John Derbyshire Is Home For Christmas!—And Podcasting, Against Rosie’s Advice
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Earlier: Derb’s Disastrous December—A Sick Note For The Missing Podcast and Derb’s Disastrous December Continues

[Adapted From Radio Derb, which will be posted later tonight]

And Radio Derb is on the air! [And on pixel here!] Greetings, listeners, from your domestically genial ho-ho-host John Derbyshire this Friday evening, December 22nd, 2023.

This week’s podcast is in the nature of a placeholder, a complete departure from our usual format. In the matter of compiling a regular full-length podcast, the fates have conspired against me this week. However, I could not let the occasion go by without wishing Merry Christmas to Radio Derb listeners; so here is the result.

First, a few more bars from Bing. ”I’ll be home for Christmas.”

One of Noël Coward’s characters remarks ”It’s extraordinary how potent cheap music is.”  That little old Bing Crosby Christmas ditty is working its potency on me right now.

I’ve spent most of the last six days—Sunday morning through Friday afternoon—in a hospital bed.

I got discharged today, Friday, at 4:30 pm. I am home for Christmas.

I’ll put some details about the cause of my confinement in my monthly Diary. But hospital isn’t where you want to be the week before Christmas.

Now I’m home—Hallelujah!

[Brief clipHallelujah Chorus] …

All right, let’s not go overboard here.

Yes, home for Christmas. Physically speaking, home is this 3-bedroom family house on a sixth of an acre in the outer-outer suburbs of New York City. It’s a bit decrepit, nearly 100 years old. In fact it’s a Coolidge house, built in 1927 when Silent Cal was in the White House.

We’ve lived here for 31 years, raised two kids to adulthood, have two sweet loving dogs buried in the backyard, and the old maple tree boasts a tree house that I built myself. We know every inch of this house, every nook and corner. It’s home.

And it’s Christmas. The kids will come to join us at some point, with baby grandson Michael. We shall sit around the fire together opening presents, trading family memories and wisecracks, eating Christmas treats, and watching corny Christmas shows on TV.

I’m lucky, I know. I give proper reverent thanks for my blessings. Some of you won’t be home for Christmas.

You may be stuck in hospital. You may be at work away from home. You may be in military service or law enforcement. You may be one of those Border Patrol agents working double overtime to usher illegal aliens into our country. You may be one of Comrade Garland’s political prisoners in a D.C. jail cell for showing up three years ago to protest a dubious election…

Whatever: at home for Christmas or not, I hope that either this or some future Christmas you’ll experience the joy that I’m looking forward to this weekend.

I’m afraid that’s all I can manage. As I said, a place-holder. There is, though, a signoff. Of course there is!

Instead of more Christmas music, I’ll sign off with a Christmas poem.

The poet is an old favorite of mine: the British—very British—John Betjeman. The reader is the late Nigel Hawthorne, another Brit, whom you may remember as Sir Humphrey Appleby in the great political Britcom Yes, Minister.

There will be a proper Radio Derb next week. In the meantime, a very Merry Christmas! to all listeners.

Music clip: Nigel Hawthorne reading John Betjeman’s Christmas.

[audio id=”1083”]


The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
’The church looks nice’ on Christmas Day.

Provincial Public Houses [= bars] blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says ’Merry Christmas to you all’.

And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children’s hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say ’Come!’
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

And is it true?  And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,
A Baby in an ox’s stall?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me?

And is it true?  For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine. note: Many thanks to the readers/ listeners who have rallied (tax-deductibly) to John Derbyshire’s support. editor Peter Brimelow explains here how to specifically earmark the donation for Derb.


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