Talking of music, can it really be 4 years since we asked what the most annoying Christmas record is? Well, since then, youtube has enabled us to play them for you. So, instead of most annoying, this year I’d like your favourites. Here are the rules. The recording must be recognisably related to Christmas, must be non-traditional in some hard to define way, and while jokes are entirely welcome, they must be funny. One more rule: no wry, ironic, or mean references to Cliff.
Let me kick off with two secular songs, and two religious. First Jona Lewie’s Stop the Cavalry. Despite the wierd anachronisms and slightly unrespectable ott anti-war message, I love it simply for the refrain. When I used not to be home for Christmas, I would sing the whole thing to myself over and over, knowing neither the name of the song nor the singer. I know our British readers will be appalled by my complete lack of sophistication, but I also love Merry Christmas Everybody (even if you hate it, as I’m sure you do, it’s worth watching the first few seconds just to see Kid Jensen and John Peel not enjoying themselves). My wife won’t allow it to be played in the house.
From the ridiculous to the sublime (and religious). I once read that In the Bleak Midwinter is Britain’s favourite carol, which surprised me; sung here by Bert Jansch, with slightly different words than I remember. And finally, for Lindsey in France and Val in Madison, here is Def Leppard (yes, really) with what I find the most moving Christian pop song of the lot, Lindisfarne’s Winter Song. (“for Lindsey and Val”—I should have been Michael Aspel, or perhaps the other Cliff). And after you’ve listened, whatever you think of the religious message, take up the secular message, get out your credit card, go to Oxfam and donate a little bit more than you think you can afford.