VICE feed for https://www.vice.comenFri, 14 Dec 2018 23:16:47 +0000<![CDATA[Man Finds Skid-Marked Underpants in His UberEats Order]]>, 14 Dec 2018 23:16:47 +0000 On Friday, I had a pretty dismal experience with a food delivery app with a name that sounds a lot like “Schmostmates.” I’ll spare you the details, because writing them out is akin to saying “Let me tell you about this dream I had,” but it ended with me struggling to cancel an order after the restaurant said they only made burgers on Mondays, and the head chef calling me an idiot.

Yes, it sucked, but it’s nothing compared with what a dude named Leo experienced in south Florida on Sunday night.

Leo was in Miami for Art Basel and, around 10 PM, he decided to use Uber Eats to score some dinner from a nearby Japanese restaurant. The order was placed, his meal arrived, and then things got weird. "I grabbed the food and right when I got the food [the delivery driver] took off running and I was like, 'That was kind of odd,'" he told WPLG.

Leo shrugged it off, took his shrimp fried rice and spicy dumplings back to his room, and opened the plastic carrier bag that the driver had handed him. He says that he reached inside and pulled out a large piece of white fabric. “I thought this, when I was pulling it out, this sure is a fancy napkin," he said, before he noticed that it wasn’t a napkin, but a pair of thigh-length underwear that were stained with what appeared to be human feces.

Leo called the restaurant and the Bal Harbour Police Department, and tried to get in touch with Uber Eats itself. He said that all of the agencies expressed appropriate amounts of shock and disgust, but all of them said that there was really nothing they could do about it.

“Disgusting, unhealthful, it's potentially deadly," Leo said of his unwanted side dish. "What do you do if you find this in your food?!" (My recommendation would be to push those things into the farthest corner, brick up your hotel room with the heaviest available building materials, and resign yourself to a life of somehow preparing and eating your own food without ever touching it with your now-forever-tainted hands.)

Uber Eats got in touch with Leo and gave him a full refund for the order. An Uber spokesperson confirmed to MUNCHIES that the driver had no previous safety reports; she also said that the company had Community Guidelines which “outline behavior expected” on the app.

“What's been reported is very concerning,” Uber told MUNCHIES. “We are reviewing this order and reaching out to all parties involved to help understand what may have occurred. The courier has been removed from the app pending investigation.”

Huh. So maybe that “We only cook burgers on Mondays” thing doesn’t seem so bad, after all.

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

3k9je9Jelisa CastrodaleHilary PollackGrossWTFPooUnderwearFood deliveryuber eats
<![CDATA[Being Sore After a Workout Doesn't Mean Your Muscles Are Growing]]>, 14 Dec 2018 23:12:49 +0000See if this sounds familiar: You went to the gym yesterday. Today, your muscles feel sore. You might think that means your workout was an effective one, and that growth is sure to follow. On the flip side, workouts that don’t leave you stiff and sore produce little in the way of results. If you’ve stopped feeling sore, you might think it's a sign that you need to switch things up if you want to get your muscles growing again.

While most people think that sore muscles after a workout are a sign that you’ve stimulated growth, and that more soreness equals faster results, it's not necessarily true. In fact, there’s very little evidence to show that muscle soreness is a reliable indicator of muscle damage, or that being sore means faster muscle growth, or that a lack of soreness means that your workout wasn’t effective. More about that in a moment, however.

First, let's discuss what causes delayed-onset muscle soreness—or DOMS, for short. To be blunt, scientists aren’t sure exactly why people get sore after a workout. But their best guess is that a tough workout, or even just a single exercise that you haven’t done before, typically leads to a bout of inflammation, which is the way your body handles an injury.

As part of the repair and recovery process, your body ramps up the production of cells that make certain nerve endings in your body more sensitive. When you move, these nerves send signals to the brain, which then creates the perception of soreness. These nerve fibers are located mainly in the connective tissue found between muscle fibers, as well as the junction between the muscle and tendon. In other words, the source of post-exercise muscle soreness appears to be the connective tissue that helps to bind muscle fibers together, rather than the actual muscle fibers themselves.

