Those who know me know I am not a great fan of the ‘season’. I react badly to being told what to do. I detest enforced jollity. I can’t stand the festive messaging that is driven to fever pitch with recycled TV programmes, regurgitated as nostalgia, while the ‘civilised’ world prepares itself for the outrageous excess that is Christmas. Though, there are a few things I do enjoy during the weeks of ‘traditional’ build up to overcooked turkey and drunken arguing with the relatives.
One of the rare positive interludes on this downward spiral is the time in late September or early October when the Wife begins preparation of the Christmas Cake. I’m not going to post a recipe here. It’s too late. If you haven’t got it prepared and maturing for the past couple of months, there’s no point in starting now. If you do decide to cook one now, you’ll find yourself eating Christmas cake right in the middle of the February guilt and depression, brought on by your festive profligacy and overindulgence.
I’m not a total Christmas grinch. For my part, I will prepare something delicious for the small band that will gather at our house on Christmas Day. When the presents and memories have been swapped, I will cut a slice or three of the cake, pour a generous glass of brandy and relax, listening to anything EXCEPT Christmas Music.
Side note on Christmas Music: One of the most abhorrent aspects of Christmas is (most of) the fever inducing outpourings to which we are subjected annually. By my reckoning, some of the the all-time worst and most vomit inducing Christmas songs are:
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard
When I was a young ‘un, Roy Wood amazed us with his remarkable, unique brand of rock and roll. I even owned his seminal “Introducing Eddie and the Falcons”, released in 1974. He had snuck out this dirge in 1973 and over the ensuing years, has turned a great fan into a Wizzard hater.
Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms
Bobby Freaking Who? He crawled out of some 1950’s gramophone with this puke maker and has been damaging eustachian tubes ever since.
Slade – Merry Christmas Everybody
Slayed would have delivered a better outcome. The bit where Noddy Holder squawks “IT’S CHRISTMASSSSSSSSSSSSS” makes me shudder and wish for mid January.
The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl – Fairytale Of New York
Not withstanding the fact that Shane McGowan and I share a chiropractor, I can not abide this drunken schmaltz. Having it played dozens of times a day on every radio station in christendom makes it wear very thin for me.
Wham – Last Christmas You Gave Me My Heart
Heartburn more like. Could somebody somewhere please write something new. Just because you do something over and over again every year does not make it a tradition.
Not every festive tune makes me want to lobotomise myself. Pass me my cake. Pass me my brandy. Turn the radio off. I might just listen to Chris Rea with his Driving Home For Christmas. I am a fan. I saw him play live in the National Stadium (a cramped, smelly, boxing arena on Dublin’s South Circular Road) about 25 years ago. It is one of the few evocative, gentle, festive tunes and is not as overplayed as some of the tripe above.