Last night I was watching VH1 Classic’s presentation of the Kinks Christmas Concert, a 1977 performance that ends with Ray Davies emerging as the seediest and most dissolute Kris Kringle ever—even more than Billy Bob Thornton—for a perfunctory performance of the hastily-dashed-off instant classic “Father Christmas” (“Father Christmas, give us some money / We’ve got no time for your silly toys / We’ll beat you up if you don’t hand it over / Save all your toys for the little rich boys”). It ends with a flat platitude about remembering the less fortunate, but that’s a minor flaw. Especially when compared to, say, Band Aid’s 1984 “Do They Know it’s Christmas,” which was all platitude. Worthy cause and all, but did it occur to Bob Geldof that some of those starving kids in Africa might not know it’s Christmas because . . . they’re not Christians?
For consumerist cognitive dissonance, though, it’s hard to beat one holiday season a few years ago when I was cruising the Mag Mile for a holiday lights fix, even though I was a little light in the bank card, getting shin-splinted by other people’s huge shopping bags, and feeling a little sensory overload. So I ducked into a Borders to calm down. (Shut up! It’s not consumerism! It’s books!) I was browsing something—I don’t remember, either 17th-century metaphysical poetry or equally incomprehensible sci-fi manga—and I swear to God heard a Muzak version of the Pogues’ ”Fairytale of New York,” which is a pretty tune if you don’t know the words, and if you do, you hear Shane MacGowan and the late lamented Kirsty MacColl sneering at each other affectionately, “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!” Now that’s Christmas!
What are your favorites? What’s on your Festivus mix?
Also, I’m still taking suggestions for theme songs for Senator Obama’s hypothetical Presidential campaign. (See my post on Wednesday.) There’s some good stuff there already. C’mon, there must be someone out there who can make me laugh harder than Rob, who suggested “I Whipped Batman’s Ass” by Wesley Willis.