What’s more, an increase in muscle soreness doesn’t necessarily reflect an increase in muscle damage. Conversely, a decrease in soreness is not always indicative of less muscle damage, either. Muscle soreness can show up without any apparent damage to the muscle or signs of inflammation.
In one study, for instance, a team of Danish scientists got a group of young men to exercise one leg on an isokinetic dynamometer—essentially, a souped-up leg extension machine. The other leg had a couple of electrodes slapped on it, which delivered an electrical impulse to the muscle, causing it to contract.

Muscle soreness was assessed in both legs 24 hours later, and again after four and eight days. The researchers also extracted a slice of muscle tissue from each leg, and looked at it under an electron microscope in order to see how much damage was done. The result? Muscle soreness hit a peak 24 hours after exercise, and was still significantly higher four days after the workout. There was no significant difference in soreness between the two protocols. That is, subjects were just as sore in the days following electrically stimulated contractions as they were after voluntary exercise. The amount of muscle damage, however, was considerably higher from the extension machine.

Other studies report much the same thing, with only moderate levels of soreness associated with a high degree of damage. In short, you can’t rely on muscle soreness to gauge the extent to which a particular workout has damaged your muscles. So, can you still train if your muscles are sore?

More from Tonic:

According to conventional wisdom, training a muscle that still feels sore will only delay the recovery process and put the brakes on muscle growth. But that doesn’t seem to be the case, either. That is, training a muscle when it still feels sore doesn’t appear to create any further damage or slow the recovery process.

In one study, scientists recruited a group of student athletes and split them into two groups. Both groups completed 30 negative reps of dumbbell curls, which is a highly effective way to create both muscle damage and soreness. The first group rested, but the second group came back to the lab three days later—when their muscles still felt sore—to do the whole thing again. Both groups were tested every day for nine days after the first workout.

You’d think that the second bout of training would interfere with recovery from the first, or at least make muscle damage worse. But this wasn’t the case. The researchers found no significant difference between the groups in terms of muscle soreness or markers of muscle damage. Some people also experience a far greater degree of soreness than others, even when they do the same workout. In fact, there seems to be a population of “high responders” to resistance exercise. Research shows

that these people lose more strength after a workout, take longer to recover, as well as experience a greater degree of muscle soreness.

There are also differences in the ability of various exercises to create soreness. Certain movements, particularly those involving high levels of muscle activation at long rather than short muscle lengths, are more likely to leave you feeling sore.

Let’s take the bench press as an example. At the bottom of the movement, with the bar just above your chest, the pecs are lengthened while simultaneously experiencing high levels of tension.

It’s a different story with an exercise like the dumbbell lateral raise. At the bottom of the movement, with the dumbbells in front of you, there isn’t much tension on the delts. Muscle activation increases as you raise both arms out to the side and the delts shorten. This “length-dependent component” is one of the reasons why the bench press (high levels of muscle activation at a long muscle length) leaves your chest feeling sore the next day, while the lateral raise (high levels of muscle activation at a short muscle length) doesn’t do the same thing for your delts.

When researchers have put high- and low-soreness training programs to the test, they've found that both deliver similar gains in muscle mass. In one trial, Brazilian scientists compared training a muscle once a week with a full-body workout performed five times a week, Monday through Friday. Subjects in the group that hit each muscle group once a week reported a much higher level of post-exercise muscle soreness. There was no significant difference in strength or size gains, however, between the two groups. In other words, both the “low soreness” and “high soreness” training programs increased muscle mass and strength to a similar degree.

