Enjoy 101 different versions of "Fairytale of New York"

"Fairytale of New York" is, unequivocally, the best Christmas song. Because it's actually a bleak story about the false veneer of holiday spirit as a metaphor for the soul-crushing deceptions of the so-called "American Dream" that leads people to hatred, drug abuse, and worse … and still returns for one more rousing chorus.

In short, it's perfect. So perfect that you may just want to listen to it over and over and over again. Which is why I put together this Spotify playlist consisting of 99 covers of the song, plus the original version by the Pogues with Kirsty MacColl.

And then — just because 100 wasn't round enough for me — I recorded this quick cover of the song myself, using an Irish Gaelic translation by Fred McCluskey and Ger Maher (which cleverly skirts around that bit of ugly language in the third verse, which makes sense in the context of the fictional story but absolutely shatters any Christmas delusions).

Just, um, don't bother looking up Shane MacGowan's recent birthday performance of the song from the Late Late Show, 'cause it's pretty painful to watch, and not just because of him. Oof.

Image by peelandstick/Flickr Read the rest

The story behind The Pogues' 'Fairytale of New York'

One story pegs Elvis Costello as the original impetus for The Pogues' Fairytale of New York. Another points to the band's manager. Either way, it took Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan two years to write the now-classic anti-Christmas Christmas song. The story behind it is an interesting one. This Polyphonic video tells it.

(Nag on the Lake, Open Culture) Read the rest

Goodbye LDB game, Hello Whamageddon

For the past five holiday seasons or so, a group of my friends and I have been (somewhat reluctantly at this point) playing the LDB game.

"LDB" stands for "Little Drummer Boy."

To win, you must survive the holiday season without hearing any version of "Little Drummer Boy." There are no prizes, just bragging rights that you successfully dodged another year of "Pa rum pum pum pum."

Now I've learned there's a new game in town. It's called Whamageddon.

To play this game, you just have to avoid hearing Wham!'s 1984 Christmas hit "Last Christmas" from December 1 to midnight on December 24. If you hear it, you're out. Grab the hashtag #whamageddon and enter "Whamhalla" by admitting your defeat on social media.

Want to win? Do NOT watch this video:

The good news? It's finally ok to watch Pee-wee's 1988 Christmas special during the holiday season. Go ahead, click on Grace Jones' "Little Drummer Boy":


Thanks, Timmmii! Read the rest