Merry Xmas, and may The Schwarz be with you!
The Pogues – Fairytale of New York
The hands-down, all-time greatest Xmas song ever. I always loved this song but it wasn’t until about ten years ago, when the band I was playing with decided to record a slew of our favorite Christmas tunes, that I recognized its true greatness. We did boozed-up, folky/jazzy, unrehearsed versions of standards like “Silent Night” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” all of us crammed into the singer’s tiny shoebox apartment in the Mission, passing the bottle between songs, soaking up the belly warmth and blurry colored lights. Then one day while I was cleaning, I randomly put on the If I Should Fall From Grace With God and when the song came on it floored me. It was the perfect Christmas song. It had that great big band forties sound, as well as an old timey jig vibe; it had crisp air and grey skies and boozy, warm interiors and a soaring angelic chorus. It felt instantly classic, like Joyce’s The Dead mixed with Frank Capra, mixed with a little Tom Waits to make it stick. It took the timeless grandeur of a Yuletide carol and brought it to earth with the story of a relationship on the rocks, dreams shattered in the bottom of a whiskey glass, the down and out life of the street, and the eternal wisp of hope in love and faith. It felt real and romantic at the same time. And it went straight to the heart. Continue reading
About half the people who go into a retail store on any given day have no idea what they’re looking for. Some have the patience to ask the staff for assistance or get advice from customers who are happy to dispense advice, but many turn their frustration into an airborne virus and will not rest until every customer and employee want nothing more than to flee the store. Continue reading