Saturday 25 July 2015

Festive Q&A with Laura Salters!

Your best, and worst, Christmas present?

Okay, my best AND worst Christmas presents were actually the same gift, and I was not the recipient. I know, I know, but bear with me here.

So when I was younger, my mother had this whole persona for our dog. She actually spoke to us as the dog more than she did as our mother. He had this whole life and all these friends (for example a bulldog named Barbie and a poodle named Butch) and he went on day trips on the bus while we were at school and always came home with leaflets in his rucksack. To you, reading this now, it may seem quite obvious that my mother was bullshitting me and my brother, Jack, but we were kids. Or, you know...teenagers. Moving on.

One year, my “dog” decided he wanted three goldfish for Christmas. And he would call them Little Laura, Little Jack and Spare. (In hindsight it’s possible my mother was taking narcotics on a regular basis.) Of course, after much hysteria spanning from late September until Christmas Eve, my mother had left Santa no option but to produce the goods. So we woke up on Christmas morning and, sure enough, there was a goldfish bowl containing three fish sitting next to my (rather bemused) dog’s bed.

We later learned that my mother bought the original fish three days before Christmas, and promptly killed them all with chlorine-infested water. And had to panic buy three more on Christmas Eve. I’m sure the cashier wondered why, not once but twice, a middle-aged woman came to the shop in the run-up to Christmas and bought three goldfish while also crying with laughter. But here I am, fifteen years later, telling you the story, so I suppose it was worth the effort.

What sits on top of your Christmas tree?

Honestly it’s just this strange metallic spike thing. I’m sure it has a proper name but it is downright weird, I tell you. But my mother insists. I guess it looks kind of like a silver church steeple. I know. My family is weird.

Favourite Christmas song?

Anyone who doesn’t say Fairytale of New York in response to this question is just lying to themselves. Every year my mother says, “Did you know she was killed by a speed boat?” She really was. Look it up.

Favourite Christmas movie?

Love Actually. I don’t think I’ve ever watched it and not been a hysterical mess afterwards. Although that might be the eight glasses of mulled wine I drink while annoyingly reciting all the lines before the actors do.

Favourite festive foodie treat?

Seriously, does anyone actually like Christmas pudding? It’s a boiled cake dowsed in alcohol and set on fire. And it has fruit in it. Let’s just think about how messed up this is for a moment.

No. It’s all about tins of Quality Street, Xmas tree chocolates and iced cookies. And Baileys.

The best part of Christmas is…

Watching my autistic puppy open his presents. I would make him do it every day if I could. I’m not trying to make a joke here. He actually is a dog with autism.

The worst part of Christmas is…

I don’t understand the question.

When do you do your Christmas shopping?

January, in the sales. Then I forget where I hid all the presents and have to do my Christmas shopping again on 23rd December.

Any Christmas Day traditions?

My mother wakes us up at around 6am because she’s been absolutely unable to sleep with excitement. She is nearly fifty and still does this. The champagne is open by 7am. We’re hammered by midday. And asleep by 3pm. But you know, tradition is tradition.

Book sat at the top of your Christmas in July wishlist?

I could list a hundred new titles here, but I know perfectly well I will have binge-bought them all by August. So I’m going to say a really nice new Harry Potter book set, because my originals are a bit manky and I’m missing at least four of them.

When did you find out Santa wasn’t real? Or is he real?

When I was six (around the same time my mother was out buying goldfish for the dog’s stocking filler), I jokingly (SERIOUSLY DAD I WAS JOKING) said to my father, “Dad, Santa’s not real, is he?” and he basically just said lol no. I’m still traumatised fifteen years later.

How would you spend your ideal Christmas?

I have this kind of lifetime dream of the perfect Christmas. Honestly, forget career stuff and money and fame and all of that. This is what I want most out of my life: I want to be in my seventies, sitting around a big table with a huge family I made. Shitloads of kids, and grandkids, and cousins and uncles and aunties and pets. And I want there to be laughter, and food, and Baileys, and I want to be telling all of them about how when I was six-years-old, my mother bought the dog three goldfish called Little Laura, Little Jack and Spare. And everyone would laugh, because even though it’s not even that funny, it’s family and it matters. And, whether she’s still with us or not, my mum will look on and be proud.


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