the state of things

 

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas #6

by Douglas Lindsay - 08:39 on 18 December 2008

Went Christmas shopping last night. Every single shop we went into, every single shop, had Last Christmas playing on a continuous loop. We were out for three hours or so, and must have heard Last Christmas close on four thousand, three hundred and fifty-seven times. I feel that my brain has melded with Last Christmas. It has become an integral part of the synapses of my head, every hypothesis is played through the syrupy poignant mush, the very fabric of every thought process is now infested with the distilled essence of this gloom-laden dissertation on lost love; every sound is mingled with the insidious cacophony of romantic decay, every sight which is processed by my brain is overlain with the visualisation of George and Andrew cavorting with their chums on a snowy weekend in the Alps.

I must face facts. I am going to have to give myself over to the Polish medical profession in order to get surgically detached from Last Christmas. In recent years, as Poland has been swept by consumerism and the commercialism of Yuletide, the operative procedure of the lastchristmasectomy has come to the forefront of medical practice. It is time.

I even awoke at three o'clock this morning, agonising over the lyrics. Early on George sings:

Now I know what a fool I’ve been
But if you kissed me now I know you’d fool me again...


However, a minute later he gives us:

Now I’ve found a real love
You’ll never fool me again.

Hang on a second. We’re not talking about a long, evolving narrative song here, spread over a period of time. This is all done in an instant, a moment’s reflection on the misery of true love. So where does he get off with the inconsistency? Didn’t he realise when he wrote it that it was going to be played for all eternity in shopping centres all over eastern Europe?

And to think that all the time he was singing to a bloke he’d met in the toilet.

It’s a funny kind of songwriting immortality. The Christmas song. No matter how many wonderful songs you write, the one that will be remembered by successive generations is the dumb-assed Christmas song. It’s not such a big deal for George Michael, because although Fame and Freedom ‘90 etc are a big step up from Last Christmas, they’re not light years away in quality. However, imagine.... if you’re John Lennon or Paul McCartney. Between you, you write the most unbelievable canon of songs in popular music history, you write Hey Jude and Imagine and Penny Lane and Eleanor Rigby and Help and Let It Be and Strawberry Fields and hundreds of others, you help re-define music, not to mention your part in shaping society for an entire decade..... And already there is a generation that will never have heard A Hard Day’s Night or Jealous Guy, but who have to listen to Wonderful Christmastime and War is Over four thousand, three hundred and fifty-seven times every time they nip out to the local shopping mall.

Seven more days, that’s all, and then it’ll all be over and I can get myself booked into the Polanskiego Clinic For The Lobotomising Of Unwanted Christmas Songs And Jingles in southern Poland.


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