Mark's Musings

A miscellany of opinions, thoughts, rants and comments

31 December 2011
by Mark
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Disco 2012

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I went shopping today. Decided to hit the sales, and came back with a new suit and a deep fat fryer. Exciting, eh? No? Oh well. I’d taken Ellie with me, mainly because I’d promised her a day out and … Continue reading

29 December 2011
by Mark
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Heroes and Villains of 2011

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I’m assuming, of course, that no-one will do anything particularly heroic or villainous over the next couple of days. But here, in no particular order, are my nominations for ten heroes and ten villains of 2011. Heroes George Monbiot. When … Continue reading

24 December 2011
by Mark
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Fairytale of New York

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This is, quite simply, the best Christmas song ever recorded. I’ll explain why further down, but for now, just enjoy it. So, what’s so good about this song? It stands some deconstruction, so let’s pull it apart a bit. Unusually … Continue reading

23 December 2011
by Mark
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Santa and FOI – it’s the silly season for news

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A widely reported press release by the Local Government Association tells us of the “top unusual Freedom of Information (FoI) requests submitted to local authorities”. Here, for your delectation, is that very top 10: 1. How does the council plan … Continue reading

23 December 2011
by Mark
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Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

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Of all the people you might least expect to come up with a classic Christmas song, John Lennon is probably pretty high up in the list. Like Jona Lewie’s song from a couple of days ago, this was ostensibly a … Continue reading

22 December 2011
by Mark
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Last Christmas

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OK, time for a bit of cheese. Not a lot to say about this one, really, other than the fact that it’s probably the best song Wham! ever did. Which isn’t necessarily saying much. But here it is anyway. Last … Continue reading

21 December 2011
by Mark
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Walking in the Air

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This song is more often associated with Aled Jones, who sang on the most commercially successful single version and became a star on the back it it. But the singer on the original animation was Peter Auty, then a choirboy … Continue reading

20 December 2011
by Mark
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Stop the Cavalry

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This wasn’t originally intended as a Christmas song, according to its composer – it was supposed to be a protest song – but the line “Wish I was at home for Christmas” and the brass band backing gave it a … Continue reading

19 December 2011
by Mark
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2000 Miles

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Back to the music again. This is a classic Christmas song, but the video was clearly made on a budget! But never mind the cheesiness, the sight of Chrissie Hynde dressed up as a Salvation Army singer (complete with tambourine) … Continue reading

18 December 2011
by Mark
2 Comments

The bells of waiting Advent ring

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Time for a poem again. This is Christmas, by John Betjeman. The bells of waiting Advent ring, The Tortoise stove is lit again And lamp-oil light across the night Has caught the streaks of winter rain In many a stained-glass … Continue reading

17 December 2011
by Mark
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Mary’s Boy Child

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After the almost anti-Christmas offering from Greg Lake, and Thomas Hardy’s wearied agnosticism, here’s a Christmas hit which unashamedly affirms the gospel story. Today’s song for advent is Mary’s Boy Child, by Boney M. Incidentally, if it looks like their … Continue reading

16 December 2011
by Mark
1 Comment

I Believe in Father Christmas

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Another classic Christmas song from my childhood. Here’s Greg Lake, with I Believe in Father Christmas. They said there’ll be snow at Christmas They said there’ll be peace on earth But instead it just kept on raining A veil of … Continue reading

15 December 2011
by Mark
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The Oxen

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Time for another poem. This is The Oxen, by Thomas Hardy. The painting is Adoration of the Shepherds (De aanbidding der herders) by Dutch artist Gerard van Honthorst, featuring an ox kneeling at the crib of Jesus. Christmas Eve, and … Continue reading

14 December 2011
by Mark
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Christmas Time: Don’t Let The Bells End

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From the sublime to the ridiculous. I’m still not entirely sure whether The Darkness were just a novelty band or a real attempt to bring back glam metal, but for a short while they were surprisingly good at whatever it … Continue reading

13 December 2011
by Mark
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White Christmas

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I’ve mostly been picking songs that come from my own musical heritage, so to speak, but just for a change here’s one that’s before even my time. This is the original version of White Christmas, sung by Bing Crosby and … Continue reading

12 December 2011
by Mark
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The Power of Love

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This is only tangentially a Christmas song. The lyrics don’t refer to Christmas at all, and it’s only the fact that it was released in the run-up to Christmas and has a Christmas-themed video which makes it a Christmas song. … Continue reading

11 December 2011
by Mark
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Saviour’s Day

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Christmas without Cliff Richard is about as unthinkable as Christmas without Mistletoe. And wine. Which is why today’s Christmas song is by Saint Cliff, albeit not the one that he’s probably the most famous (or infamous) for. I happen to … Continue reading

10 December 2011
by Mark
3 Comments

Gaudete

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Well, if you were out on the lash last night you probably feel in need of something a bit more mellow this morning. One of the joys of the Christmas season is that you can have a folk group doing … Continue reading

9 December 2011
by Mark
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Merry Christmas Everyone

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Is there such a thing as a Friday Christmas song? Dunno, but this probably comes closest. We’re up to the second weekend in December, so the party season is getting into full swing now. Here’s one to get you in … Continue reading

8 December 2011
by Mark
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Christmas in the Olden Time

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Back to poetry for today’s calendar offering. This is ‘Christmas in the Olden Time’, by Sir Walter Scott. As a bonus, here’s a bit of classic seasonal art, as well. Heap on more wood! — the wind is chill; But … Continue reading