Christmas Classics

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Growing up, we had two tapes in our house. One was Johnny Mathis Christmas Classics, the other, the Carpenters best of,’Gold’. Some people’s parents smoked dope and tried to convince them the Stones rocked harder than Stone Temple Pilots. Mine set up a religious video rental store and pined over kiwi operatic heliotrope Kiri Te Kanawa.

The first cassette I bought might have been Nevermind, but by the time I’d got my hands on one of those new fangled Compact Disc Walkmen™, I was buying Jagged Little Pill and making Simply Red mixtapes. My musical shame knew few limits. To this day the opening synth chord of 99 Luftbaloons is all it takes to get my head a bobbin’.

Now my sins are less obvious, hidden kinks in an otherwise flawless hipster veneer. In between gorging on Ani Di Franco retrospectives and trading early Magnetic Fields albums, I occasionally lock the door, pull the curtains closed, and return to my all time favourite live band. I was there when a tired and emotional Adam begged the Olympia to pelt him with jelly beans. I sang along with the Point to a twenty minute rendition of Omaha. I even bought that Angels of the Silences single with the eleven minute fifty four second Round Here b-side, hunted down the early 90’s unreleased electropop experiments, and found a low quality version of the titular ‘August and Everything After’; the only time they ever played that track live. It’s a monstrous admission, but yes, I am a Counting Crows fan.

If all of this has a point, it’s a post hoc one, like telling yourself you’re basically a good person after a weekend alone with with an Olsens DVD box set. Maybe I’m not the only one. Perhaps we all have little musical secrets, headband unironically to Heavy Horses, twirl our skirts to Kenickie, toke in our back garden sheds to Deserter’s Songs. If we’re not ashamed we probably should be. Think of this as an intervention. The sooner we can admit our beastly fetishes, the sooner we can return to our Devo box sets and faded vintage La’s tees. For now, ‘Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be bright. From now on, our troubles will be out of sight.’

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