It’s around this time of year (after Halloween and Guy Fawkes are out of the way) when I usually start to plan my musical advent calendar*. I list possible songs, and listen to them over and over and decide what will go where and, especially, what will go last, because while I can get away with having some filler at the beginning of the month, the last few songs, and the Christmas Eve song most of all, obviously have to be killers. I watch different versions of videos and listen to different recordings and all in all, put in a large amount of effort in order to do justice to the year’s theme.
And here, reader, is where I have come unstuck! I can’t think of a theme for advent 2015. These are the themes we have already had:
- 2008: My favourite Christmas songs (I hadn’t decided, at that point, that this would be a Thing.)
- 2009: More of my favourite Christmas songs (Clearly I had decided it would be a Thing, but I still wasn’t planning ahead.)
- 2010: Christmas number ones (This was the year I realised I needed a theme.)
- 2011: I asked my Facebook and Twitter friends to pick the songs, then wrote about the people, rather than the music.
- 2012: Christmas songs from around the world (My secret favourite.)
- 2013: Twenty-four different versions of White Christmas (My other secret favourite.)
- 2014: Sad Christmas (Although that was quite awesome too.)
…and here are the themes I have considered and rejected for 2015 so far:
- My favourite Christmas carols
- A Country and Western Christmas
- Crooners at Christmas
- Twenty four Christmas songs by the same artist (There are only a few people this could be, and none of them is exciting enough to pull off a whole advent unaccompanied.)
The years I liked best were the years when I had to do some research, and ended up listening to songs I’d never heard before. So I would like another theme that I will have to work at a little bit. Please send me your suggestions, here, via Twitter or Facebook or email, or even in real life. Whoever provides me with a winner will get a special prize and my undying affection.
*I am aware that I haven’t written anything since the last advent calendar, but that will All Change in 2016, for sure!
Spare a thought for the one person who isn’t on holiday tonight. Merry Christmas!
For the second Christmas in a row, the best city in the world has been blindsided by an incomprehensible event. Love to Glasgow and everyone who loves it and its amazing people. The original lyrics to this song included the lines “Have yourself a merry little Christmas/It may be your last/Next year we may all be living in the past” but the slightly more hopeful version made it into Meet Me In St Louis, for which we can all be grateful. This is the last of the sad songs, but it’s super-sad and I give you permission to have a big old sob along to it. Tomorrow we cheer up again; until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow.
I don’t know whether this is as tragic as yesterday’s song, and even if it is it has a Love, Actually-ish sense of manipulation that prevents it from feeling raw and makes it, instead, mawkish. And if there’s a time for being mawkish, it’s Christmastide! And take heart, because it all gets easier from here.
Today’s song is late, which is good because it may be the most tragic one yet, and I don’t want to ruin anyone’s Sunday. This song is the one I couldn’t post on Friday, because it was Faye’s birthday and she has a brother called Jim, and I didn’t want to be responsible for a drop in team productivity by sending her home in tears. Maybe listen to this one with nobody else around.
Yes! Two songs today, because they go well together and because I had one too many. First one you’ll know: Simon and Garfunkel’s Silent Night/7 O’Clock News, which is no less tough a listen now than it was in 1966, and secondly Nina Simon’s gorgeous Little Girl Blue, and if you listen closely you’ll spot the common theme.
I had a different song scheduled for today, but it’s my colleague’s birthday and for reasons which will become apparent early next week if I tell you that her brother is called Jim, I decided I needed a last-minute replacement, which fortunately the same colleague provided by sending me a link to this, which I’ve never heard before and like a lot. So thank you Faye, and happy birthday to you.
I need you to start preparing for the real tear-jerkers now. What could be more Christmassy than sad country music? Nothing, that’s what. Here’s Loretta Lynn with the first in a series of songs to break your heart. Don’t worry, it gets better by Christmas Eve.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a little bit of Bing, would it? There’s only one sad line, but it’s a zinger.
Even Elvis doesn’t really think this is a sad song, as you can see in this live recording from his 1968 Comeback Special. My favourite thing about this video is the fact that the fans are all about eight inches from the King, and the stage looks like one somebody has jerryrigged for a school concert. That’s two favourite things, isn’t it? You see, I have a mince pie and a cup of tea so I’m incapable of bringing you the requisite amount of sadness. Don’t worry: as you know, there’s plenty to come.