Thinking about it, it’s probably Christmas music (along with Christmas adverts) being played before December that annoys the general public the most.
You usually can’t move for miserable, moaning old gits in Marks & Spencer’s complaining that “It’s only October and already they’re ramming Christmas down our throats.” *moan moan moan moan*
OK, so let’s not get me onto the subject of people moaning about Christmas or I’ll be writing this thing all day. Trust me.
However, having said this, as long as it’s December, nothing gets people in the Christmas spirit, or in a jocular mood, faster or more efficiently than Christmas music - be it carols, crooners or Wham‘s ‘Last Christmas‘!
Traditionally I start listening to Christmas music while decorating the tree and putting up the Christmas decorations - at this point it’s usually the entirety of the Andy Williams Christmas Album, which, on CD, is a whopping 20 tracks long!
I grew up listening to my Dad’s old vinyl copy of this album from his record collection, although this version (the original 1963 release) had only 12 tracks. Back then listening to this album meant that Christmas had officially started, and it was one of the first CDs I bought when I finally moved away from home and started organising my own Christmases.
Oddly, this was the only Christmas album my father owned (he now owns two as I bought him Enya’s brilliant '…And Winter Came' two years ago) so the rest of the Christmas play list was up to me, and over the years I built up a rather respectable library of Christmas CDs.
As I grew up I started to become increasingly fond of the traditional Christmas carol; not only those well known, yet wonderful, favourites such as We Three Kings, God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen or The First Noel, but others that seldom make it onto commercially popular albums. My favourite of these not-so-well-known carols is The Coventry Carol, which is one of the most beautiful things you will ever hear. I once spent several hours listening to this carol on a continuous loop as I sat writing pages and pages of A Christmas Carol script. Others, such as Masters In This Hall and Love Divine, I was fortunate enough to stumbled across on the same CD of the Choir of St. Gerorge’s Chapel, which is probably the finest carols CD to have in your collection.
The great thing about Christmas music is that there’s so much of it that there’s invariably something for everyone…unless you’re a miserable, moaning old git in Marks & Spencer’s. For the traditionalist there’s carols, for the connoisseur theirs Christmas symphonies for the groovy people there’s the crooners, and for the average Joe Public there’s Christmas Chart music.