It may seem odd to a youngster but there once was a time when the Council did not put up lights and decorations for that consumer fest at the end of December. No, that particular madness started some twenty-five or thirty years or so ago after some shop keepers in Saville Street took it upon themselves to light up their street in mid December (J'accuse! ). The Council were then arm-twisted into putting up lights all over the town centre and to stick a tree in Queen Victoria Square. (One year the tree was so scrawny it had to swapped for a better one)
The lighting-up ceremeny became a bit of a feature with stars being hired to turn up on the City Hall balcony and flip a switch (Stars such as Rolf Harris!!! those were the days!). There'd be a big fireworks display as well. Thousands would turn up to be entertained. And gradually the switch-on date drifted into November.
With austerity the displays began to be recycled and the stars were replaced by much cheaper 'civic dignitaries' (I love that phrase, who uses it these days?).
This year on the 12th of November that is 6 weeks and a bit before the actual day the mayor of this town flipped the switch to set off a three minute firework display and light up all the glittery pap of the season. Now, as the town is engaged in self-renewal, the ceremony was moved to Queen's Gardens rose bowl fountain and there's four trees instead of one and the lights, I'm told are better than ever, (I've not seen them yet) and I'm just so excited I can hardly wait for Santa to bring me my presents as I've been such a good boy all year ... what! it can't still be November!