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Now, I freely confess that I am a 100% bah-humbugger when it comes to Christmas, but xmas music still drives me wild with fury.
Confusingly, from an atheist who would rather get testicular leprosy than religion, the least offensive Christmas music that can be broadcast at you when you’re walking around the supermarket is traditional Christmas carols sung by proper choirs. This is relatively easy to blank out, being tuneful, quite gentle and thus eminently ignorable.
No, the xmas music that really raises my blood pressure the modern popular xmas genre. For one, it’s fabulously cynical; we can assume that the writers of Victorian carols at least believed what they were writing and genuinely wished goodwill to all mankind (except the females, colonials and workers, of course), but I can’t believe that Bruce Springsteen *really* felt much when he made his repulsive cover of "Santa Claus is coming to town".
Secondly, pop xmas stuff is too damn loud. I read somewhere that Slade’s contribution to this sorry genre was recorded during the summer. Noddy Holder’s fade out "IT’S CHRISTMAS" squawk is a fantastic impersonation of a pissed-up overly-sentimental Brummie on Xmas eve (and trust me, I’ve absolutely nothing against pissed-up Brummies), but it is an aural assault when tannoyed at me while I’m trying to get parsnips for Sunday lunch.
The very very worst example of the modern Xmas song is Lennon’s "Merry Xmas (War is Over)". This is a crime against humanity for several reasons:
- War isn’t over, is it? The twat. You can imagine the people in Iraq or Palestine slapping their foreheads and saying, "Why didn’t we realise. War is over, if we want it. Doh!". So the fact that they’re being bombed, murdered and starved is entirely their own fault, as they insufficiently wish for peace. Thanks for the lesson in geopolitics, Mr Lennon.
- The sound of a multi-millionaire pop singer asking the listener "So this is Xmas/ and what have you done?" is pretty galling when all he‘d done to fight warfare and oppression was get pissed with his mates and sit in bed with his wife. And send some fucking acorns to politicians. Not a Gandhi salt march, is it John?
- It’s a horrible tune and Yoko’s glass-shattering "harmonies" at the chorus had me cowering behind the display of Xmas puddings in Tescos, genuinely fearing being cut to ribbons by shards of glass if the shopfront gave way during a high note.
- The lyrics are doggerel. "So this is Xmas/ and what have you done?/ Another year over/ and a new one just begun". Childish rhymes, bad scansion.
The woman who sold me my cheese at the deli counter told me she was dreading next Saturday when "They turn on the Xmas music". I’m not surprised: when the U.S. played horrid music to Iraqi prisoners to break their will, Amnesty International were seriously concerned. They should visit Birmingham supermarkets. With earplugs.
(This post was written for the grumpy old people blog.)