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 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 22: [A version of] Fairytale of New York

So here’s the thing. This was on the list from the start, but although I love Kirsty (and she has an extra connection with Christmas in my mind, because my parents once spent Christmas morning with Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl, although I was too teenagedly grumpy to join them), I never used to love this song. I don’t know why: probably for the same reason I don’t much like Withnail And I and am ambivalent about seeing Hamilton next week, which is that when other people like something too much, it puts me right off.

Anyway, somehow over the years I got to like it a bit, maybe enough to not press “skip” when it came on, and since this year is about amazing singer-songwriters and Kirsty absolutely was one, it was an obvious pick for a late-December slot. And then a couple of days ago I saw these tweets from Justin Myers, aka The Guyliner:

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…and I thought, OH YEAH. You know when you realise something so blindingly obvious that you’re ashamed that it never occurred to you before? Well, THAT.

And it seems Kirsty felt the same way, because when she performed the song live in later years, she changed the words. So that’s the version we will listen to today, and I’m going back to hitting “skip” next time the original plays, because if 2017 has taught us anything it’s that the only way to combat inequality and injustice is to listen to the voices of those who are affected and change our behaviour accordingly. Also, look at Kirsty in her Christmas jumper and sunglasses and nineties hair! She’s so fricking awesome.

Advent song for December 10: Happy Christmas, Ursula!

A number of people nominated this song, but Ursula got in first, which is handy because there are so many good things about Ursula that the only problem is knowing where to start. Or it would have been, except when I got in last night I saw a Facebook update from Ursula saying that she’s been offered a job she was after, so this is now a Happy New Job post as well as a Happy Christmas post.

Ursula is one of those rare people who is completely capable and sensible – you’d definitely put her in charge of things, if you needed someone to be in charge of things – but also very funny and lovely at the same time, and perfectly able to be silly when the occasion demands it (as, for example, in the photo of her family of six posing very solemnly for the camera, each – including the baby – wearing a false moustache).

Ursula and her family and especially her gorgeous children make me happy, and so does this song, so they’re a good match. Happy Christmas and happy new job, Usch!

Advent song for December 5

I thought you might be in the mood for something partyish on the first Saturday of the month, so here are Kirsty and the Pogues doing their thing. True story: two Christmasses ago my friend S managed, accidentally, to invoke a setting on her phone which played “A Fairytale of New York” over the top of her recorded answerphone message, so that anyone who tried to call her had to listen to Shane wailing in the background while they waited to leave voicemail. It was all very odd.