been causing controversy with her naked statue of Mary Wollstonecraft, so-called ‘mother of feminism,’ and the author of A Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman, published in 1792. Didn’t they realise that asking a provocateur like Hambling to get creative, the end result wouldn’t be a soberly dressed wallflower?
This time of year I enjoy leafing through the beautifully photographed M&S and Waitrose Christmas food ordering magazines. It is, of course, food porn . . . all those spreads of succulent turkeys, festive party snacks and highly indulgent puddings, shot with the kind of high gloss and alluring appeal of a Pirelli calendar. It’s cruel - they really shouldn’t tempt us middle aged gentlemen, with slightly expanding waistbands, in this way.
And while we are on the subject of festive publications, I’ll be buying the Radio Times Christmas issue which, to a degree, may be a waste of money. You don’t have to be Einstein to know what the films line-up will be.
Aword about Bury St Edmunds art group, The Crafty Foxes, who have been funded by various groups to create the Stars of 2020. Pupils at three schools - Guildhall Feoffment, St Edmunds Catholic and Tollgate, as well as members of the public, were asked to think about all the good things that happened during the first lockdown. Their words have been printed and placed on more than 200 ceramic stars then hung on trees around the town. (See picture on page 6). Michelle Freeman of the Crafty Foxes says: “This has been a lovely and very moving project with both children and adults happy to share their memories. It has been a difficult year for so many but the project has given local residents something positive to focus on.”
The shop I’m missing most out of all those that have disappeared from Bury St Edmunds this past year has to be HMV. Round about now I would be a regular visitor, picking out CDs or DVDs to give as presents or maybe - if a child is reading this not very grown-up column - scanning the shelves to see if there was something Father Christmas could bring me.
Richard Bryson
 Where to get your
copy of Bury &
West Suffolk
magazine (but hurry, they go fast)
Pick up Bury & West Suffolk magazine each month from Marks & Spencer, (Bury St Edmunds) Waitrose, (Bury, Newmarket and Sudbury) Boots, The Apex, Glasswells, Waterstones, Rougham Hall Nurseries, Brandon Country Park, FISH (Newmarket) plus selected hotels, shops, restaurants, cafes, pubs, boutiques, tourist information centres, hospitals, car showrooms and farm shops
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 The independent, multi-award winning regional magazine
BURY & West Suffolk magazine
December 2020 Issue 74
 The festive issue People Food & drink Fashion Art Interiors Health & Beauty Events
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