Advent song for December 21: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Welcome to Wednesday 21 December 2022, the day I heard the actual worst Christmas cover version I’ve ever encountered: Kelly Clarkson (whom I normally like well enough)’s horrible jazz rendition of Last Christmas. I’m not linking to it; if you want to hear it you can seek it out for yourself. (You don’t want to hear it.)

Luckily I can bleach my ears of the memory with this: a fantastic cover of Darlene Love’s 1963 hit by Queen Christmas herself, Mariah Carey, which benefits from an authentic Wall Of Sound without the involvement of Phil Actual Murderer Spector, and should therefore be listened to in lieu of the original where possible, although I did discover today that one of the backing vocalists on the original is Cher, which sort of makes me want to go back and listen. I won’t, though. (I will.)

Advent song for December 2: All I Want For Christmas Is You

CeeLo Green could sing almost anything and I’d like it, because he has the voice of an angel, but he had the Christmas Eve spot the year we had twenty four different versions of White Christmas (of which more to come), so this year I’m giving him a nice early slot. Do you know that both this and Last Christmas were once, before I knew better, among my least favourite Christmas songs? I don’t know what was wrong with me, but at least I grew out of it.

Advent activity #16

If you didn’t get a chance to MAKE UP NICE STORIES yesterday, don’t worry because today you get to DRAW NICE PICTURES. Or, if you’re not in the mood for that, you can instead look at nice pictures from three of my favourite Twitter art accounts:

Tiggy Chadwick draws and paints to order, as well as her own fabulous stuff, and has an Etsy shop here

Patrick Onyekwere draws stunning portraits in biro

My old university mucker Ella Johnston is a magpie, creating art inspired by everything from birds to rice paper (she is the only artist whose work features three separate times on my walls), and has a whole website here which you should also visit on your afternoon coffee break.

The closest I have come today to making a nice picture is spilling some pink nail polish on my leggings, resulting in an interesting tie-dye effect, but again, if you are six or thereabouts I think you should go right ahead and make a nice picture of your own.

I can’t think of a song which is even slightly related to making pictures, but I am Christmas Zooming with my schoolfriends this evening even though we have all admitted to being slightly too tired and stressed for it. So to cheer them, me and you up, here’s Mariah.

Advent song for December 18: Happy Christmas, Verena!

Do you have a former flatmate who was your best friend, who liked the same stuff as you, introduced you to new stuff that you loved, picked up the pieces when your life fell apart and was always available for a cigarette or a rant if you needed either, even in the middle of the night? I, fortunate woman that I am, have lived with two perfect flatmates. They are both called Martin and I would live with both of them again in a heartbeat, were I living in a commune, which at present I am not.

But that’s OK because both of them let me visit from time to time. Before Sweeney – which is what we call the second Martin for reasons none of us seems to know – met Verena, we used to meet in pubs. But now they live in a beautiful flat and they lay on lavish parties and give people vast amounts of food and booze, because Verena is an exceptionally accomplished hostess, as well as being charming, funny and very elegant. So three cheers for Verena, both the Martins and everyone else who somehow became a grown-up without me noticing.

Happy Christmas, Verena!

Advent song for December 23

This is the only Christmas song released during my record-buying lifetime which sounds like an instant Christmas classic; as though you must have heard it before, probably performed by Brenda Lee or the Rockettes. But no: it’s just a properly good Christmas song from Mariah Carey.

(Actually it’s not the only one – Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End), which we had last year, is an utterly authentic glam rock Christmas hit.)