22 December 2008
we didn't get the christmas number one in the end. oh well. i really didn't expect us to, so i'm not at all surprised or upset. i'm really happy because there were some lovely things written about the single all over the world and in lots of unusual places too, and that's the sort of thing that matters to me.
i'm not sure if anyone else has noticed, but the charts are a bit weird now. particularly this week. beyonce has got three songs in the top twenty, wham are at number twenty seven and the top three are all cover versions and two of them are the same song. the winner of the x factor is number one with a cover version of 'hallelujah', and jeff buckley is at number two with his version of it. apparently there was a campaign all over the radio and the internet trying to get people to buy the jeff buckley version.
i don't really understand the campaign. i don't particularly like the alexandra burke version either, but the campaign had a few weird subtexts. it seemed to be all about jeff buckley being somehow more authentic because he was a white male rock star, and so had a natural predisposition towards understanding misery and suffering, and that a female pop star couldn't possibly carry the emotional weight of the song. i don't really understand why everyone was being so precious and protective about it. i don't even like the jeff buckley version. i always thought it was a bit histrionic. there was no subtlety or humour in the song when jeff buckley did it, and i always thought the original version by leonard cohen was quite a funny song, full of self deprecation and sexual innuendo, in the same way that most of his songs are. i like the way that leonard cohen pronounces the word "you" as "ya" whenever he's rhyming it with the word "hallelujah", and how it seems to get more and more ridiculous as the song goes on, and i always thought the lines "there was a time when you let me know what's really going on below, but now you never show that to me do you" were a really funny description of the sexual desperation of a bitter middle aged man in a failing relationship. but jeff buckley always seemed to be lacking the wry smile when he sang it. and as for alexandra burke, once the x factor has finished, i don't want to know about it anymore. it's the same every year, as soon as the winner is announced i stop caring. i just liked watching the little dorks for twelve weeks while they got slowly picked off by the british public, but then at the end of it all, even though i'm momentarily happy for whoever wins and everything, i don't actually ever want to see any of them again. i don't want them to actually release records and i don't want to see them on tv unless it's on another celebrity reality tv show trying to revive their failing careers.
anyway, because the christmas top forty was so rubbish. i decided to make up my own one, like i used to when i was eight. the only difference being that when i was eight i used to write it in a little notebook that had all my lists in and that no one ever saw, and now i'm going to write it down and post it up on the internet so that the whole world can read it. this isn't a list of my all time favourite christmas songs in the order that i like them, although some of my all time favourites are in there. it’s just a list of the christmas songs i've been listening to this christmas. it's not that different to the official uk top 40. wham are still at number twenty seven.
the boy least likely to offical christmas top 40
40. lauren laverne – in the bleak midwinter
39. comet gain – asleep on the snow
38. saint etienne – i was born on christmas day
37. david essex – a winter’s tale
36. the waitresses – christmas wrapping
35. daniel johnston – rock around the christmas tree
34. mariah carey – all i want for christmas is you
33. emmy the great – christmas in prison
32. john denver & the muppets – when the river meets the sea
31. my morning jacket – xmas time is here again
30. malcolm middleton - we’re all going to die
29. mogwai – christmas steps
28. arab strap – christmas (baby please come home)
27. wham – last christmas
26. bright eyes – silver bells
25. sufjan stevens – once in royal david’d city
24. feist – lo, how a rose e’re blooming
23. the wedding present – holly jolly hollywood
22. low – just like christmas
21. frightened rabbit – it’s christmas so we’ll stop
20. prairie cat – winter wonderland
19. the pipettes – white christmas
18. belle and sebastian – are you coming over for christmas?
17. badly drawn boy – donna and blitzen
16. the voluntary butler scheme – wombling merry christmas
15. camera obscura – little donkey
14. kermit the frog – have yourself a merry little christmas
13. the pogues and kirsty maccoll – fairytale of new york
12. amiina – hilli (at the top of the world)
11. low – santa’s coming over
10. rod thomas – on a silent night
rod premiered this christmas song last week when he played at our christmas show, and now you can enjoy it too if you just go to his website.
9. the school – kiss you in the snow
this is my favourite christmas song from last year, but i still haven't got tired of it so it's made the top ten this year too. i had to leave it off my christmas compilation that i made for our gig last week because the school were playing before us and i guessed that they might play it live because it was christmas and they did and it was wonderful.
8. au revoir simone – christmas time is here
i found this song on this compilation and it's lovely. it replaced 'fallen snow', which would usually have been in this list.
7. lucky lucky pigeons – red santa
apparently this was originally included on a compilation of christmas songs called 'a very cherry christmas 2".
6. little my – xmas song
5. versus the lion – santa santa claus
4. deerhoof – little drummer boy
3. slow club – christmas tv
2. the bicycles – snow
1. the boy least likely to – the first snowflake
hooray!! we’re number one!!! thank you to everyone that bought our single and thank you to everyone that wrote nice things about us.
16 December 2008
the daily telegraph might have cruelly written us off in the race for the christmas number one, but we haven't given up hope. our new single came out yesterday. if anyone did want to buy it then you can get it from itunes and amazon in america, and if you live in the uk you can have fun downloading it from the new amazon mp3 store or from emusic, or you could wait for itunes to put it up over here, which will hopefully happen any moment now. oh, and if you live in america you can buy the video from itunes too. hooray!
we played in london last night. we had a really lovely time. a big christmas thank you to everyone that came along to see us. i was quite expecting no one at all to turn up in the middle of the christmas party season, so it was amazing that so many people came.
for anyone that couldn't make it, we played the first snowflake live for the first time, and now we probably won't play that again for another year. and we did a cover of the shakin stevens song 'merry christmas everyone', which i enjoyed doing so much that i wanted to do it again and forgot myself slightly while we were playing 'be gentle with me' imagining that we were going to play it again. i hope everyone that came had as much fun as we did. i can't wait for the full tour next year when the new album comes out.
i'll write again tomorrow. today i am just letting you know you can buy things.
click on the button to download the song from itunes usa
click on this button to download the video
and you can download the song from amazon and emusic in the uk but i can't work out how to make links for them and i've got lots of other things to be getting on with. sorry.
09 December 2008
"so once again, ivor was left by himself. he was quite used to
being left by himself, but today it seemed different."
- from ivor the engine, 'the lost engine'.
oliver postgate has died. it's very sad. he created and narrated some of the most beautiful and thoughtful and magical televison programmes ever made. i don't know what else to write, all i know is that i wouldn't see the world the way i do if it hadn't been for him.
i wanted to post some clangers and some bagpuss and some pogles wood here, but i've spent the last two hours trying to choose which episodes and in the end the list got too long. so i'm just posting one. this is my favourite episode from my favourite of all the tv programmes that he and peter firmin made, ivor the engine.
"in our time we had been able to found great kingdoms of mountains, ice and snow in our cowsheds. in peter's big barn
we commanded infinities of outer space and starred it with heavenly bodies made from old christmas decorations."
– oliver postgate