Nik Butler: Scare bears of Swan Walk and foisted festive foibles

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And so it begins. The first blows have been struck upon the consciousness of public buying. As the carparks, streets and shops begin to swell with that urgent pressing feeling which requires more than a branded probiotic yoghurt to shift.

The gaudy if rather dubious decorations now hang from the mall ceiling; whilst hopeful lights bravely illuminate the busy streets.

Yet the pinnacle of this festive distraction has to be the return of the scare bears of Swan Walk. If ever proof were needed that children do not perceive horror as an adult might; it would be through the glazed and soulless expressions of those gimballed furry giants.

This year, unless I have blanked it from my memory, they are accompanied by tiny prickly minions of questionable gastronomic determination.

The tableau suggesting that some variation of forested bacchanalian event has begun.

Thus marking the eventual return of the winter god who will deliver every boy and girl with objects of their hearts desire or possibly a small plastic lobster.

I find the presentation to be a fairly disturbing assembly and I feel a level of pity for staff who work the mall through the night; to possibly be greeted by the jovial animated motions of that furry choir.

Granted I am an adult and will have a tendency to over analyse and invest too much thought into the prospective revelations which are created in those animated scenes.

However, as one adult to another I would like to ask: “What on earth did they think they were buying”?

I understand that in moments of a weekend the crowds gather and gawk as the bears shake and squawk though their hourly rituals.

Yet I do not believe the awe and wonder visible in their reverence is that which was sought by the proprietors of that scene.

Meanwhile with all the empty shops in Horsham would it not have been more in keeping with the festive theme to turn the town into one giant advent calendar; Opening one shop a day until Christmas? Delivering a message or an opportunity behind every closed door.

I appreciate this might be more work than installing an electrical erinaceidae.

Though it may place a little more humanity into our interactions in a time when we should seek to remember to be there for one another no matter how long, dark or cold the darkness becomes.