Muscle soreness is nothing more than a sign that you did something your body wasn’t used to, or performed an exercise that just so happens to trigger more soreness than others. Some people will experience DOMS to a greater extent than others, while some exercises will stimulate more soreness than others. While being sore and stiff might feel oddly satisfying, however, it’s not a reliable sign that growth has been stimulated. Likewise, the fact you’re not sore doesn’t mean your muscles aren’t growing.

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Christian Finn is a UK-based personal trainer and exercise scientist. He blogs frequently about fitness and weight loss at

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

9k4gvyChristian FinnMike DarlingmuscletrainingstrengthFitnessexercisebodyWeight LossPhys Edsoreness
<![CDATA[Paris's Luxury Shops Are Boarding Up in Preparation for the Gilets Jaunes Protests]]>, 14 Dec 2018 23:08:32 +0000This article originally appeared on VICE France

There is one thing about the gilets jaunes movement in France that stands out from the many, many, many instances of French mass mobilisations gone by. Traditionally, large demonstrations in Paris take place in the east of the city – where not as many things are plated in pure gold. But for the past three weeks, the thousands of demonstrators who are calling for a wide range of social reforms have hit the streets of western Paris, presumably so they can be heard by one of the area's most famous tenants: President Emmanuel Macron.

As well as being home to the Élysée Palace, the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, the west of Paris is full of luxury shops that haven't really gotten into the spirit of revolution.

In response to the protests and to avoid having to install new windows every week, the exclusive stores have boarded up in preparation for the weekend's riots, to protect their goods from a determined movement that shows no signs of slowing down. The day before the most recent protests, on the 8th of December, photographer Baptiste César strolled around the west of Paris to capture the new shop fronts of high-end favourites like Céline, Balmain and Kenzo.

Scroll down to see more of Baptiste César's photos.


This article originally appeared on VICE FR.

]]>gy7mpjVICE StaffLouis DabirBaptiste CésarParisPhotosPROTESTSriotsLuxuryVICE Internationalvice francegilets jaunesYellow vests<![CDATA[There Is No There: Advice from So Sad Today]]>, 14 Dec 2018 23:00:29 +0000Dear So Sad Today,

You know when you're young, you always think "when I'm older my life will start.” I'm not really talking about having high expectations or big dreams, just ~life~ stuff: a first real boyfriend, a career kicking off, doing more & seeing more. I used to wonder, but not worry because I was young and it would all happen in the future.

So I waited for life to happen and now the future is here but life hasn't come with it. I just assumed it would all happen. I'm in my 20s, I didn't go to college but I found my own path. I know the solution is to get out there but it can be hard to find where "there" is. When I do stumble upon it, it's like a brief glimpse of life and then it's gone again.

So when does life start? Have I not thought it into existence hard enough? How do I start life when it feels like nothing ever happens?


one point forever (but hopefully not)

Dear one point forever (but hopefully not),

As I write this, I’m sitting in a cold, dirty Chick-fil-A. I just got a hair treatment that isn’t supposed to get wet and I ran in here to escape a downpour of rain (in Los Angeles of all places). The girls in the booth next to me are talking about the Kardashians using their first names only (“Kylaaayyy, Khloaaayyy”) and I’m trying to calculate the calories in a dish called Chick-n-Strips. I don’t think I am “there” yet either.

Or maybe I am there? The thing about arriving is that it’s elusive. As you said, we have experiences—brief glimpses of what we might call life (though it’s all life, really)—and then they are gone. I’m not sure who designed happiness like this, but the Buddha seems to know something about its fleeting nature.

When I was in my 20s, I believed in the possibility that I would one day really “arrive.” I thought that if I went to the right psychic or took the right amount of drugs or figured out my astrological chart or studied the right religion or published a book or fucked the right person or the right person fell in love with me, then it would all happen. The idea of arrival, for me, meant not only some summit I wanted to reach in the outside world, but also a permanent feeling of wholeness within myself that I was hoping to attain.

