"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

ghosts of christmas's past

Gill and I have a good set-up in our office.  We stream UK radio stations (all day - the advantage of unlimited, fast bandwidth).  When Matthew was having his "gap year" at Clifton College in Bristol we started listening to GWR Bristol.  A great mix of new and old music, great presenters and perfect to have playing in the background (and I would know what the weather was doing in Bristol and advise Matthew to take an extra jersey to cricket practice (not really)).  We have since moved around a bit, we have followed Martin Baillie (the little Irish devil (remember Telefun Quizz) who now works for the BBC in Devon), we have listened to Heart in Yorkshire and are now listening to Capital Gold broadcasting from London.  Well the Christmas stuff is coming through thick and fast, Gill and I have put in our orders with Kalahari.net for Buble's Christmas Album (and a couple of others) so we can get our own mix going but for now we are very happy with what we are listening to.

The one Christmas song that tugs at my heart at least twice a day is The Pogues singing "Fairytale of New York".   The Pogues are an Irish band who released this song in 1987.  It has frequently been voted "Top Christmas Song" by radio stations and television polls.  (This, according to Wikipedia).  I like to think of myself as pretty jacked up on my music but I had honestly not heard this song until Nic and Bielle sang it two years ago at our Christmas Eve bash.  Our family are not that normal and we go through stages of trying to introduce new ideas to spice up our Christmas Eve party.  For a couple of years we had to prepare a "skit" (stupid word, stupid idea) of sorts.  Easy for those who can sing or dance and for those who can tell a joke to the end and remember the punch line but for others it is not much fun.  The last couple of years have also had a dress up theme (also my worst - a bit like being told not to wear black to a wedding).  But not to be the Grinch of Christmas, I play along and then duck away when it is my turn to sing and/or dance.  Gareth gets away without singing or dancing because every year he has to tell his "parrot joke" for the Christmas table (it is a bit like our very own "Dinner for One").

Anyway, sidetracked again, back to The Pogues.  This is an awesome song and, I may be prejudiced but no one has done it better than Nic and Bielle.  I think, for me, it was the magic of hearing Bielle's great singing voice for the first time.  As you listen to the Pogues version you get sucked into it more and more.

It was Christmas Eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me, won't see another one
And then he sang a song
The Rare Old Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in at ten to one
I've got a feeling
This year's for me and you
So Happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They've got cars big as bars
They've got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It's no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging,
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing "Galway Bay"
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day

You're a bum
You're a punk
You're an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God it's our last

The boys of the NYPD choir
Still singing "Galway Bay"
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day

I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can't make it all alone
I've built my dreams around you

The boys of the NYPD choir
Still singing "Galway Bay"
And the bells are ringing out
For Christmas Day

I know my mother will probably prefer this version by Ronan Keating

Now as we look forward to planning our Christmas Eve festivities (Matthew has come up with a Caribbean theme of brightly coloured outfits, cocktails in jam jars and reggae music - Dalene has put her foot down firmly (on her tiles) and said "NO" to shipping in a truckload of beach sand) I also realise that sadly things do change but our family will always be our family and the "constant" in our lives.  

Gareth will complain (as usual) about performing the "parrot" but he will do it ("just this last time") to make his grandmother laugh (until the tears run down her legs), I will put on a bright wig and strut around in platform shoes, Kelly will perform her Lady Gaga and Shakira routines, there will be turkey and gammon (and too much more) and my mum will make roast potatoes and cauliflower and cheese sauce, Tom will be watching the Weber and drinking single Amstels, David will probably try and do a Tom Cruise in Cocktail rip-off (not sure which part Lucie will take). Wayne and Lesley will win the "Best Dressed" as they always do.  Nic will sing and play guitar (I hope) and Kathy will once again win the prize for the "Best Fun Gift" in our Christmas game. Matthew will show us his new Kimberley/Bloem dance moves (and Caroline will teach him a few more) and by the end of the evening Justin will end up doing acrobats.  Kris will look delicious and drink lots of tequila, while Amy (will also look delicious) and fill everyone's drinks.  Hayley may have another "frog" joke for us and Dalene will definitely end up singing "Eternal Flame" by the Bangles.  Rob will keep his eye on security and Michael will make sure that he is the "sober driver".

So lots to look forward to and be happy about but probably no rag dolls in tights or Pogues this year :( 

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