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It’s a one-man family tradition every year and on an annual basis it’s strongly opposed by the younger members of the Murtagh clan.
You see, I like festive music and while I hate the fact the music channels on TV dedicate their entire output to the brand from late November onwards, personally when Christmas Day is little more than a fortnight away, I’m in the mood for some Yuletide melodies.
And so on Saturday morning as I prepared to write around 60 or 70 cards, I switched on the computer, logged in to my iTunes library and programmed into `holiday” genre which contains everything from Slade, Mud and Wham though Nat King Cole and Doris Day to Carols from King’s College, Cambridge.
Anyway, barely had the strains of O Come All Ye Faithful rang out when son No. 3 barges into the room with a face like thunder.
Now there are many advantages in bringing up one’s offspring to appreciate good music but demonstrating the spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge is not one of them.
The music shuffled into the Beach Boys Little Saint Nick but still my youngest remained defiant, insisting (surprise, surprise) that I should switch to Guns N’ Roses.
It was the same the other day when we decided it was about time to erect and decorate the Christmas Tree.
Getting the tree to stand straight is one of the festive period’s more laborious tasks, so too is trying to untangle the lights but musical accompaniment invariably helps.
But once again, I was outvoted. This time not even the poignant opening bells of Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas could persuade the family that it was preferable to listening to Kasabian’s latest album.
(At this point, a bugbear. I’ve loved Band Aid’s DTKIC ever since it’s release more than 25 years ago. It’s a song which has stood the test of time and is infinitely superior to most charity records. But will people in pubs, clubs, restaurants and nightclubs please consider the message and stop bawling out some of the most heartbreaking, poignant words ever written for a festive song as if they’re celebrating a goal at a football match!)
My enjoyment of Christmas music has never diluted my passion for rock music and next Saturday, I’m hoping Santa will bolster my already extensive collection of CDs and DVDs.
But as an individual who loves everything about this time of year from brussel sprouts to stilton cheese to visiting cousins to Boxing Day football to Melbourne Test matches to cold turkey sandwiches, I’m a sucker for the appropriate music.
I’m quite happy listening to traditional carols and even my dear wife’s Winter Wonderland collection of songs by Perry Como, Frank Sinatra and of course the evocative Bing Crosby.
But having grown up in the 70s, I think I’m on safe ground to declare that in pop/rock music terms, that decade was far and away the best for Christmas music.
With the obvious exception of the Pogues’ still haunting Fairytale Of New York, Band Aid’s song and yes, OK then, Last Christmas by Wham (there, I’ve admitted it!!), the 70s rules the roost.
Slade’s Merry Xmas Everyone is about the only song that will ever get me onto a dance floor though Wizzard’s I Wish It Could be Christmas Every Day pushes it all the way.
Greg Lake’s I Believe In Father Christmas, Mud’s Lonely This Christmas, John and Yoko’s War Is Over and Jona Lewie are others which to me are as festive as crackers, stuffing and pressies.
So forgive this rock fan his annual indulgence, forget I ever said I liked a song by Wham and keep your fingers crossed that like Scooge himself, my bah-humbug sons are visited by some ghosts of Christmas past, present and future and start to appreciate the joys of this special time of year.