What I’ve come to learn is that truth is one and paths are many, and there is no psychic or astrological chart that knows any more than anyone else. There is no fuckable person (or people) who can fill all my desirous holes. There are not enough drugs to render me permanently high. There is nothing I can buy that will make me impervious to the feeling of lack. There is no amount of books that I could publish to make me feel like “enough.” After the book comes the fear of never publishing another book.

This knowledge that nothing outside of myself is enough—a knowing that I’ve accumulated gradually, through experience and many mistakes—does not mean I’m enlightened. With the exception of the drugs (off of which I am clean), I often still look to achievement, external validation, or the perfect purse to make me feel “there.” In other words, I forget what I know all the time.

But, I would say what’s nice about being in my 30s is that the search for a “there” is slightly less desperate now, a bit less frenetic. Or, when I’m desperately striving for something, whatever it is, I tend to see what I’m doing a bit more quickly now. If I’m straining to “make” something happen, if I feel like I have to get something or I will die, there’s a good chance it’s time to let go of that thing. The best way to describe my life is that I often wake up forgetting that I already have all I need. The rest of the day then becomes about remembering.

My daily meditation practice helps with this, because it gives me a template of “pause.” It reminds me that pause exists and that I don’t have to believe every thought, every want, every desire. But even meditation can become a misguided attempt to get to some kind of “there.” If my practice doesn’t feel serene, I can wonder what I’m doing wrong (the answer is nothing). Spiritual materialism isn’t just about the purchase of crystals and expensive candles. It can be found even in the desire for a practice to look or feel a certain way.

I think this is also true of the elusive state of “okayness” in general. I used to think that okayness was a place, some solid state I would reach and that within it there would be no fluctuations. I imagined myself untouchable, free, not subject to other people’s opinions or my own sensitivity. But I don’t think that’s really a human experience. If everything in nature is always changing, then why wouldn’t we?

It seems that the more I try to find some permanent state of okayness, to unify all my fragments into some kind of comprehensible (or even branded) whole, the less okay I feel. Even the pressure to “be okay with not being okay,” as is the popular expression, seems like a lot. Like, maybe it’s more about being okay with not being okay with not being okay?


so sad today

Follow So Sad Today on Twitter and buy the book here.

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

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<![CDATA['Good Parents Die Hard,' Today's Comic by Alex Krokus]]>, 14 Dec 2018 22:59:49 +00001544736071935-AK_thegenius_v02

Check out more of Alex's art on his Instagram, Twitter, and website.

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

]]>wj3b9xAlex KrokusNick GazinchristmasfansmoviesParentsparentingComics!Die HardVice comicsAlex Krokus<![CDATA[My Painful Quest to Find the Worst Christmas Movie Ever Made]]>, 14 Dec 2018 22:58:27 +0000This post contains spoilers for multiple bad Christmas movies.

Each Christmas, I attempt to spend a few days watching Christmas classics. Which can be difficult, because there have been, in the history of the entertainment industry, maybe 20 Christmassy movies that you could say are legitimately good. Even ones that are considered classics would've been probably been disregarded years ago if they didn't have Santa hats and Christmas trees. Most holiday-themed movies are bland, boring, and and completely mediocre. And there's no joy in watching mediocre movies. But there can be a lot of joy in watching terrible ones.

So in an effort to find the absolute worst of the bunch, I spent an entire day, from waking to sleep, trying to find the shittiest festive movie I could. So you could share in my misery, I decided to only include movies that are available on the main US streaming services. Which, unfortunately, means things like the Hulk Hogan-starring Santa with Muscles and the Christian Christmas film that dragged Mike Huckabee into a class-action lawsuit,were excluded.

Unless otherwise specified, I found these movies by just scrolling through menus and clicking on things that looked awful.

Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas

A festive wedding scene
Screencap via Netflix

This one was kind of nice. The movie was so flat and formulaic, it sent me into a kind of waking coma. It appeared to have received the minimum acceptable amount of effort from everyone involved. The actors delivered their lines with the enthusiasm of of a prisoner of war being forced to tape a renouncement of their home country at gunpoint. I think the monotony and beige festive glow of every scene might have hypnotized me. By this point, it was almost midnight, and I had been watching Christmas movies for almost 18 hours.

