Thursday, 20 December 2007

It's Chriiissstmasss!

Well, if it isn’t that time of year again, where does the time go? You know, the time when you can’t go anywhere or do anything away from your own home without being assaulted with ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ or ‘I Believe in Father Christmas’ blasting from every store, pub, petrol station or shopping mall via a speaker system so poor it makes dogs whine and horses bolt. It’s enough to send you bonkers.

Why is it that artists seem to take leave of their senses when it comes to Christmas? Too many good-idea-at-the-time inspirations at the alcohol fuelled office party seem to actually get made and released despite the moderating influence of the cold light of day. Bottom of the pile would be the Pogues and that dreadfully irritating ‘Fairytale of New York, (Kirsty, what WERE you thinking?!). And let’s not go anywhere near Sir Cliff in case you have to listen to ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ or ‘Saviour’s Day’ nor Kim Wilde (ditto ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’) unless you intend spending the afternoon lying down in a darkened room.

And on top of it all is Wizzard. Funnily enough, I noted recently that the MD for some big conglomerate was called Roy Wood. You can imagine what their board meetings must be like: ‘…and moving on to item 34(c) where I have proposed that it be deemed to be Christmas Everyday…all in favour?’

The worse thing about Christmas records is that they pitch up every year without fail to torment us. At least all other dodgy tunes do the decent thing and have their 15 minutes of fame before disappearing into history never to be heard again. Isn’t there a statute of limitations on this sort of stuff?

I suppose that if I were forced to have to pick one half decent festive tune in a spirit of goodwill to all men, it would be ‘Christmas Wrapping’ by that strange mixed gender post punk band, The Waitresses. It’s the Nile Rodgers style rhythm guitar, James Jamerson bass lines and the great story-telling vocal that really sells it to me. Sadly, Patty Donahue, their vocalist, died of lung cancer in December 1996, aged just 40 but her playful irreverence where a lyric was concerned made her a unique talent and ‘Christmas Wrapping’ usually puts a smile on my face, even after the 957th hearing.

Unfortunately, there is no video of The Waitresses doing ‘Christmas Wrapping’ on YouTube, but if you do a search there are some home videos to accompany it of varying degrees of watchability. Give it a try.

I’m signing off for the holidays, so Merry Christmas everyone! See you in the New Year with more thoughts of a music obsessive.

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