Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Dickens and the city

Something over a decade ago, my parents started collecting, as part of their general Christmas-decor mania, the "Dickens Village" collectables -- figures and houses designed to evoke A Christmas Carol specifically and Dickensian England more generally. When it began, it really was like a little parochial hamlet in the English countryside.

We're well past that now.

Seriously, we've moved into a sort of Dickens Urban Sprawl. We're very soon going to need a Dickens Mass Transit to maintain economic infrastructure and quite possibly a Dickens Nuclear Reactor to provide energy for this bustling metropolis on display in my parents' living room.

It's really my brother who is the one to blame for this unchecked growth, providing every Christmas, like clockwork, a few new buildings, to the point where my father had to add an extra four feet to the trestle-table on which the city is built. My parents, this year, said no more ... please! We have no more space. To which my brother, predictably, laughed at them and refused.
I think at this rate next Christmas I'll be sleeping on the couch because the Dickens Megalopolis will have taken over the extra bedroom.

You think I exaggerate? Please to see, starting at the city's west end and moving east:

We are arriving at a point in this city's development that we might soon expect to see some urban decay. To that end, I am on the lookout for the Dickens Whitechapel and Dickens Red Light District; perhaps some Dickens Tenement Housing, and some little figurines of Fagin and the Artful Dodger, and perhaps Jack the Ripper just for good measure.

But then, my parents don't seem to amenable to my suggestions for such social realism ...


Lesley said...

Huh. Interesting. I used to work with a lady who collected one of the collections from Department 56 (probably the company that makes the ones your parents collect) and she had about eight tables set up in her living room. The entire thing took about two days to set up and she left it up all winter--from the first weekend before the Grey Cup to the first weekend of spring. And it took over her whole back wall of the living room. Looking at it, I used to wonder, how someone gets to that point where they have something like that consume them...your brother needs to stop feeding the demons....

Paige said...

ha haha... how quaint!

if they won't put in a red light district, I suggest just playing around with the positioning of the figures. I always put my neighbour's baby jesus on the sheep's back when I was younger.. and needless to say, that was not appreciated in a religious household.

and sorry for not making it out today. the dual combo of having to christmas shop and spending all my money on said shopping left me a little empty by the time the evening rolled around. awe. hopefully there will be drink-n-greets in the new year!

Anonymous said...

Introduce a Dickens congestion charge. Then put a little red Lego city to the "north", with high rises, multi-storey car parks and some Vicky Pollards in track suits. Maybe some pissed-off Lego commuters. VoilĂ  - Dickens Milton Keynes.