I was brought back to reality by the film’s ending, which was delightfully bonkers.

The main characters are a wedding planner, her cousin who is getting married, and a sexy PI who is the ex boyfriend of the bride and has been hanging out with the wedding planner for the last couple of weeks.

Sexy PI interrupts the wedding during the “any objections” portion to announce that the groom has a secret baby. Cousin Bride, devastated, cancels the wedding. Then, in an extremely inappropriate move, Sexy PI proposes to Wedding Planner, right there in the ashes of the wedding he just ruined.

“You can’t do this… we barely know each other” says Wedding Planner. Which is an extremely reasonable position to take, given that they’ve only known each other for two weeks, don’t seem to especially like each other, and are currently at the wedding of one of her relatives, who has just been brutally and publicly humiliated.

In response, Sexy PI says, “If you let me, I’d like to spend a lifetime fixing that.”

This is all it takes to persuade Wedding Planner, and she heads inside with Sexy PI to immediately get married. The cousin serves as a bridesmaid without even changing out of her wedding dress.

While watching, I suspected this movie was probably written by a man. IMDb confirmed my suspicion. He also previously wrote things called Cougar de Bergerac and Bro-bot.

Available on Netflix.


An American Carol was definitely the worst movie I watched during my day. But since it's only loosely tied to Christmas, I'm not sure it qualifies to receive the honor or Worst Christmas Movie of All Time (Within the Confines of This Fairly Lazy Experiment). Instead, I'm going to give that honor to Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas. For being technically bad, as a movie, but also for having the extremely questionable moral that buying Christmassy tat is more Christian than funding wells in Africa.

Also because Kirk Cameron seems to get really annoyed when people call his movie bad. Which is funny.

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This article originally appeared on VICE US.

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<![CDATA[Ellen DeGeneres May Have Trapped Herself in Her Own Persona]]>, 14 Dec 2018 03:38:38 +0000Ellen DeGeneres might be done being your largely apolitical pick-me-up. Ahead of her return to stand-up with her Netflix special Relatable, the 60 year old comedian spoke with the New York Times about the constraints of keeping up a formulaic talk show for so many years.

The article’s sub-headline spilled the beans that she’s considering ending her show, encouraged by her wife Portia de Rossi (her brother Vance DeGeneres has been urging her to stay). It’s hard to avoid the knee-jerk reaction that de Rossi must not care about the rest of us if she wants to take away the most reliable Xanax in America. Who else can light up living rooms, outdo influencers on YouTube, and go viral on Instagram pranking P Diddy besides Ellen? But the story takes a surprisingly eerie turn when you realize the person who has soothed and delighted us all these years with her consistent, fun-loving humor day-after-day may feel trapped playing a caricature of herself.

Degeneres recounts her frustration with fans always expecting her to dance in the streets (something she’s brought up before), along with her anxiety-filled decision to stop dancing on the show in recent years. The article also points out the odd in-person contrast of her mellow sly humor with the high energy of her party-ready audience. “The talk show is me, but I’m also playing a character of a talk-show host,” she says. None of this is a total surprise; Ellen’s current persona is more light-hearted than her personality, or even the persona she took on in previous years doing stand-up. She even uses that to her advantage at times, getting celebrities to answer particularly pointed questions once their guard is down and sneaking in jokes that rib them more than they might realize.

Degeneres is also by no means a notably dark person (and apparently not reading the news has helped her maintain some of that cool collected glow). But like the stereotype of most comedians, she’s sensitive to criticism and fears letting people down. She’s also still living with the sting of straight fans turning on her and queer fans simultaneously demanding more from her when she famously came out as a lesbian on Time magazine in 1997.

