Sunday, December 23, 2012

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day

Oh dear, the Christmas arguments have already started, and we haven’t even stuffed the turkey yet. You see, my wife wants me to remove Slade and Wizzard from my Christmas compilation CD, which is a bit like asking me to remove all the Lennon-McCartney songs from my Beatles albums. Well, as my mate Meat would say, “No way…  I would do anything for love… Oh, I would do anything for love… Oh, I would do anything for love… But I won’t do that… No, I won’t do that.” (He goes on a bit, but he makes a good point.)

As I write these lines, I’m listening to The Three Tenors’ Christmas Album, which I’ve just downloaded from Amazon, my universal supplier, seller and all-round lifesaver. This was my first experience of downloading mp3s from Amazon and, as expected, was a complete nightmare. The most useful thing Dad ever taught us kids was, “Always expect a disaster. That way, any non-disaster will be a plus”. So true, and advice that I remember every morning when I get into what’s left of my car and ‘drive’ to work.

Anyway, this was one of those “disaster as expected” moments. Having taken my money, Amazon proceeded to force me to install their user-unfriendly Amazon mp3 Downloader, and then told me that they had my goods on hold in their Amazon Cloud, or whatever they call it, and would I like to download the legally purchased merchandise to my computer? “Er, yes please”, I replied, on which they invited me to install their superb Downloader a second time, and would I like to open their wonderful Cloud Player again just for the hell of it? “No, just give me my sodding songs, please”, I replied. After about 40 minutes, they observed, “It looks like you need help”, to which I replied, “What I need is—“ No, it’s probably best if I don’t tell you what I replied. Anyway, I eventually beat the system – simply keep clicking manically until something does the trick is my advice to you if you’re ever fool enough to download mp3s from Amazon.

Yes, but what about the album? Awful. The music is great – no bum notes yet –, but it’s really weird listening to two Spaniards and an Italian singing in English with a German accent. So, I’ve gone back to Meat Loaf. I’m currently listening to Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire. Bliss! And if I ever feel the urge to download mp3s again, I think I’ll go back to Spotify.

 “Never mind Amazon! What about Christmas?” I can hear you asking. Well, a week or so ago, I bought Now That’s What I Call Christmas – from Amazon Spain, naturally – having first read the glowing reviews of hundreds of satisfied customers over on Amazon UK. And, yes, it’s fine,  containing as it does all those classic Christmas songs that I remember from the 70s, not least Merry Christmas Everybody and I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day. Plus, of course, my all-time Christmas favourite, When A Child Is Born, which had me playing my favourite game, namely "Name That Year!"...

I could clearly remember my wonderful friend and schoolmate Wayne impersonating Johnny Mathis while the rest of us supplied the “Hm, hm, hm, hm” backing chorus, together with meaningful looks. That meant it had to be either 4C (1976) or 5C (1977). Yes, but which? In the end, I plumped for 5C. “December, nineteen seventy-seven!” I declared triumphantly, and then ran over to Wikipedia to discover that it was 1976. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

So, what’s Wayne up to these days? No idea, unfortunately, but I’d like to think he’s happily married, separated, divorced or whatever, and has taught his kids a few Christmas songs along the way. Either way, I’m pretty sure he’d be appalled if I removed Wizzard, Slade or Johnny from my magnificent Amazon-sponsored Christmas carol and sing-along selection.

Merry Christmas Everybody!

PS. Did you spot the face in the mountain?


Yes, Colin was beginning to see clearly now. Just like Johnny Cash . . . or Nash. Or was that Johnny Mathis? Colin was always getting his Johnnies in a muddle.

(dayrealing ch.10, “Don’t Give Up”)


How he loved this song! If you were serious about your music, you were supposed to despise stuff like this – even more so when killjoys pointed out that the Rubettes weren’t even singing the falsetto parts –, but Colin had never had much time for the music snobs, the so-called experts who always proclaimed, “Of course, their first album was the best”, even when anyone with ears could tell you it was a stinker. Well, whatever, it was thanks to hundreds of three-minute gems like this that Colin was able to reconstruct his entire childhood; the hundred happiest months of his life. Now that wasn’t bad, was it?

(dayrealing ch.47, “Sugar Baby Love”)

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