As the world becomes ever more divided and fractious there are few things left that can truly be said to be universal; the need to breathe and frequently consume nutrients; an increasing disdain for the ouevre of Johnny Depp as we learn more about his personal life and, an unfailing willingness to tune into The Late Late Toy Show every year. It consistently tops the list as Ireland's most watched televised event each year. We are gluttons for watching middle-aged RTÉ presenters in Christmas jumpers awkwardly negotiate the fine line between subtly and playfully mocking children on national television in a way that is enjoyable for all, and genuinely humiliating children on national television in a way that results in national disgrace. It is our life-blood, what we live for. Indeed it is such an institution that it has a genuinely bizarre and upsetting effect on something far seedier.
All that is to say that we are fast approaching the time when it becomes inevitable that our collective national attention will become narrowly-focused, to a laser-beam-like intensity, on the singular point that is The Late Late Toy Show. It is on the horizon. It is coming to the time when the RTÉ clothing department will start to turn their attentions toward the acquisition of as many embarrassing novelty Christmas jumpers as their budget will allow. It is coming to the time when Ryan Tubridy will be contractually obliged to attend singing and choreography lessons so that he may, with as much dignity as he can muster, stoically plough through performing a Disney musical number while dressed as an alpaca or some such.
RTÉ have officially thrown open the - metaphorical - flood gates for ticket applications. Given that there were approximately 100,000 applicants for tickets last year, you stand - based on various lifestyle factors - either more likely, or far more likely, to contract chlamydia than you are to get a ticket. Though that is not to say that you should not try your damnedest to get one - a ticket.
This year's Late Late Toy Show will take place on Friday, 29 November. Should you wish to apply, simply click here and comply with whatever requests for personal data required of you by RTÉ.