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The TV Cream Advent Calendar: Door 23

This month’s Word magazine contains ostensibly definitive inventories of both the best and worst Christmas songs of all time. But as usual Fairytale Of New York is in the wrong list.

Why this wretched dirge of a tune – “two drunks shouting”, in the words of Neil Tennant – repeatedly fails to not be nominated as one of greatest festive anthems ever is a mystery. You can’t hear the words. Both vocalists compete in a grisly battle to outdo each other in terms of ear-shredding histrionics. It was covered by Ronan Keating. And it goes on for about half an hour.

Where Word has got it right, though, is placing War Is Over* by Johnandyokonolennon in the ‘bad’ list. Nobody wants to be lectured at over a mince pie**.

*(No It Isn’t)
**Macca’s sublime Wonderful Christmastime, however, doesn’t make it into either chart, despite being effortlessly hummable, deceptively simple, and not having any choirs of kids or the missus wailing in the background.



  1. Gatz

    December 24, 2007 at 12:50 am

    Boo! Hiss! I’m having a Christmas Eve party tomorrow afternoon and anyone who doesn’t sing along to Fairytail will be ejected (through the window of my second floor flat if they won’t leave quietly).

  2. Anonymous

    December 24, 2007 at 1:27 am

    The reason ‘Fairytale of New York’ is so popular is because it can be sung while pissed out of your head. Also, in the current climate of sentimentality, by slating anything to do with Kirsty MacColl, you might as well set fire to Madeline McCann’s cuddle cat with Princess Diana’s matches…

  3. Gavin

    December 24, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    Fairytale of New York is the best chrsitmas song of all time in my view. Neil Tennant did once say in an interview that he felt that it should have been the christmas No. 1 in 1987. I do however like The Pet Shop Boys version of Always On My Mind-its great and Macca’s Wonderful Christmastime a good christmas tune too.
    Happy Christmas everyone!
    All together now
    ‘The Boys of the NYPD Choir were singing Galway Bay’…….

  4. Gavin

    December 24, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    It’s Shane MacGowan’s Birthday on Christmas Day aswell.

  5. Anonymous

    December 24, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    Fairytale is a damn fine song. Just not a damn fine Christmas song. For that, it’s either Kate Bush’s December Will Be Magic Again, The Waitresses’ Christmas Wrapping, or (on the not-very-festive-but-released-at-Xmas front) Freiheit’s Keeping The Dream Alive. With The Goodies’ Make A Daft Noise At Christmas squeaking in at fourth place.

    – Anonymous Ken

  6. Cindylover1969

    January 1, 2008 at 9:04 am

    I think people like it because it’s the only Christmas song anyone can think of which contains swearing. (So why not praise “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” which is about a hit-and-run, eh?)

    After 2006 and having heard it played to death, I can safely say this is the *only* Kirsty MacColl song I can no longer stand. “Christmas Wrapping,” however (another seasonal song whose singer is, alas, no longer with us), is genuinely great.

    But Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” is better than either of them.

  7. Cindylover1969

    January 1, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Actually, I’m listening to the Home Alone soundtrack album, and it’s on my favourite piece. Not any of the carols, but John Williams’ “Setting the Trap” (i.e. the music for Kevin’s answer to that bit in The A-Team when they turn household appliances into weapons of mass destruction).

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