I’m finding my customary morning listening – Radio 4’s Today programme – to be a bit too much for me the moment, so in the mornings, I tend to find myself listening to this:
Yes, I’ve cracked open the festive music. Mr S&S has stopped complaining since I told him that he was squashing my attempts to be happy and festive and accused him of being a Grinch. Sometimes guilt has its uses. Anyway, no, this is not, despite what it claims, the Best Christmas Album in the World Ever, but it’s pretty good. It has most of the must-have classics (White Christmas, The Christmas Song, an Ella Fitzgerald number), the obligatory Wizzard and Mud and Slade, and some more unusual choices (Mad World and Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s The Power of Love, not to mention a bit of Steeleye Span (Gaudete, one of my favourites). It has Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews doing Baby, It’s Cold Outside, which is a marvellous version. I do prefer Eartha Kitt’s Santa Baby, but I can live with Kylie’s. There are some fillers – I could live without The Waitresses – and I am fairly sure that the true best album ever would have East 17’s Stay Another Day, which despite being objectively awful, is one of my favourite Christmas songs ever.
But no. The thing that comprehensively ruins this compilations claim to greatness is that while it does contain the marvellous Fairytale of New York, it is not the Pogues version with Kirsty MacColl. No. It is the version with Ronan bloody Keating. Ronan Keating. Yes, him out of the squeaky-clean boyband. And a woman who has a nice voice but who lacks the venom necessary. (‘I could have been someone…’ ‘Well, so could anyone’ , spits Kirsty. Marvellous.)
Whose idea was this travesty? Find them. And … well, what I want to say next may lead to comparisons with Jeremy Clarkson. Let’s just say I skip past that track. In a week or so I’ll be breaking out the Carols from Kings CD, which is my music of choice for baking and decorating and present wrapping. That’s when things get serious.