By the time her wife de Rossi pops up in the article to explain why she wants DeGeneres off the airwaves, she comes off like a loving protector of a woman who may care too much about making everyone else happy. De Rossi apparently offered oddly parental advice to DeGeneres before her Times interview: “Just remember, the nicer they are, the more they are going to screw you.” And her passion for wanting Ellen to achieve her full potential bubbles over in her few words, somehow overpowering the fact that she’s advocating our pal throw in the towel. “I just think she’s such a brilliant actress and standup that it doesn’t have to be this talk show for her creativity,” de Rossi said. “There are other things she could tackle.”

While it’s still unclear if and when DeGeneres will end her talk show, it seems her upcoming return to stand-up will be an exciting first step in regaining control over her voice and, yet again, shifting the person behind her talk show “character.” But this small window into her current dilemmas sets up a surprisingly tense situation with high stakes (though, lest we forget, it’s not as if she hasn’t been handsomely paid for her work, which is in itself a different kind of lifestyle trapping). As of yet, neither Ellen nor her closest confidants can fully decide whether her years-long commitment is an irreplaceable American lifeline or a self-sacrificing project preventing her from reaching new horizons.

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This article originally appeared on VICE US.

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<![CDATA['Flowers Are Not Salad,' Today's Comic by Benji Nate]]>, 14 Dec 2018 02:26:59 +00001544729621120-catboy0002

Check out Benji Nate's website, Instagram, and Twitter.

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

]]>8xpe3vBenji NateNick GazinANIMALScatsFRIENDSComics!flowersVice comicscatboybenji nate<![CDATA[Marc Mckee On Designing Some of the Most Iconic Graphics in Skateboarding]]>, 13 Dec 2018 20:38:25 +0000The No Comply Network is a London-based, UK-wide network of artistically creative skateboarders, founded by Birmingham-born skater Jason Caines. Every week, we'll be profiling a new No Comply member.

Marc Mckee is a skater and artist from Marin County, California who has created some of the most iconic skate graphics of all time. Starting his career as a skateboard graphic designer in the late 1980s, he was discovered by Steve Rocco, owner of 90s street skating super-brand World Industries, who hired him as a designer for the company.

World was the biggest skate brand in the industry at the time, and Mckee's designs played a key role in that. He invented the brand's mascots Devil Man, Flame Boy and Wet Willy, which took the company to another level: from the skatepark to the hoodies and T-shirts of kids who might have owned Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, but had never stepped on a board in their lives.

Alongside working as an editor at Big Brother magazine, Mckee went on to create a series of notorious graphics for World's sister brands, Blind, 101, Darkstar, Cliché and Almost. Some were celebrated, some were criticised for being wildly offensive – but more than anything, they helped him firmly secure his spot in skateboarding history.

As he's a No Comply Member, and one of the hardest working men in skateboarding, I thought we should have a chat about World, Rocco and creating Flame Boy and Wet Willy.

A hand-painted sample of the Rocco 3 Devil Bear Sofubi figure.

Do you have any recent or upcoming releases that you'd like to mention?
Just the Rocco 3 Devil Bear Sofubi figure coming from Japan early next year – February, I think. I also finished a graphic for Cliver's new skate company, StrangeLove Skateboards. It's drawn as if it were the long-lost fifth graphic in a series of World boards Sean and I did in 1992. The original group of boards was called the "Rocco Tribute Series" and featured various portrayals of Steve in various grandiose ways. Each board was the first pro model for four of the ams from the Love Child video, Daewon Song, Shiloh Greathouse, Chico Brenes and Jovontae Turner. There were plans for Jed Walters to go pro, too. That never happened, though, and Jed pretty much disappeared. Sean caught up with him earlier this year, so now he'll finally be getting a board.

