The German Market – an embarrassment to Brum

The similarities between me and the Baby Lord Jesus are not obvious.

But there’s one – we’re both jaundiced at Birmingham’s awful German Christmas Market.

Possibly the infant’s liverish hue in the market’s tacky nativity display has come about because he’s been necking back too much over-priced German lager or sickly glühwein or eating too many over-sweet confections.

My jaundice is simply down to the fact that this annual tat-fest has become an embarrassment to our city.

There’s nothing quite as likely to turn me into Ebenezer Scrooge than to walk through the crowded market in the run-up to Christmas.

Birmingham German Christmas Market

To see the garish and expensive trinkets on sale at the stalls.

To look at the pale flaccid sausages about to be consumed and suffer the sacchariferous aroma of the piles of biscuits, candies and other infantile “treats”.

To dodge the lairy part-time drunks who prove such an irritation to those of us who spend the whole year drinking recklessly but who know how to walk down the street without bumping into people or vomiting in the gutter.

To endure the appallingly festive music blaring out.

Birmingham German Christmas Market

This event is joyless, tired, clichéd, a celebration of the tackiest aspects of the festive season and has got no relevance to Birmingham.

Despite that, Birmingham City Council boasts on its website: “Each winter Birmingham city centre comes alive with the arrival of the German Market…”

Which suggests to me that the council thinks the city centre is dead the rest of the year.

That’s an insult to the brilliant businesses that make the city centre so vibrant the whole year round.

Birmingham German Christmas Market

Ah, the market’s supporters argue, but it boasts spending in the city.

Das ist nur scheiße.

People have a finite amount of money to spend and every pound they spend at the German market is a pound not spent at a local shop, bar, restaurant or cafe.

The ponderous and unimaginative nature of Birmingham’s current city council – a pale shadow of the dynamic administrations of previous generations that gave us free libraries, grand streets, the NEC and ICC – doesn’t inspire in me any confidence that things will change.

Birmingham German Christmas Market

But maybe that pessimism is misplaced and the council will in the future find a way to celebrate Christmas by profiling the creativity that exists in Birmingham.

We’ve got craftspeople, drink companies, bars, restaurants, street food traders, entertainers and makers, producers and growers of great food who could make the German Market a true Birmingham occasion.

Until then, I hope the Baby Lord Jesus overcomes his jaundice.

Birmingham German Christmas Market

I won’t be around to check his wellbeing because, between now and Christmas, I’ll be finding circuitous routes to avoid this grubby has-been of an event.

Those who don’t share my opinion might like to know that the the event runs until Sunday December 23.

Yo ho bloody ho.