INFOGRAPHIC: Finding Festive Colnbrook!
Aiming for a chavtastic lights extravaganza to highlight the class struggle this year? Or do you prefer something a little lower key and middle class when it comes to your festive lights? Following a recent “academic” report on the true meaning of Christmas lights we’ve taken to the mean streets of Colnbrook to find out where the best (and the worst) illuminations are to be found in the parish this Christmas.
The Times last week reported an academic study that suggested homes lit up with ‘Christmas bling’ are an “expression of community solidarity, not working-class tackiness”. Les Back, a professor of sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, challenges the view that over-the-top Christmas displays are evidence of tackiness or lack of sophistication.
On the contrary, he says. Following a study of an extravagant display at a council home in Croydon the academic concluded that such displays provide “a hope that is cast against the darkness of a society where class divisions are deepening and where a generation is being cheated of the prospect of an affordable home.”
Festive excess in matters of decoration mark out working-class homes for middle-class disgust and stigma.
“Tosh”, readers commented about the research – along with other less choice remarks. If we’re being told that festive over-the-topness is a working class thing there is little evidence locally to bear that out. In our quest for this year’s best festive displays affluence appeared to make little difference (according to Slough’s scarily named ‘index of deprivation’).
So what did we find?
The Parish Council as usual has done a sterling job of bringing some festive cheer to the area with three Christmas Trees as well as lamppost illuminations through the High Street and Park Street. But what about the residents?
If parts of the parish are somewhat subdued this year, some streets have laid on some amazing displays.
Other than those provided by the Parish Council you will be struggling to find any Christmas lights on the High Street, and many of the streets around central Colnbrook, which all remain unseasonably dark. A lone Christmas Tree sits outside a house in Vicarage Way, willing others to join in.
But cross Colnbrook Bridge into Poyle and there is a different story with several streets in competition for the prize for the most elaborate decorations. Is there more community spirit in Poyle?
Albany Park, worst hit of all by the floods in 2014, shows it has not lost its festive spirit; with several dazzling front garden displays. Around Fawsley, Myrtle and Laurel Closes you will find a similar theme with residents clearly having gone to great efforts – and, dare we suggest it, enjoying some competition. In Raymond Close, too, residents have got into the spirt of things with most of Grundon’s spare capacity clearly staying local.
A similar healthy rivalry appears to exist at the easternmost edge of the village, alongside the Bath Road and Elbow Meadow where you’ll find the most homes lit up in a single street.
But the prize for the most elaborate display this year has to go to Torridge Road on the Westfield estate where this wall of light can be seen from Sutton Lane. Well done there!
And what about the business community? Again, something of extremes. Poyle Trading Estate has not acknowledged it is Christmas. Neither, externally at least, have any of the hotels and few of the pubs. Saints Transport have, once again, laid on something akin to Piccadilly Circus which no motorway user could fail to have noticed.