Last question, do you have any advice for budding artists in the UK when it comes to getting design jobs in skateboarding?
Everyone should do their own thing and not listen to anyone else. The best way is probably to first get work through your friends or people you already know. That’s basically how I started out with World Industries. I think, unless you’re already a working artist, it will be very hard for some random company to hire you. So just try to start something with your friends.

Thanks, Marc.

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

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<![CDATA[Here's a Timeline of Your Christmas Behaviour]]>, 13 Dec 2018 20:36:31 +0000This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

Christmas is a lawless time of year. In the UK, it is even more detrimental to the public than a long standing heatwave, which forces otherwise upstanding members of the community to saw the top half off their VW Golf and drive it around like a convertible, or go on national television complaining that it is simply too hot to wear a shirt. Heatwave behaviour makes you delirious with a mixture of joy and fury as you do things you wouldn’t usually consider doing at a regular temperature, like eating a lolly at your desk or getting pissed out your head on a Monday and putting an astonishing bet down on a sport you don't even understand based on a "gut feeling".

Christmas behaviour is similar. The joy and fury are still there, but they no longer co-exist. They are split apart and flung to the furthest ends of the psychological spectrum to create something altogether more sinister, something monstrous. Christmas behaviour is taking out a small loan to go rabid in the M&S food court. It is engaging in silent but very real decoration warfare with everyone on your street, which begins when that one mad couple trims up in October, and ends sometime in March, when someone finally posts a note through the letterbox of number 8 asking them to "take your f*cking lights down!!!"

It is donating money to Shelter and, two hours later, shoving an elderly woman out the way over a bag of parsnips in Asda. It is catching a train at 5PM on the 24th of December and being completely livid that it’s so busy you have to sit on top of your suitcase, that other people besides you are using the service at all. It is eating and boozing and eating and boozing until you’re on the brink of gout, stuffed like a drug mule at customs. If you put a finger to the back of your throat and you can’t touch the remnants of a mini-quiche, is it even Christmas? If you don’t deeply, wholeheartedly fucking hate yourself by the 26th of December, did you even celebrate at all?

Unlike heatwave behaviour, which is rooted in the chaos of the unknown – When will it end? How will we cope? – Christmas behaviour has structure. It has a definitive narrative that is played out again and again by the British public every single year. We will now trace this narrative through the greatest barometer of societal madness currently available: the news.

10. Good Intentions

The festive season begins the same way most things in life begin: with the best of intentions and empathy for our fellow man. Goodwill stories bolt immediately into the news cycle in late November / early December as we begin the initial phase of Christmas behaviour. This is when optimism reigns supreme and you will tell yourself things like "this is the year I volunteer at a soup kitchen" and "I will get a present for one of my elderly neighbours". This is before the dreadful grip of work stress, social fatigue financial pressure take hold of your soul and rapidly turn you bad. If you're going to do any of these things – which you should – do them now. Do them now. Christmas behaviour!

9. Gentle Whimsy / Mild Annoyance

The first sign of madness beginning to infiltrate society is non-events suddenly becoming newsworthy because they happened to someone dressed as Santa. Something so commonplace it barely has life beyond the knee-jerk "thieving BASTARDS" response it elicits, but ends up being a top BBC News story with interviews with three separate people because it generates sentences like "Unfortunately, Santa parked his sleigh in the wrong bay" and "Santa was fuming". Christmas behaviour.

8. General Vandalism Disguised as Festive Vandalism

Third on the rung of the ladder we have: acts of vandalism that, while not politically motivated by Christmas in and of themselves, are considered more tragic on account of the added layer of emotional destruction. Realistically speaking, if you erect something in the middle of a city centre – whether it's a statue of a pig or a massive bauble – someone a few Stella Cidres deep will either try to sit on or kick the shit out of it. In this act, we see the twin forces of "Christmas" and "behaviour" converging. This is our lives now. Everything from here on is Christmas behaviour.

