Posted tagged ‘Slade’

Christmas is coming, not (yet)!

October 31, 2012

One of the hazards of being in public buildings with PA systems in late October or thereabouts is that you are transported into a weird world where Rudolph is pushing his red nose through a winter wonderland in which Slade wishes everyone a ‘merry Christmas’. Roy Wood’s dream has nearly come true, and it more or less is ‘Christmas every day’.

Right now I am waiting for a rather delayed plane in Edinburgh airport. And my mood is not helped by the Christmas music. Paul McCartney may be ‘simply having a wonderful Christmas time’, but I’m not, nor am I intending to for nearly two months. I hope I can find a corner in which the music cannot be heard. Now.

The most (and least) annoying Christmas songs

December 23, 2010

Yesterday as I was negotiating my way through the snowy streets of Dublin the radio announcer promised me some ‘traditional Christmas music’. So there I was, anticipating maybe some Handel, maybe Quem Pastores, or indeed Adeste Fideles. And we’re off, but no, it’s Slade with Merry Christmas Everybody. And before I had time to recover from that, I’m up against Roy Wood’s Wizzard and I wish it could be Christmas Every Day. I’m sure he does, by the way, because that would push up royalties even further. Thankfully I had arrived at my destination, and so I was spared (I’m sure) Wham, Boney M, Johnny Mathis, Jona Lewie, Cliff Richard (oh my!), not to mention Sir Paul McCartney’s uncharacteristically execrable Wonderful Christmas Time.

Funnily enough, I’m still OK with Band Aid’s Do They Know it’s Christmas, and John Lennon’s Happy Christmas (War is Over). But if you want to hear a Christmas song you may not have heard and which is musical, lyrical, poetic and original, sung by a voice from heaven, listen to Alison Sudol (A Fine Frenzy) and Red Ribbon Foxes.

I wish it could be Christmas every day

November 24, 2008

Today between meetings in Dublin city centre, I was able to marvel at the Christmas lights and decorations, and listen to songs and carols coming out of loudspeakers everywhere. Yes, it’s November, and for those going about their shopping this has been the scene for the past week or two. Christmas was formally launched somewhat earlier this year in Dublin, to stimulate shopping during the recession; and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if, next year, Roy Wood or Slade were to accompany my cup of coffee some time in mid-October.

Oddly enough, I haven’t yet come across that absolutely essential sign of Christmastide, the long complaint about how unacceptably commercial Christmas has become. Or the diatribe about how Christmas songs wouldn’t be so bad if only they wouldn’t play Cliff Richards or Mud’s ‘Lonely This Christmas‘. Or the soul-searching about whether it’s politically correct to celebrate Christmas at all – you can’t really have Christmas without that, it’s traditional.

So I must now ‘fess up and admit: yes, I rather like all the kitsch that ushers in Yuletide every year. I like all the lights, the rampant commercialism, the oh-so-naff songs, the hassled shoppers, yes even Cliff Richards and Rudolph. And if you’re one of those always complaining about all of that, then hey, I like you too, because you belong here. And so here, exactly one month before Christmastide really begins, season’s greetings to all of you!

That 1970s experience

September 29, 2008

Back in my family home I still have an old reel-to-reel tape recorder. I am not absolutely sure how old it is, but I think I may have received it as a birthday present in 1970. It was an Uher recorder, much like this one. For the next few years I recorded lots of stuff – much of it music recorded from the radio, but also some television programmes (sound only, obviously), people talking, that kind of thing. Then towards the end of that decade I decided that cassettes were more practical, and the old tape recorder was put away.

Recently I was cleaning out a little and I came across the old machine, and the dozen or so four-hour tapes that I had kept. So I plugged the thing in, put on a tape (which reminded me how fiddly all this was), closed my eyes and was transported back, initially to 1971. I was living in Germany at the time, and I recorded lots of music from German radio stations, and also from the British one broadcasting to their armed forces there. So here it was, all back again: the terrible bubblegum music, but also the Beatles, and long forgotten bands like the Tremeloes and the Small Faces. But also bands we still know or remember, like the Rolling Stones, Slade and T Rex. That summer I spent a few weeks in Ireland and recorded from RTE radio (only one RTE radio station was around at the time), and there was Larry Gogan, sounding exactly as he does now and playing some tracks which made me wince – did we really ever listen to such stuff?

I also recorded some TV programmes, including an episode of ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.‘ (long forgotten, although the star actors are both still known – Robert Vaughn is on our screens quite a bit). What intrigued me there, more than the (audio only) show, was the advertisements: heavily weighted towards cigarettes and beer: ‘On a hundred airlines around the world, the greatest name in cigarettes is Rothmans’; and ‘Carling Black Label, light-hearted lager’ (whatever that means) – if you were around at the time, you may still be able to sing along.

As I said, it was audio only, so I was spared the sight of flares and dodgy haircuts. But as I sat there I was right back in the 1970s, and it felt like yesterday. I must get the whole thing digitised; but maybe if it’s not whirring around on a tape it won’t be the same.


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