Fairytale of New York

Well, it’s happened. I heard The Pogues on the radio. This is what I use to gauge when Christmas officially starts. Not only is it the best Christmas song ever, it’s the only one that I genuinely like, the only one that I can listen to every year, a hundred times, and not want to rip my own ears off.

It was swiftly followed by Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses and yes, the glorious mood it put me in was immediately slaughtered. If I’d had a hose I would probably have pulled the car over and attached it to the exhaust.

Why is most Christmas music so unbearably shit? Probably because it’s sentimental rubbish. Everyone’s happy, everyone loves each other, isn’t it glorious to be alive? No, it isn’t. There are things about Christmas I love – not working has to be a big one. Watching my daughter in carol concerts is superb, makes me cry every year pretty much. Watching her open presents is great, having a laugh with the missus is great. And then it all goes wrong when someone in the extended family kicks off over something. Happens practically every year. Even when it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter because we’ve all been sitting around tense, waiting for it, and that in itself usually ruins the day.

Maybe this is why I like the Pogues song so much. For the people in it, Christmas is a time to reflect on how disappointed they are in each other. Seems to me that a lot of the people around me use Christmas as a time to reflect on how disappointed they are that they don’t get exactly what they want. They build Christmas up into this idealised event and then moan when it never quite lives up to the perfection they foolishly imagined. See, my approach is much more satisfying: expect nothing and then be surprised and pleased by anything nice that does happen. (And, that way, I’m usually at least prepared for the annual shitstorm when it arrives).

This year, my missus is laid up with a broken coccyx after falling down the stairs. That probably sounds awful, and it is, but actually it means that we can’t do anything with the extended family. It’ll just be the two of us and our daughter. Which means it will probably be the most relaxed Christmas I’ve ever had. No arguments, no bullshit. Or, at least, the arguments and bullshit have all already happened. They’re already out of the way, a week early, so now I can relax – at least until 2012. So thank you to the DJ who played Fairytale of New York this morning. Looks like this year will be a good one. Now bring it on…

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4 thoughts on “Fairytale of New York

  1. James Everington December 19, 2011 / 8:22 pm

    It is a great, great song. Funnily enough I’ve just been making a playlist of Christmas-y songs to play on Christmas day (we are cooking for the folks this year!) so here are some other good ones:

    Christmas At The Zoo – Flaming Lips
    Christmas Is Going To The Dogs – Eels
    I Was Born On A Christmas Day – Saint Etienne
    The Christmas Song – The Raveonettes
    Just Like Christmas – Low
    Goodbye England (Covered In Snow) – Laura Marling
    Silent Snow – The Magic Theatre
    Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley (because some bastard cover version always ruins it every year!)

    • Neil Schiller December 20, 2011 / 3:16 pm

      James, found some other ones too. Some interesting traditional stuff done by different bands:

      Gabriel’s Message by Jars of Clay
      Oh Holy Night by Right Away, Great Captain!
      O Come, O Come Emmanuel by (bizarrely) Sixpence None the Richer

      Last one is a pretty dodgy band but actually a really interesting song…

      And how on earth could I forget the Tom Waits classic ‘Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis’?

  2. Neil Schiller December 19, 2011 / 10:43 pm

    Will have to check some of those out James. I’m trying to put together a playlist from iTunes myself for Christmas Eve. Was thinking of the Corpus Christi Carol by Buckley but it’s a bit classical sounding that one…

  3. James Everington December 20, 2011 / 8:43 pm

    Oh and check them out.

    Plus did you hear Dylan’s Christmas covers album from a few years ago? I love Dylan (even some of the stuff no one else knows/likes) but that was a bit…. hmmm. Some okay tracks though.

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