Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Simply Having A Wonderful Christmastime
Ok, so let's rewind a little. Yes, sure, I get stressed at Christmastime, and therefore lash out at the less favourable aspects of the season. But, let's face it, I love it. I really do. Even the daft stuff. Even the annoying songs. The delicious Turkey dinners. Egg nog. Those stupid Santa Hats (currently being modelled by Buffy in the corner of the Bandito Bunker). Everything.
And so, this being a blog that is more musical than almost anything else, it's time to do my current Top 5 Christmas records. And why not? Alright, not 'alf. (And I meant all time list, not just this year. But it's 'current' cos I always change my mind...)
5. Band Aid - 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' - The first bar just IS Christmas for my generation. Slightly perverse when you think about it, but that's the way it is!
4. The Ronnettes - 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus' - And the rest of Phil Spector's Christmas Album! Thom Yorke approved...
3. Jona Lewie - 'Stop The Cavalry' - Random, weird and wonderfully miserable. One of my Dad's favourites, too.
2. V/Vm - 'Merry Christmas Bastard' & 'Simply' - Well, it was getting a little predictable, really. And this is the sound of a lunatic taking a chainsaw to Shakin Stevens and Macca. Never a bad thing.
1. The Pretenders / Coldplay - '2000 Miles' - A perfect original, and a perfect cover version.
Yeah. There you go. What? What do you mean something's missing? Hmmm. Well, Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 'Power Of Love' is trotted out every year, simply by virtue of it having a ridiculously over the top nativity video. Which has nothing to do with the song, which in turn has nothing to do with Christmas. Wonderful though it is. And it really really is. (It was a Hidden Gem, don'tcha know...)
What? Another record? Sorry, what, did you just call me? A scumbag, a maggot and a cheap lousy faggot? Well, I never...
Yes, you are, of course, right. The best Christmas record ever is 'Fairytale of New York'. Hardly even worth writing that. It's obvious. It's a song you can play at the height of summer, and I'll still be blubbing. I have a very sad memory of Mark and Lard playing it on their afternoon show on Radio 1, after Kirsty MacColl's untimely death. I cried then, for the sadness of losing a wonderfully talented woman (If you can tell me a better song title than 'There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis' then you're a liar, and her reading of The Kinks' 'Days' surpasses even the original, to name but two of her greatest hits.) But 'Fairytale' has so much more to it than that.
The song, performed by Kirsty and the fantastic Pogues, speaks universal truths about Christmas and the closing of the year that are more than mere tinsel in the window and snow falling all around us. It's about confronting where your life is going, about realising just what is truly important, it's a glorious celebration of the romance of failure and the sad side of nostalgia. It's just reality, the real world we all live in, which is full of disappointment and sadness, but occasional moments of sheer euphoria. Like when the boys from the NYPD choir launch into 'Glory Be' on a perfect New York Christmas Eve. It's so timeless, it's almost impossible to think of Christmas without it. And the wonderful thing is, that although Kirsty is gone, I'll be playing this song every Christmas til the day I join her.
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