“We’re walking in the air!”

Raymond Briggs (18/1/1934 – 9/8/2022) was a multi-award winning author and cartoonist. The Snowman and Father Christmas have long been his well-known creations. When the Wind Blows and Fungus the Bogeyman are two lesser celebrated pieces of brilliance. The artwork by Briggs has often appeared grainy and drained of brightness, yet his style has been both eye-catching and bold.

“Books are not missiles, you don’t aim them at anybody.” – Raymond Briggs

Raymond Briggs created an arsenal of characters, both loveable and relatable. His touch of magic in their stories shines as an inspiration to readers and writers alike. Powerful messages and gentle love whistled from the pages. The 1982 adaptation of The Snowman has been an iconic piece of animation that has blessed many children over the years. The introduction by David Bowie and the soundtrack are equally iconic.

“The UK is struck by a devastating nuclear attack. Cities and communication systems are destroyed, roads melted, the earth and air poisoned and ravaged. All seen through the eyes of Mr and Mrs Bloggs living alone in the countryside, who are a bit peeved the milkman hasn’t came yet.” – When The Wind Blows, Raymond Briggs

Passing away at 88 years of age, the widower Raymond Briggs CBE leaves behind no children. He does however leave behind dreams and magic that few authors have matched. Those dreamy pencil colours that delivered sadness and hope will hopefully be visited and revisited by generation after generation at storytime.

““I don’t think about what children want. You get an idea and you just do it.” – Raymond Briggs, BBC interview 2017.

Raymond Briggs (18/1/1934 – 9/8/2022)

圣诞节快乐 ( Shèngdàn jié kuàilè / Merry Christmas ) Christmas in China#4

2014: 圣诞节快乐 ( Shèngdàn jié kuàilè / Merry Christmas )
2015: Shèng dàn kuài lè [MERRY CHRISTMAS] 圣诞快乐
2016: 我永远不会放弃 (wǒ yǒngyuǎn bú huì fàngqì [I will never give up!]

你好/ Ní hǎo / Nín hǎo / Hello / How do,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The yuletide arrived upon us, beating down on us like the summer sun on exposed earth. The relentless flow of festive cheer and cash registers slamming shut full of your hard-earned dough began and flashed by. Santa bar crawls, logo-covered bunting, and piss-poor parodies of Frostie The Snowman were go, go go. Repeated movies, dusty and scratchy Christmas songs and badly replicated versions of last year’s over-priced toy sat side-by-side with tinsel so dusty that it could line a funeral procession and not look out of place.

In some cities, villages and places around the world, there was loneliness and feelings of being so lost, poor, destitute or sad. It shouldn’t have to be this way. Jerusalem was unified and completely calm. So, we as people must also put aside differences and make those who feel alone, feel part of something bigger. Christmas 2017 was my fourth Christmas in China. I vowed last Christmas (2016) to go home, to Blighty. For reasons, visa-related and the like, that wasn’t likely to happen. It won’t be like this in 2018. I don’t feel that bad about being away from family at this most festive time. I hope that they can understand me. I hope they don’t think that I don’t want to leave gifts under Christmas trees or fill their Christmas stockings with a little thank you for their wonderful warm natures (Well, mostly! You know who you are!). I wouldn’t mind a Christmas tipple with my family-folk, but it wasn’t to be this year. Instead we can share one on the next occasion.

This Christmas, I made a charitable donation to a good cause and that was my main gift I gave, save for stockpiling thoughtful things to deliver to family and friends.

Anyway, I waffled on, I don’t have purpose to this blog post, aside from wishing everyone a late happy Christmas and a wonderful new year. Tomorrow is another day. I hope it brings joy and smiles for you and your family.

Christmas Eve was spent in Shenzhen watching the Hollywood Movie Orchestra perform themes such as Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, a James Bond medly, Somewhere In Time, Superman, Harry Potter, The Lord Of The Rings, and so many more great movements. I shed tears in the themes of Schindler’s List and Forrest Gump. They have always pulled on my heartstrings, just like E.T. and Bambi. It is mostly sentimental but always reminds me of how lucky I am. I feel really fecking lucky. At times, I have felt low, then I dig up a wonderful memory and all is good again. Lately, in periods of deep relaxation (sat reading The Fortress by Andy McNab, or during an Ox-horn massage etc) I have dug up some memories that may have slipped away for far too long. I think my 2018 resoultion is to write more. So, in January, I will write about my history, a kind of release of warts and all, with some love and hugs along the way. This isn’t showing off. I really like writing and there is no vanity intended. Each month I’ll slap some words on a palette and call it writing. A thematic bubbling pot of pish.

January: The Life of John

February: Manchester [Our City]

March: My favourite writers [musicians, journalists, authors and more]

April: Ambition.

May: MCFC, Okay.

June: The U.K.

July: Cycling.

August: The family tree.

September: Music.

October: Travels.

November: Movies.

December: Happy holidays.

To be continued…

再见/ Zài jiàn / Bài bài / Ta’ra / Goodbye