Advent song for December 5: I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day

OK, not all of them are better than the originals. But what this effort lacks in musical brilliance, it makes up for in oddity value. You may remember – I don’t – a reality TV show from about ten years ago which reunited UK (and, I think, B*witched, and incidentally I am a big fan of unexpected punctuation in band names, from Hear’Say to Therapy? to Panic! At The Disco) bands of the nineties and early aughts in an attempt to, I think, record a charity single. But maybe they all had to live in the same house while they did it? It’s hard to work out from the limited accounts that survive, which I have decided is probably for the best.

There is, though, indisputably a single, and this is it. You will want to watch at least up to and including the rap by Abs from 5ive, who by this time should perhaps have been renamed 4our (unless it’s Ritchie, I can’t remember which is which and have not the faintest intention of checking).

Advent song for December 4: Fairytale of New York

Today is the day all my school friends come for a Christmas party (these days with various hangers-on), and you join me as I’m tasting the mulled wine (needs more sugar) and checking the sausage rolls (five more minutes). So of course it has to be this song, which I associate with them more than anyone else. I usually use the 1992 TOTP appearance where Kirsty edits out the contentious word, but in this even more wholesome version by Jimmy Fallon (sounding so extraordinarily like Shane MacGowan that I had to check) and Saoirse Ronan (sounding exactly like Saoirse Ronan) they get around it by leaving out that line altogether, which now I think about it is an even better idea, because although it’s a good song, I’m also kind of fine with it ending a bit sooner than it usually does.

Advent song for December 19: Little Town

You thought Mistletoe and Wine was going to make yet another appearance this year, didn’t you? And it will, but only in a supporting role, as for Cliffmas this year we are going back to the good end of the eighties, musically speaking, with the fabulous Little Town. If you’re my age this may not have the nostalgic heft of its more successful younger brother (which is here, if you’d like a go on it anyway, and I saved Cliff for Sunday to give you time to listen to them both), but it’s a gorgeous track in its own right and should have done better than peaking at number 11 in the UK chart, especially in a year when Renee and Renato were number one.

Advent song for December 18: Fairytale of New York

I never used to like this song, because I have an instinctive aversion to things which other people think are cool (I would make a terrible hipster), and because I agreed with all of this article, but then I found this 1992 TOTP version where they’ve already, almost thirty years ago, changed the words, which makes Laurence Fox’s characteristically ill-thought-through and petulant outburst and the Pogues’ response on Twitter this time last year even more delicious:

I feel as though we’ve heard less from Laurence Fox since then, which is nice. And in my middle age I have changed my mind about the song, too, as long as we sing the updated version.

Advent song for December 16: Stop The Cavalry

This is a much jauntier seasonal “soldiers missing their loved ones” song than I’ll Be Home For Christmas (are there any other examples?). I think I’d probably listened to it about a hundred times before I noticed the lyrics are quite sad. But you can’t argue with that cymbal clash at 01.44, rivalled in its dramatic brilliance only (and barely) by Ringo’s boom, ba-doom, badoom-ba-doom-doom on He blew his mind out in a car (which is a weird lyric itself, now that I think about it).

Happy Thursday!

Advent song for December 14: Thank God It’s Christmas

I’ve turned around on Queen over the years. I used to think their songs were dreary middle-of-the-road plodding, which I think is more to do with the kind of people who deliberately listen to Queen albums (sorry if that’s you) rather than their music. (Also, I wasn’t always sure, as a child, which was Queen and which was Status Quo.) After a while, having heard more of their songs, I used to say “I don’t like Queen except Bohemian Rhapsody and Don’t Stop Me Now“, and then the list of songs I liked got gradually longer until it was faster to list the songs I didn’t like and now I can just say “I like Queen except for We Will Rock You and Another One Bites The Dust.” Which is no quicker to say, but has the advantage of making me sound less of an asshole.

Anyway. Thank god it’s Christmas indeed. I have six working days left before Christmas and I’m feeling every single one of them.