Not that I’m from Shetland, you understand, but I like the festive greeting: God Jul.
And as a gift, how about five unusual film suggestions to overcome the normal festive fare?
1. Some Like It Hot. Starts off with Jack Lemmon & Tony Curtis fleeing cold & snowy Chicago, ends with the pair fleeing warm and sunny Florida. Oh, and there’s Marilyn Monroe with a ukulele and a dozen blonde musicians partying on a sleeper train.
2. The Illusionist. Charming near-silent animation by Sylvain Chomet (of Belleville Rendezvous fame), based on a script by the incomparable Jacques Tati, what little dialogue is in French, shrugs and Scots Gaelic. Magical, gentle, and a little bit sad at the end.
3. Rare Exports. A bit scary this one but one of my favourites, and it’s best seen at Yuletide. Set in the cold frozen north amongst reindeer herders, featuring a child-snatching Saint Nick and a happy ending. Expect Scandinavian knitwear and Finnish dialogue (with subtitles).
4. Solaris. The original version from 1976, thank you. Not everyone has a happy Christmas every year, and this is one film that makes you think. It’s in Russian, too, so it makes you read the subtitles. A beautiful, haunting film, perfect for when you want to avoid the festive hubbub and switch off. Worth watching more than once, too.
5. The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes. Another Billy Wilder film but one that’s often forgotten. Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson, the Loch Ness Monster and unspeakable crimes against the British Empire. Not very Christmassy, but ends in Scotland (that’ll be Hogmanay, then!) after another long sleeper train journey. Must be something in the air.
That’s all for 2013. I’ll be thinking of you as I am sat by the fire with a glass of noggin, toasting my feet and reading a good book.