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A Very Indie Christmas
Christmas really starts the first time I hear this first song. However, I first heard this song at least two weeks ago which makes it November, so I’m not sure if that still counts (Christmas does seem to be getting earlier each year). Nevertheless, it’s like the bit where Noddy shouts “IT’S CHRIST-MAAASSSS” at the end of the song, when you know it’s finally almost properly with us. But for starters, here’s The Waitresses; Noddy will have his time soon.

Alas, there’s no video on YouTube, just loads of people covering it or doing bass covers. Close your eyes instead, let those jolly sleighbell sounds take you away….

Shonen Knife are obviously exempt from any bad Christmas cover versions, though happily wrote their own which was a Seminal Twang single way back in the nineties. No christmas is complete without ‘Space Christmas’. Ladies and gentleman, Japan’s ultra-ultra eccentric super cult punk pop band Shonen Knife!

The Dandy Warhols covered ‘Little Drummer Boy’ and it sounds exactly like you’d imagine it.

See? It’s very good isn’t it? I always want to pick up a tambourine when I listen to them.

Now, I think of the days when I went to the pub on Christmas Eve. More often than not I’d be in York, and we’d have been to the Theatre Royal Panto, thus was our tradition. We’d sit in the same pub afterwards, we’d buy a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale and someone would place their programme around it and we’d toast Berwick Kaler and comment on what a brilliant panto it was, and how it was yet again the same story as the previous year. (Berwick himself makes this gag all the way through) But yet we never had one particular song that commemorated that time – ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ was on, heck, I even remember ‘Boom Shake The Room’ (we were drunk), though there is one Christmas song which never fails to make me smile and reminds me of my old York Christmas Eve nights out… and that’s mainly because we’ve all been going for so long. Plus it always seems to be the first song I hear once settled in the pub. Slade, of course – the song that means Christmas is really here. ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’

This is an excellent song Rachel sent in our direction which has just been released to raise funds for Sense, the Deaf-Blind charity. It’s pretty rocking and I bought it from iTunes. It’s good, it’s different and it’s a good cause – it hasn’t been around long enough to be a classic, but that’s okay. (and if you like your retro toys then you need to watch the video too).

How about cooling down to a little Grandaddy? I first heard this on the ‘It’s a Cool Cool Christmas’ charity album released back in 2001ish. ‘Walking in an Alan Parsons Winter Wonderland’… where else will you build a snowman and pretend he’s Alan Parsons then, eh? You can feel that snow a-falling…. it’s nearly time to get those mittens on…

This is lovely. She & Him doing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ which is rather splendid. She & Him are M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel. This isn’t a party song, it’s an end of the evening curling up in the warm kind of song, I reckon. Doesn’t make it any less festive either. Swoon. (and if you really need to take it a bit up-tempo as you’re driving then how about ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside‘ instead?)

I quite fancy The Arcade Fire being not very serious for once. I do like them, I really do, but they are terribly serious. Although I bet even when they’re making songs like this they have very serious faces.

But now to the utterly ridiculous. I LOVE it. When the Cocteau Twins sung ‘Frosty The Snowman’ (and ‘Winter Wonderland’) all us fans wondered what the hell was going on. It was odd. It STILL is odd. It gets played in shops at Christmas. It’s lovely. It’s still VERY odd. I would have loved to see them recording this. I bet they didn’t have serious faces like The Arcade Fire. I bet they were dying inside – though I bet they’re kind of happy they’re not forgotten.

Badly Drawn Boy next. This sounds all festive. I’m starting to think my Christmas tunes may be a bit ‘down’. Anyway, this was on the ‘About A Boy’ soundtrack, and we released it at work in time for Christmas on a limited 7″ single. I sold loads via Mail Order and it kept me ridiculously busy. I love this song, even if it made me a bit tired.

Of course, Christmas isn’t Christmas without the Phil Spector Christmas Album. Here’s Darlene Love doing ‘Winter Wonderland’

Time to scoff a mince pie, I think and wrap a few presents…

Edited to add : Chuitar comes up trumps again. Every now and then a novelty York City song comes from the genius brain of Chuitar, and this year it’s festive. Christmas is definitely a time not to be too serious, and I applaud Chuitar for that (even if it isn’t as catchy as ‘City At Wembley’…)