Posts from 18th December 2004

Dec 04

THE ADVENT CALENDAR OF CHRISTMAS FILMS 18: Digby The Biggest Fucking Dog In The World

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That’s what it says on the piece of paper. It must be said though that the scribe was mighty pissed at the time and, well, Digby is the biggest fucking dog in the world. No two ways around it. A cautionary tale perhaps for anyone who gets a puppy for Christmas. Remember a dog is for life, and if it turns into the biggest fucking dog in the world you might be in trouble*.

At my school they used to show a film as an end of term treat. I have a feeling the staff may have been hanging around in the staff room quaffing sherries as we settled down to The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes or Digby, The Biggest Fucking Dog In The World (they were always lame-o Disney live action bobbins). Of course it was exciting seeing a film, though the super-16 projector never worked properly and you could not see it properly because too many kids were bundled in to the hall. Lord knows what the plot of Digby was: though at a guess it involved a vat of gunk, a dog and hilarious pratfalls. I think I possible read through the films after a few years, and the girls sitting next to me were too busy platting each others hair (why do girls do that?). Still whenever I see a really big fucking dog, I think of Christmas.

*I never by people puppies for Christmas due to the campaigns against the cruel treatment of animals over this season. I usually save the dog for a birthday present instead. Less stigma.


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Christmas 1977

L-R: me, mom, Holly

This is me giving my mom “my” present of florally-scented bath cubes. As a six-year-old I’m not someone with pocket change for fancy gurl toiletries but my dad comes to me with a wrapped box and says something to me, something like, “here, Michael, give your mother your present.” Since I didn’t actually give her anything, and at age six, not capable of reading between the lines, I say as much; my dad insists again, then I insist again in confused exchange until finally my mother plays along. I end up being more fascinated by them than she is — they were my gift to me. To mom, bath cubes are in a well-established category of desperation-gift (I know because in later years I give my mom scented toiletries when I couldn’t think of anything else to give her), to me they’re more pretty datum to be collected and savored: What do violets smell like? What do lily-of-the-valleys smell like? What do…? Pretty! My mom and stepdad still give each other presents under their pets’ names. I still don’t really understand that cute misdirection, or what kind of pleasure they get from indulging in such a thin family in-joke.

We’re the Daddino family and we’re into CB! You can sorta make it out right there, in a box, to the right. Later that night Bobby uses it to talk to another kid who got a CB radio for Christmas, how romantic. In retrospect, we were maybe slightly ahead of the CB-craze curve for Long Island, given my mom’s long-term fascination with country & western. I even remember Red Sovine’s “Teddy Bear” (and various spin-off records) being played a lot on the radio the year before; then, earlier that year, we all see Smoky and the Bandit (which comes as something of a shock, as this is the first time I hear someone outside the family curse — I just sorta assumed my brothers had invented “fuck” and “shit”) (also, this movie is a benchmark for memory-fade, as after we leave the theater, I remark to my mom that this is the first movie [in a theater] I’ve ever seen, and she’s surprised that I have no recollection of films I saw just a few years before).