For the past few weeks I've been working on a blog post about how we find purpose in life but to tell you the truth, it's hard going. I'm fascinated by people who seem to know exactly what they were put on this earth to do but can't help but regard them a discreetly raised eyebrow. (Most of the time, I can't decide whether, in the words of Yeats and Lou Reed, I'm 'filled with a passionate intensity' or 'lack all conviction'.)
I've decided that the purpose post will be my first one of the New Year - how's that for a masterful blend of procrastination and self-discipline? But, in the meantime as my Hungarian Darling and I fill the apartment with jingle bell rock, I've decided on a Christmas cop-out and I'm going to list my top five weirdest Christmas songs of all time.
El Vez (AKA Robert Lopez) made his bones mimicking Elvis but he also covers a whole range of people, from Iggy to Dylan. For some truly bizarre reason this starts out as PIL's terrific first single 'Public Image'.
A subtle understated take on Howlin' Wolf's 'Back Door Man', this salute to a Santa who 'only comes but once a year' actually has a pretty good groove to it. Clarence Carter was also responsible for the genuinely excellent southern soul classic 'Patches'.
From Esquivel's unclassifiable merry christmas from the space-age bachelor pad album. Half of this album was recorded in 1959, the other half is tracks from all over the place. Esquivel was often Ol' Blue Eyes' opening act in Vegas. Proof that Frank did have a sense of humour?
OK, enough of this shit. The trouble with the 'so bad it's good' ironic approach to music is that it starts to get pretty nauseating after a while. This, by rock and roll poet laureate Chuck Berry, is one of the few Christmas songs that manages to be clever, seasonal and rockin'. Keith's version is splendidly wobbly - like grandma on the eggnog.
Spector's Wall of Sound, with its monumental mix of bombast, schmaltz and true pure pop emotion is perfect for Chritma songs (as Elvis would have said it) and his A Christmas Gift For You has never been bettered. This track is by Darlene Love and sounds as smooth as a sleigh running in California snow.
Like all music lists, this one could have run and run but it's time to draw the line. But, before I go-ho-ho, pray tell me: what's your favourite Chritma song? Bad or good, it doesn't matter.