The Christmas No. 1 single is a uniquely British phenomenon that I don’t think many of us on this side of the pond were familiar with prior to the release of Love, Actually, and so the rapid rise of Billy Mack’s “Christmas is All Around” seems incongruous to the narrative — but *lovely*. Particularly when it results in a pants-dropping Bill Nighy performing the song on live television while a hundred bored airport employees watch, delighted.
I had this as my voice mail message for a couple yuletides in a row. It’s my favorite song that the crew from South Park has ever done, Christmas-related and not.
Scorpio Rising is arguably Kenneth Anger’s masterpiece (closely tied with Hollywood Babylon, closely tied with Lucifer Rising, depending on who you’re talking to). A brilliant, gorgeous long music video which features real footage of several twentysomething bikers in and out of their biking gear, hanging out in their apartments, partying with other members of their clubs and, in one particularly memorable scene, wiping out.
The music he used for the soundtrack is the music of my childhood — which is, naturally, at least one generation too old — and it’s used both ironically and absolutely straight in conjunction with the footage (bikers putting on their gear to the tune of Bobby Vinton’s “Blue Velvet,” “Point of No Return” playing over the footage of a race that ends when one of the participants wipes out and skids out of frame). After years of scouring the internet for a copy, I was finally able to watch it on Christmas Day 2009, when some generous person uploaded a digital transfer of their VHS copy to Google Videos.
I defy anyone not to smile when this comes on in a shop or on a radio station.
Bing Crosby is a large presence on many people’s winter holiday playlists (and he has more than one place on mine), but it’s usually “White Christmas” or “Little Drummer Boy.” For me, being Irish and appreciative of variety, it’s always nice to hear “Christmas in Killarney.”
Several of my friends have had “white elephant” gift exchanges at their holiday parties over the years and I like to flex my handmade prowess rather than going with the usual gag gifts (a 5 lb bag of Lifesavers, a package of Post-It notes and two bricks, etc).
This particular project was relatively simple and sneaked up on me the day of my friend Ritchie’s party. (Read more…)
Who else was excited to see hear this song in the BBC’s Christmas trailer this year? It’s been one of my holiday top 5 since I was a little girl.
Nothing against Bono or Leona Lewis, but it’s all about Darlene Love. Accept no substitutions.
–Artwork by Linn C. Standal (The official cover artists aren’t fit to carry her brushes).
Because who doesn’t love an irreverent apocalypse with their winter holidays? Starring an angel, a demon, a part-time mystic and sex worker, half-batty militants, an heiress to a long-dead witch’s prophecy, and four 10-year-olds, one of whom just happens to be the Antichrist. I not only re-read the book, I also re-read all the fan-written stories by Vulgarweed (Rarefied Air, Through the Wire, Compromising Positions, Breathless Mouths May Summon). There’s a unique take on both the Christian and non-Christian aspects of the winter holidays in each (Hint: Crowley created the “war on Christmas,” both he and Aziraphale were in Rome during Caligula’s reign), in different centuries, no less (and yes they are all Aziraphale/Crowley, because *canon*).
This was another tradition that started somewhat accidentally — I bought the book on my brother Jason’s recommendation shortly after moving to Chicago. It was the first book I bought exclusively to read on the train (I took four trips per day between the ‘burbs, downtown, and Lincoln Park back then). It’s become one of my favorites and it is absolutely complimented by the time of year I re-read it.