7. Questionable Decision Making

Now, this is absolutely fucking Christmas behaviour because I know exactly what has happened here. Upon refusing to pay £30 for a tree from B&Q like everyone else, "when there's loads of them outside for free", a vigilante dad, gassed up on magic and wonder and resentment over having to spend half his monthly wage on a load of "shit" for the kids, has decided to drive to the local forestry, hack down a tree twice the size of his work van and transport it home down an A-road – safeguarding himself from accusations of "reckless behaviour" by hanging a hi-vis jacket on the top branches. This is heroic. This is hazardous. This is Christmas behaviour.

6. Culinary Masochism

I'm as here for excess when it comes to food as the next glutton, but when we reckon with stuff like Gammon and whiskey crisps, deep fried mince pies or a three course dinner in a pasty – all released under the guise of "festive fun!" – we must call it what it is: fucking disgusting. This isn't food, this is intestinal torture whose damage would stand the test of three enemas. The only reason anyone would eat any of this is simply because it is there. Christmas behaviour.

5. Festival Vandalism Motivated By Interpersonal Beef

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens did a decent job of capturing the meaning of the season. Fair play to him, he had a good go at it. He is, however, wrong. The true spirit of Christmas in Britain is an elderly woman in a duffle coat breaking incredibly slowly into a neighbour's garden to passive aggressively hack down (some?) of their flashing Christmas decorations with a pair of scissors. She could have asked them to turn them off, but that wouldn't have been very Christmas behaviour.

4. Accident and Injury

Someone making the annual trip to the attic in search of boxes of tinsel and falling straight through the ceiling while their partner takes photos and laughs: huge, huge Christmas behaviour.

3. Daytime TV Starts To Go A Bit Weird

2. Stress and Disillusionment

Most people assume that Christmas ends at midnight on the 25th of December, when your spirit is high, your senses are dulled and your belly is full of potatoes, but this is false. Christmas ends long before Christmas begins. What happens is: you are born and, for a while, Christmas gets better in tandem with your awareness of the world. The bigger your eyes get, the more wonder goes in. Then you hit a peak somewhere between the age of five and ten, and from there it's just a downward slope into tradition and credit card debt.

Christmas ends at the age of eight, when your dad wakes you up stepping on a squeaky floorboard and you begin to suspect that Santa does not, in fact, disintegrate in order to come down the boarded-up chimney in the living room. Christmas ends in your thirties, when you start to resent how many people you know with kids who are taking all the attention away from you all of a sudden. And Christmas definitely ends when you, a young child in your big padded jacket and awkward gloves, totter to a grotto to tell Santa – or one of his helpers, you're not an idiot – your dreams and wishes at that precise moment in your hopeful little life. You get a glimpse of his big red mass and anxiously go over in your head what you're going to say to him, but before you get there: Santa goes mental. Santa rips his own facial hair off and has a full on psychological meltdown caused by any number of life stresses you've yet to understand. Santa tells you to "fuck off" and something deep inside you goes numb forever. Christmas behaviour.

1. Mam Rage

Finally: mam rage. Mam rage is the legendary Pokémon of emotion: rare, elusive, unique. Dad rage is reliable. It releases itself, without fail, gradually throughout the season – over the tree, over the sets of lights that weren't tangled when he packed them away last year, so why tHE SODDIng hell are they NOW, over the brief but incredibly specific food shopping instructions they've been tasked to deal with. Mam rage can come at anytime, any place – but always all at once.

Christmas can take a great psychological toll on any parent, or person in general, as it illuminates financial difficulty and carries the added guilt of things needing to be as magical as possible, which can make any pre-existing difficulties feel much worse. Sometimes, though, it's just fucking stressful because It Is Fucking Stressful. And sometimes – like when some jobsworth in an elf costume tries to tell you that you need a reservation for your kid to see Santa in a shopping centre, for example – that stress will come out via your spit into their eye.

Christmas behaviour. May we respect and celebrate it always.


59vq5aEmma GarlandJamie CliftonchristmasbehaviourChristmas Behaviour