Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Finton’s Festive Faves

10) The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping
Annoyingly quirky number that’s on loads of compilations but no one knows what its name is. Daft yanks rattling on about nothing in particular from 1981. Shouldn’t be festive but it is.

9) The Pretenders – 2000 Miles
Vegan, animal rights size queen Chrissie Hynde takes time off from firebombing McDonalds to show her sensitive side. She’s moaning about some bloke who’s buggared off 2000 miles away ( wise man ) but reckons he’ll be back at Christmas. Yes luv. Of course he will…………Still, nice enough tune though.

8) Jona Lewie – Stop the Cavalry
Released in 1980 on the fiercely indie Stiff Records ( home to Elvis Costello & the infamous “If it ain’t Stiff, it ain't worth a f***” motto ), the Fred Harris lookalike went all Blackadder Goes Forth. Only just a Christmas tune but the brass band section & sleigh bells give it the bona fide yuletide stamp. That & star billing on the 1980 “Cheggers Plays Pop” Christmas special.

7) Mike Oldfield – In Dulci Jubilo
Traditional English ditty given an update by the quintessential 70’s synth lunatic. The kind of tune you could imagine being played as ruddy cheeked yokels & busty maidens frolicked on snowy village greens in days of yore. Now more likely to be battered by bearded real ale drinkers playing bodrums & penny whistles whilst paedophiles in arran sweaters nod approvingly.

6) Greg Lake – I believe in Father Christmas
Except he doesn’t really, if you listen to the lyrics. Instead, the colossus of navel gazing prefers to bleat on about being promised “snow this Christmas…..peace on earth” with a barely concealed level of cynicism even I’m shocked by. The video also has camels & explosions. Bizarre. The straight lift of Prokofiev’s “Lieutenant Kije” by Keith Emerson’s keyboard middle section rescues this prog navel gazer & propels it into the realms of a proper Christmas tune.

5) Wizzard – I wish it could be Christmas every day
Now we’re talking. The Phil Spector Wall of Sound with a Brummie accent. Ludicrous beards, stack heels, face paint & glitter stars. Team these with small children in snorkel parka’s playing pretend trumpets on TOTP & you can’t go wrong. Evocative of a time when we had proper weather & it snowed every Christmas ( except on Norley ).

4) Band Aid – Do they know its Christmas
Not the shite versions that have followed but the original & best from 1984. Kept both Wham & Frankie off number one. Proper pop stars as well. Where else would you get Boy George enjoying a chop & pop session with Francis Rossi & assorted members of Shalamar? Song itself was utter wank but this didn’t matter as these were less cynical times& it was all for charidee. Except no one told the Human League who famously decided to give it a miss…….

3) Wham – Last Christmas
Worthy of a mention purely for George’s highlighted bouffant & atrocious jumper, a sartorial faux pas from a man who sported a Fila BJ & Diadora Borg Elite in the Careless Whisper video only months earlier. A tale of unrequited love which, in hindsight, was probably directed towards Andrew Ridgeley. Wham made perfect pop. But this wasn’t it. Indeed, the B Side “Everything She Wants” ( a sublime slab of blue eyed soul ) pissed all over it. Still, it’s my chart & I’m including it for nostalgia alone. Kept off number one in 84 by Band Aid then in 85 by Whitney Houston before she became a crack whore.

2) Slade – Merry Xmas Everybody
File alongside Wizzard in the “PROPER Christmas record” file. First released in 1973, this homage to a working class Christmas charted 7 times in all. You can almost smell the Watneys as a magnificently sideboarded Neville Holder & the “Liberace of Glam” Dave Hill camp it up for the cameras & the disturbingly under age girls that seemed to make up the bulk of a 70's TOTP audience. They, as well as us, realise that by rights they should be hod carrying somewhere near Dudley instead of arseing about in platforms & tinfoil suits. Fuck the 3 day week……………….IT’S CHRISTMAAAAAAS!!!

1) Pogues & Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale of New York
No bigging up needed. It had Matt Dillon in the video & was cool as fuck. I defy anyone to hear the words “…..the boys of the NYPD choir still singing Galway Bay” without the hairs on the back of their neck standing up. Made even more poignant by the fact that Kirsty MacColl died on the 18th of December 2000. Inexplicably kept off number one by the Pet Shop Boys “Always on my mind” but pissed all over the abysmal “When I fall in love” by Newton le Willows’ finest Rick Astley.

Words by Finton “I Wish it could be Christmas everyday” Stack.

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