A festive and long overdue catch up with Castro.

This will be your first Christmas here - do you have any special plans?

Oh I’ll probably start the day with a few biscuits then check out the weather, make sure everything is cool on the territorial front, maybe harass a few rodents and then look for the warmest place to take a nap. Later on I’ll eat some meat and then, if the conditions are clement, night-time pursuits will ensue. 

Forgive me, but that sounds like your usual routine, isn’t that a little...er... disappointing for Christmas Day? 

On the contrary - if you look at it my way, every day is Christmas Day.

But do you get into the Christmas spirit?

Well, as you know, I like to swim with the tide - if things are swinging I can swing too, I’m not immune to the flood of communal joy you guys work so hard to conjure up at this time of year.

You sound a little cynical about it?

The opposite, I’m a terminal romantic, drowning in a sea of love, all day, every day. That much should be obvious. It follows that I don’t have dates in my diary marked “happiness”, but then, I don’t have a diary either.

Nevertheless, you star on the label of Wright’s “Red Rye Saison” Christmas beer in a Santa hat looking inebriated...

Well it may shock you to learn that’s not actually me, it’s a cartoon. What we have here is something that comes from a long tradition with a checkered past. Speciel* stereotyping can be as pernicious and lazy as any other type of labeling. On the other hand for every Tom, Sylvester, Scratchy or Stimpy there’s a Top Cat, Felix or a Cat in the Hat. I like to think I’m part of the latter tradition. Anyway I’m told it’s a pretty special beverage made by a Professor of History at Aberystwyth University - we’re not talking about your run of the mill beer here.

But you don’t drink it...

No - but then, Bob Dylan did an advert for Victoria’s Secret, do I have to paint you a picture?

I’d rather you didn’t. Do you have a favourite Christmas song?

So many - We Wish You A Reggae Christmas by Yellowman, It’s Cliched to be Cynical at Christmas by Half Man Half Biscuit, of course the aforementioned Dylan’s It Must Be Santa, Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) by The Ramones... and that one that goes:

Decorate the house with lights at night

Snow's on the ground, snow white so bright

In the fireplace is the yule log

Beneath the mistletoe as we drink egg nog

Perry Como?

Run D.M.C.

One last thing, I’m struggling for a New Year’s resolution - any suggestions?

Everyday, try and be a better cat.

Right, but I’m not a cat.

Maybe not, but the journey is the destination. Merry Christmas dude.

Merry Christmas Castro.

*a characteristic of, or pertaining to, a species