SQUINTER’S lying in bed on Saturday morning fiddling with the radio, trying to find a station that doesn’t make him want to hurl the wireless at the window.
There’s the usual cacophonous parade as the dial is turned: DJs on local commercial stations with pretend accents; resting actors hysterically speed-reading ads and promising Christmas delivery; French talk shows testing Squinter’s A-Level memory; hip-hop; heavy metal; country; MOR; R&B.
One of the great benefits of the digital age is that a read-out on the wireless instantly tells you what you’re listening to and when Squinter happened upon a saccharine rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas he looked down to see that the station playing Christmas music in mid-November was an outfit called SmoothXmas.
Now Squinter had no idea that such a channel existed, but exist it most certainly does. For what purpose?, a nation demands to know. Is there a silent army of listeners out there who want to listen to Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé on a loop before the Yanks have even celebrated Thanksgiving? Are there people who actually want their house or car to sound like Tesco on Christmas Eve?
For the battle is already over as far as the supermarkets are concerned. The racket that passes for Christmas music has been blasting out in the aisles for the best part of two weeks now and already staff have that glazed look in their eyes which gives you an idea of what a white noise session at Palace Barracks might have done to a person.
The Performing Rights Society, which collects fees on behalf of performers from radio stations, clubs, supermarkets and the like, recently drew up a list of the top ten earners at Christmastime. Here’s their list of the most played songs and attached is Squinter’s kick-the-wireless rating ®. Supermarket employees look away now.
- White Christmas – Bing Crosby
The kind of Christmas this conjures up after the 50th hearing is not white, but it sounds like it. 4/10
- Lonely This Christmas – Mud
‘Try to remember a house that’s not a home, next time you hear this your mouth will start to foam.’ 7/10
- Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade
‘It’s Christmaaaaaaaasssss!’ Yes, we heard you. Now step away from the glue. 8/10
- I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day – Wizard
Do you? Do you, really? When are you due back on Planet Earth, by the way? 9/10
- Stop the Cavalry – Jonah Lewie
‘Wish I was at home for Christmas’ (instead of this big empty room with the foam walls). 6/10
- Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Bruce Springsteen
The Boss. From his seminal 1982 album ‘Massive Alimony Payments Due’. 7/10
- All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
Altogether now, ‘Ba dumpa dumpa dumpa...’ (that’s not the intro, by the way – that’s people throwing themselves down the stairs). 10/10
- Fairytale Of New York – The Pogues
‘Got on a lucky one, came in at eighteen to one…’ (Boxing Day racing in the local but didn’t collect a penny because the illegal bookie got cleaned out and legged it). 2/10
- Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid
‘And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas...’ Yes, Bob, very good. Let’s play a game, shall we? It’s called ‘Catch Yourself On’. You go first.
- Last Christmas – Wham!
A ski lodge, a blazing fire, beautiful people, big hair, sexual intrigue, wine, food. Where’s an avalanche when you need on