The build-up to Christmas is the one time of year I feel I need a short break from music.
Although I’ve recently enjoyed zooming around in my car listening to carefully chosen soul classics from my phone and joining in an impromptu sing along with the family, it’s the small selection of songs forced on us at this time of year, wherever we venture out in public, which really gets on my last nerve.
I’ve trudged past shops along the local high streets, assaulted by the sound of jingle bells, as stores compete with each other to entice us inside. Or worse: I’ve slipped between concessions in a single department store playing conflicting tunes. There will be a spot where two songs collide and it’s impossible to differentiate between them. That, of course, will be the exact spot where I need to locate what I’m looking for.
Last week at the checkout in the supermarket, weary after about three years of trying to edge past others keen to fill their trolleys with festive foodstuffs, I turned into the worst version of my Scrooge self and moaned to the poor student made to work there wearing a ridiculous jumper: “I can’t hear a word you’re saying.” I regret not showing more sympathy for the lad who’d been suffering Christmas songs on a loud loop his whole shift and was verging on the edge of insanity himself.
Christmas shopping means listening to the same few songs over and over again all day. If you time it right (or wrong) you could skip between shops and repeatedly hear just one of the few at every single location. I’m sure last year I was followed around by Noddy Holder reminding me “It’s Christmaaaassss”. Noddy, I know – that’s why I’m struggling with these bags and I’d appreciate a bit of hush to make some decisions, mate. And I’m unconvinced that all Maria Carey wants for Christmas is “yooo” when we all know she won’t even step on a carpet unless it’s red.
The one Christmas song I do like is Fairytale of New York but I’m no longer comfortable with it because of the inclusion of a particularly offensive word, no one who has ever grown up facing homophobic bullying should have to be subjected to in the spirit of Christmas. That said, I’ve noticed it hasn’t been as prominent this year.
After the big day itself, Christmas hits have no purpose, becoming even more repugnant – like leftover, soggy, brussel sprouts. Have mercy people. We should then cease to be force-fed these cheesy compositions and place them in custody after Boxing Day for everyone’s sake.
Happy new year all.