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Is Everybody Having Fun?   Facing the challenges of Christmas when with you or your relatives (or both), have autism

Is Everybody Having Fun?

Facing the challenges of Christmas when with you or your relatives (or both), have autism

by DJ Fuzzyfelt,
first published: December, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

Christmas represents disorder, randomness, lack of clarity, too many different sensory experiences food, too many lights, too noisy, wrong TV programmes,
So Here It Is, Merry Christmas, Everybody's Having Fun...
Well, that's a moot point Noddy...
My family is full of autistics, from a great uncle who was 'too eccentric to work', who was autistic before a word was invented for his condition, to my three-year-old granddaughter, not related to me by blood and not officially diagnosed yet but...My Dad is, I am, and both my sons are.

We vary from the likes of me and my Dad who have had what might be termed normal lives though both of us are seen as a bit odd, to my autistic cousin who finally gave up the ghost after the deaths of his well-meaning but overprotective parents, who, when finally faced with the real world in all its unpredictability celebrated his 40th birthday by taking his own life, to both of my 20 something non-verbal autistic sons who need 24-hour care and support 365/6 days a year.

It is what it is and so endemic in my family that we kind of shrug our shoulders and just get on with it. I don't normally get angry about it as it won't help anybody, in fact, contrary to some autism cliches, autistic are often more aware of heightened emotions so anger or frustration can actually lead to upset and even meltdowns. I once worked with an autistic person who loved watching Glastonbury every year and asked me to switch it off at one point because 'that singer was shouting at me' which I did as I knew no amount of explanation would calm the person's fears.

And don't get me going with the 'there is a little bit of autism in everybody' cliche.

Anyway to the point. Many autistics love Christmas to the point of obsession as it represents one of the two high points of the year, the other being their birthday. My adult autistic goddaughter, for instance, starts her Christmas build-up on the day after her birthday-March 12th, with her mother and her support team desperately trying to cling on and tolerate the seemingly endless Christmas dinners she seems to arrange to attend, plus seasonal films, pantomimes, carol concerts, etc and woe betide anybody who doesn't join in, shows signs of flagging!

Many autistics hate Christmas. It represents disorder, randomness, lack of clarity, too many different sensory experiences food, too many lights, too noisy, wrong TV programmes, new stuff turning up (what's wrong with the old stuff?) youngest-25-6 feet tall, beard, spent much of Christmas Day trying to rewrap his presents, putting them back in the sack and putting the sack outside, and when not doing that removing the santa claus bubble bath from the bathroom and hiding it because it wasn't, in his eyes, welcome. My eldest is 27,6 foot tall, beard, chose to ignore the whole palaver altogether simply ignoring his presents altogether preferring to play age-inappropriate games on his pad all day, and eating his usual classic autistic 'brown food diet' of bread-based products, cheese-based products, pasta, and passata and tomato ketchup, whilst insisting on watching his favourite 7 episode DVD of Thomas the Tank Engine over...and over...and over again...

As for me...I got COVID so basically slept through it Dad got a book of maps of England through the ages that should keep him happy until his 86th birthday in May.
I don't know what I am really trying to prove with all this as everybody else's normal is different but yes just be a bit more tolerant of those who love/hate/are indifferent and remember that that big fella over there eating a cheese pizza for his Christmas dinner is enjoying it just as much as you're enjoying turkey with all the trimmings :-) 

My Albums of the Year
LPs of the Year

Waltz of the Weekend-Soft Hearted Scientists
Welsh psyche monsters return after a 7-year break with an astonishing 80-minute behemoth of an album that is being re-released in an expanded form by Fruits de Mer in February. Natan Hall, their chief songwriter is an astonishing and much under-the-radar songwriter who has been putting out consistently great music since his teens in the early 80s and still, he does it, and he still keeps raising his very high bar.CDs can be found on Bandcamp,you can listen to it on all the usual streaming services,and, as I mentioned, there's an even longer version due on FdM.

Knower Forever-Knower
Far too clever for their own good, Louis Cole and Genevieve Artadi plus a whole host of collaborators released an absolute corker of an album in the summer but only on Bandcamp before finally giving it over to the streamers a few weeks ago. As with anything involving Cole and Artadi its all over the place-orchestra soundtracked monologues, bouncy funk, Broadway show tune, something that sounds like Clowncore(check them out on YouTube) with more tuneful vocals, guitar shredding...and so on. A typical Knower record really.

Me Chama De Gato Que Eu Sou Sua-Ana Frango Eletrico
2023 has been a tremendous year for Brazilian music but the latest by 25-year-old Ana Frango really stood out. Referencing everybody from Mac Demarco,via Arthur Verocai, Stereolab, and The Bush Tetras with lyrics, often in English.  It really the most entertaining exploration of gender identity, queer love, and being non-binary you could ever have. Available on Mr Bongo Records and all the usual streaming services.
I Inside the Old Year Dying-PJ Harvey
An album in a dream if ever there was one. A few years back when Harvey's epic poem Orlam was published Frank Skinner,in a Q&A with her at The Hay Festival asked her Orlam lent itself to being put to music. She said she'd like it to be but not by her because she wanted it to take on a life of its own....anyway she obviously did a sharp about-turn as here is the soundtrack to her book. Thankfully it lacks the Patti light songs, but also the more wifully obscure signatures she sometimes resorts to leaving us with a hum,an atmosphere,a dream of an album. songs melt into one another, end too soon, and go off on tangents but it all makes sense. I often think that Harvey has kept herself on a very tight lead for 30 or more years both on record and live however this record feels like shes starting to loosen her grip, if only a little. 

DJ Fuzzyfelt

DJ Fuzzyfelt is a part time intinerant farm worker, sharing their time between Portugal and Wales where there is a lot of farm work... Lover of music, megaliths, and magick.

about DJ Fuzzyfelt »»

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