The Pogues’ most famous (or infamous) contribution to Christmas playlists?

  • Piece: The Fairytale of New York;
  • Composer: Kirsty MacColl;
  • Arranger: Jock McKenzie.

In the last three decades, The Pogues’ and Kirsty MacColl’s Christmas song has topped many a personal Christmassy playlist. From mixtape to MP3 and Spotify, it is a must at Christmas parties, pub jukeboxes and supermarket aisles.

Yet Christmas in 2020 is unlike no other. There have been no Christmas parties in the traditional sense, pubs have been closed for most of this year. BBC Radio One has decided not to play that tune in its original form due to its lyrical content. Radio Two, on the other hand, is playing the full, uncensored version.

If the Beeb wondered where they could find another version of The Fairytale of New York, they could have played Lofthouse Brass Band’s version. No censorship required, because it is entirely instrumental. Job done, both camps placated. (If we still had needle time restrictions, they would have brought in a brass band or The Mike Sammes Singers). Jock McKenzie’s arrangement is a nifty, bouncy number. The enthusiasm in the players can be felt in this clip.

Tomorrow’s Advent Calendar window will give us a Cornet Solo by a legendary cornetist from Foden’s Band. Stay tuned for further announcements.

Behind the door

This Advent Calendar lark is making us all hungry. In our case, that classic New York City dish of thin crust pizza. It looks like one of Dominos Pizza’s spicy ones.

S.V., 20 December 2020.

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