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Watch out for Christmas

Watch out for Christmas

I had to head into town to do a little last-minute Christmas shopping (with my hectic schedule this week, today was actually the last lunchtime I realistically had to pick up last-minute bits and pieces).

So thus, while I was carrying my pack of toilet paper across the city centre, really annoying sales people kept interrupting my path. People selling The Big Issue. People selling gift-wrapping paper. Chavs selling mistletoe. Evil market traders pushing plush toys on little kids while their despairing parents struggled to figure out how they were going to pay for it.

But the worst of the lot has to be the watch sellers. There they are, standing on street corners, hawking their wares. Why? I defy you to find anyone who doesn’t already have a watch. You only have one wrist, one time zone. Why would you need more than one watch?

You know your nearest and dearest are really struggling for present ideas when they end up giving you a watch from a market trader for Christmas. Or perfume or aftershave, for that matter.

Then again, I find myself every year giving books, CDs or DVDs to the people I love and my friends. And every time, those books/CDs/DVDs tend to sit there, unused, unwatched, unloved. I think I need to broaden my gift-giving horizon next year. If I can afford to.

Can't we just cancel Christmas?

Can't we just cancel Christmas?

Sorry to go on about this, but I really think it’d be better all round if we all postponed Christmas. Just by a week or so, just to give me a little more time.

The washing-up has been piling up alongside the laundry, simply because I need to get the international Christmas cards and presents out by Monday and get most of my family presents out of the way by Saturday.

My impending sense of panic and doom is, however, not helped by the terrible Christmas music that the shops and supermarkets are inflicting on my poor ears in an attempt to get me into the festive spirit.

Wizzard’s bloody cliched Christmas song kept stalking me the other day down the high street as I went into shop after shop in a vain attempt to find a suitable present. And then on the drive home, it came on again – from a caller who wanted that song instead of a sweet Christmas carol. Which is at least more calming after a long hour spent gazing at things that nobody could possibly want. Anyone who wishes it could be Christmas every day needs their bloody head examined.

In the meantime, VH1 are asking for your favourite Christmas song. Please let it be the superlative Fairytale of New York (being re-released this Christmas apparently). Let it be Dear Jessie. Let it be Always On My Mind. Let it be anything but that bloody Slade song.

Christmas madness kicks off again

Christmas madness kicks off again

And so the Christmas (when I say Christmas, I mean any ol’ secular occasion at the end of the year for food, drink, present-swapping and light-gazing as opposed to worshipping any particular deity) madness has begun again.

Friends of mine have mentioned that they’re getting stressed out by Christmas. To which I have blithely maintained that if you’re getting stressed out by Christmas, then you’ve lost the point of it all and, really, you ought to do your shopping online and relax. Which is my plan.

However, the plan does come a cropper when you find yourself starving, surrounded by food at Sainsburys on a Monday evening but you don’t have the time to stop for a cup of coffee because you have to get most of your family’s presents sorted by the weekend, the shop closes in 30 minutes and you have three other stores you need to go to. Not to mention the ethical dilemma of which charity Christmas cards to buy, whether your sisters will compare them to each other (of course they will!). And then your sister calls you when you’re at the checkout and blithely mentions that the other sister would definitely not like the Baileys and two-glass set you’ve just seen go past the checkout person.

Then you get home (eventually) and see emails from your other sisters saying that they’d prefer cash – which, to be honest, totally defeats the point of present-buying if you ask me.

Still, the first Christmas card of the year has already arrived on my doorstep – thanks Katy!

Now does anyone have any ideas for presents for women aged around 30, men aged around 30, men aged around 60 and women aged around 60?

Oh, and it’s not too late to join the UK’s Secret Santa 2005 !

Make the JCB Song Christmas no.1 !

Make the JCB Song Christmas no.1 !

Old-time readers may recall that I once raved about The JCB Song by Nizlopi – an amazingly heart-felt folk song accompanied by a great music video animated in Flash. At the time, I filed it under “one of those obscure songs that only I know, and it will be mine. All mine. Precious thing.”

Unfortunately, that will not happen. But I am prepared to sacrifice myself because the single is being released just in time for Christmas, and I urge you all to go out and buy the JCB Song, to help it become the UK’s Christmas no.1 single and add it to this illustrious list. So buy it now. Pronto.

That is all.

It Doesn't Often Snow At Christmas…

It Doesn't Often Snow At Christmas…

Be warned. I usually hate it when bloggers go on about how much a song means to them because of certain lyrics. But hey. It’s November, nearly December, and a time of year when holding back from sentimentality can be a futile gesture.

First signs of Christmas

First signs of Christmas

Joining in on blog cliche no.173, the first ugly sign of Christmas reared itself into my ordinary life today when, having a coffee at a train station waiting with someone, the music playing was a cover version of Silent Night.

For goodness’ sake, Halloween isn’t even over yet.

I had a false start earlier this month when I heard the best Christmas song of all time – Fairytale of New York (a song which has on occasion brought a moistening of my eye, depending on how drunk I am) was playing on Radio 1 in mid-October, but fortunately, it turned out to be a “Identify this song” moment in a music quiz of some kind.

And so far this year, I’ve yet to decide where to go on holiday, let alone Christmas. Although flights to San Francisco for November are now a bargain £170 on British Airways, apparently.

Ronan Keating ruined my Christmas mood

Ronan Keating ruined my Christmas mood

There I was, getting ready for a day of being Birthday’ed/Christmas’ed/whatever. I’d had a good night’s sleep, had a vague list in my head – although I didn’t check it twice.

I got my haircut. I even bought some tinsel to go along with my first ever Christmas tree (thank you Nia!) and some icicle lights to dangle over my balcony. So now the whole of Cardiff City Centre can see how tacky and sentimental I’ve gotten.

However, all that gets ruined when I hear, in some shop somewhere, Ronan Keating and Maire Brennan’s terrible cover version of Fairytale of New York (which has apparently been around since November 2000)

Now I loved the original version with Kirsty MacColl and Shane McGowan. It had the right edge of yearning, sentimentality, hope, despair, blackness and venom. Plus it was the right side of Irish.

This cover version Guinesses’s ups the Irish accent, to the point when I half expect amateur actors to be singing it at all Callaghan’s pubs. And of course, they change the lyrics to replace “you cheap lousy faggot” to “you’re cheap and you’re haggard.” – the same song that even US radio seems to play fine without any lyrical changes.

Grrrr. Anyway, time to compile my Christmas / December hits CD. So there’s that, Pet Shop Boys’ Always On My Mind, The Farm’s All Together Now, and Soul II Soul’s Get A Life. What else is there?

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