Monday, December 19, 2005

It's A Moo Point 2

I received an email the other day from a Shuggy Campbell of Polmontshire who typed, “Neil. As an expert in all things cultural and one of the great social commentators of our time, what’s your view on Christmas songs and also the use of the word ‘Xmas’?”.

First of all Shuggy, asking me to come up with two different opinions in the one day, albeit on related subjects, is something I usually save for long periods of unemployment filled with multiple afternoon naps. But since you ask, here goes.

Christmas songs – honestly, I can take them or leave them. Having not scrutinised the pop charts/hit parade for at least 15 years, I couldn’t tell you what “Christmas” songs have battled for the coveted No.1 spot in recent times. Like all other musical genres, very few are genuinely good, most are average but forgettable and the rest are dirge.

As for the so-called classics, rather than spend 20 paragraphs listing all the ones I despise (Slade, Wizard, Boney M, Jona Lewie etc.) let me tell you about the ones I like. In no particular order...

· All those Phil Spector-produced ones from the 60s.
· Anything by Frank, Nat, Bing etc.
· Any and every Christmas carol – best melodies ever written!
· John Lennon’s war effort just pips Paul McCartney’s jingly one on this occasion.
· Pogues & Kirsty Maccoll
· Simon & Garfunkel’s Silent Night – stunning!
(Even more stunning was a version of this I once saw on ‘TFI Friday’ performed by one of those colliery brass bands. Peerless. Apart from the version I once witnessed in the Sydney Harbour Opera House.)
· Mud – Lonely This Christmas
· The Eagles – Please Come Home For Christmas
· Brooooce – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.
· The Signals – We Wish You A Wombling Merry Christmas

…and at the risk of suffering utter humiliation…

· Cliff – Mistletoe and Wine
· Johnny Mathis – When A Child Is Born

If you play this latter one alongside Abba’s ‘Money, Money, Money’ and Showaddywaddy’s ‘Under The Moon of Love’, I’m instantly transported back to the 1st Year Christmas Disco in High School – that’s the one I DIDN’T get expelled from!

As for the use of the word ‘Xmas’, I used to try and avoid using it at all times because I believed it was yet another example of society’s headlong descent into cultural oblivion. But then I read something on another blog where someone made an argument that it was, in fact based on some long respected, historical throwback to a simpler age which was steeped in history and respect. So I changed my opinion to one of total ambivalence. Use it, don’t use it. As Frank McAvenie would say, it’s water off a duck’s shoulders to me.


At 19/12/05 8:31 pm, Blogger DC said...


Thanks for your thoughts on the above.

However I think you could have picked something from "James Brown's Funky Christmas" - a true classic.



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