Stem The Slide

My wife decorated a box with gig tickets for me to store my other gig tickets in for Christmas. A great idea (shame about a few of the tickets glued on the outside of the box though) and as per usual when I see a pile of these variously coloured pieces of rectangular paper I always seem to reminisce.

I started writing this at my parents house where we usual end up on Boxing Day – or on alternate years my sisters house. Yesterday I found the ticket below from twenty years ago!

As I’m the only driver in the family I end up driving people around. When my grandad came over on Boxing Day I’d be the one to pick him up and take him home so he could face a few whiskies whilst he was here.

For three or four consecutive Boxing Days I’d go to the Wheatsheaf in Stoke on my way home where a few local bands would play on the evening of the 26th. They were always well attended by a gaggle of friends and they always used to be a real laugh. Nothing too serious, just a bunch of people watching some often worse for wear bands play.

I often see gigs in inaccessible towns and cities advertised for tonight and often wish I could break the Christmas cycle and watch a band play. I realise how much I miss the Boxing night gigs.

Reverse, a “power pop punk” group, should have been bigger than they were which eventually should have lead to some success between 1990 and 1997. They nearly signed to Mushroom Records – one time home to Muse, Garbage and The Wildhearts – before the label was involved in a takeover by Rupert Murdoch.


The Power Of Love

Merry Christmas.

It’s definitely not a white one here, more of a damp squib and getting milder later. It’d be interesting to experience an Australian Christmas in the heigh of their summer. A high of 23°C (or 74°F) in Sydney today according to my weather app.

Anyway, on to Christmas Day’s tune. I’ve had a soft spot for this Liverpudlian band for over 30 years. I loved their debt single Relax when I heard it on the chart countdown on Radio 1, even though I wasn’t old enough to figure out what the song was about. This was Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s third consecutive number one single in the UK.

Debut album Welcome to the Pleasuredome would rank very highly if I did a list of albums played over the years. That, along with Status Quo’s In the Army, were my first two vinyl purchases I ever made, shortly before my love of metal kicked in.

This song has also become one of those “our tune” kind of songs between the wife and I. We had it played at our wedding way back when and it is one of maybe five songs I have danced to. I don’t dance, or as Genesis put it in 1991 I can’t dance.

Similar to the previously posted Stop the Cavalry, this isn’t a song about Christmas. It has been embraced by the festive hordes due to it’s promotional video that revolves around the nativity scene. That was more to do with its late release in the year (19th November) and record company executives cashing in on the Christmas vibes. For that reason it appears to be pretty rare to hear this song played on the radio between January and October!

Fairytale Of New York

Still trying to get into that festive vibe – apparently watching Saw V will not achieve that! Who knew?

Presents wrapped and under the fake tree. The imitation fire is roaring and we’ve just watched the 20 Greatest Moments of Star Wars followed by the Robot Chicken Christmas Special: The X-Mas United which didn’t really help as we may have continued watching Saw! And the alcohol is flowing.

So let’s give another festive tune a go. Depending on my mood this track is my favourite, or second favourite, Christmas song. For me like many other people, this is probably the only track by The Pogues you will know. I think I like this one so much due to it being gritty and not so sickly sweet and jolly like most of the other festive releases. Also I have a soft spot for New York, one day I’ll make it there for Christmas.

To date it has been released 13 times in the UK and it has never reached the number one slot, peaking at number two on its debut release in 1987. Bizarrely the BBC briefly insisted on an edited song to be aired 20 years after its initial release due to some of the language used. That lasted about 24 hours.

Well time to go as its nearly Christmas Day and I don’t really want the Krampus visiting.

Stop The Cavalry


The Christmas song that actually wasn’t released as a Christmas song! For years my mum always said that when she heard this song on the radio then she knew it was getting close to Christmas.

The song reached number 1 in the French charts during the summer of 1981!  In the UK it was released during November and the song features the line “I wish I was at home, for Christmas” and has been a Yuletide hit since!

This song has been Lewie’s one and only hit – kept of the top slot in the UK by two reissues of John Lennon singles released after his death. He was also part of the Stiff Records roster, a label I have always associated with a more punk and new wave labels. He would have rubbed shoulders with the likes of Madness, Nick Lowe, The Pogues, Kirsty MacColl, Motorhead, The Plasmatics, The Adverts, Ian Dury and the Blockheads and The Damned!

Posted on Jukebox 20

December 11th 2008

Hello World  I’m back!

Trying hard to get into the festive mood, but working in retail doesn’t help, neither do the near tropical temperatures we are experiencing at the moment.  Looking out of the window and it’s blue skies and 9C, so listening to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra sing about Ghosts of Christmas Eve and doing their version of O Come All Ye Faithful just feels wrong!

No Presents For Christmas

Ah December is upon us. The season of joy to all men whilst wearing gaudy jumpers for the holiday season and being sociable to people you only ever seem to bump into around Christmas.

It’s the wife’s works Christmas party tomorrow so I suppose I’d better try and get into the spirit of things – with spirits will help of course. Here’s a delightful Yuletide ditty for anyone else getting ready for the festivities – even though for many Christmas will be celebrated a few days early inside the the numerous cinemas worldwide.

Danish vocalist Kim Bendix Petersen is better known by his alter ego King Diamond. King left (or temporarily disbanded) cult band Mercyful Fate in 1984 go solo with another two fifths of Mercyful Fate.

I can remember getting a copy of the bands sophomore album Abigail in 1987 or 1988 and being completely blown away by it. It was constantly in the ghetto blaster I “borrowed” from my sister and played the album relentlessly, even when I walked to my grandparents house and they only lived five doors up the street!!

King Diamond, the vocalist, is definitely a love / hate proposition. Most of his releases are concept albums weaving a tale about ghostly going ons. The Dane does all the parts and his falsetto vocals don’t appeal to some.

In the UK the band have been the antithesis of prolific, playing maybe half a dozen shows here in their three decade career. They headlined Friday night at 2013’s Bloodstock Festival and it remains one of my highlights from the history of the festival and I’ve been to every single one since its inception in 2003, so that’s a fair few bands to overhaul to reach the top of the pile. Musically the band were spot on, the stage show was there and King carried off all the vocal parts to perfection and for an outdoor festival the sound into the crowd was perfect and all the intricacies performed by the band were audible. My best friend isn’t a fan and he still rates it highly as one of the festivals best performances.

I already have a ticket for their show in London next June and hopefully I’ll be in the crowd at Hellfest.

No Presents For Christmas was King Diamond’s first solo release in 1985 as a 12″ single and actually released on December 25th. There’s no video made for this track and the live fan videos don’t do the song justice.