Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

The traditional christmas take-down of ‘Elf’ is here

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Ah, Elf, the film that many think would be this generation’s ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’… which subtly forgets that this generation still has Bedford Falls, and that Channel 4 not showing ‘Elf’ two years in a row is not a national disaster. So it’s a delight to read Gary Bainbridge’s view on the film…

It has the rigid journey of a sat nav and the emotional heft of a Steven Moffat Doctor Who episode.

And that is because it is so relentlessly sweet, like the four food groups I mentioned earlier. Because a good Christmas film needs grit. You have to earn that happy ending.

Look at A Christmas Carol. Scrooge is a monster. But he’s laid low by the four ghosts, utterly destroyed, so that when he’s redeemed it means something, it has weight. Look at It’s A Wonderful Life. When George Bailey is on that bridge, he’s suicidal. It’s jet black. His life has failed. His business has failed. Mr Potter is going to destroy his town. That syrupy ending, where the people of Bedford Falls come to his aid, and he has his family about him is earned. It means something.

But when Buddy the elf is on his bridge, it means nothing. He’s been rejected by a man he didn’t even know existed until about three days before. He’s still got a dad who loves him in the North Pole. Boo-fucking-hoo. He’s only been missing half an hour.

Boom.

Some festive music? Here’s this year’s Christmas Rocktacular!

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


MP3 FileShow NotesRock Show RSS Feed

Every year I look out some great Christmas music online, avoiding the big name artists and million sellers you can hear on the radio and TV. They all feature in the ‘Christmas Rocktacular’ podcast which you can stream online, or download for free. Here’s this year’s festive collection.

Under Your Christmas Tree, by Jericko Rose (Jericko Rose on Reverb Nation).
O Come All Ye Faithfull, by Geoff Smith (thegeoffsmith.com).
Christmas In A Cup, by Erica Sunshine Lee (ericasunshinelee.com).
Broke The Bank This Christmas, by Mitch Benn (mitchbenn.com).
St. Benedicts Christmas Fayre, by Lisa Redford (lisaredford.com).
Space Christmas, by Shonen Knife (shonenknife.net).
Lonely Night (Silent Knight), by Rachel Bloom (racheldoesstuff.com).
Some Christmas Huggin’ and a Kissin’, by Geoff Smith (thegeoffsmith.com).

The Christmas Rocktacular Music Show

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


MP3 File – Show NotesRSS Feed - iTunes Link.

It’s been a bit of an up and down year for my music podcasting, but that’s not going to stop the annual Christmas show of seasonal podsafe music, classic Christmas tracks, and new favourites. And a bit of Geoff Smith.

With Side Show, Dogs Must Be Carried, Bing Crosby, Blammos, Jeffrey James, Nora And One Left, RockHopper Penguin, Coalmont, Mike Borgia & Juleit Echo, and Geoff Smith.

Are smartphone app stores better than the ‘Pass’ line at Craps?

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Here’s why the App Store game is great for the handset manfuactures but useless for the majority of developer and entrepeneurs. From the NY Times on releasing an app into the iTunes store before Christmas.

 Mr. Barnard and his small team have built apps like Tweet Speaker, which reads Twitter messages aloud, and Mirror, which turns the iPhone screen into a mirror with the help of the front-facing camera. “If we can get that snowball rolling and get it right, we can ride the momentum,” he said. “We’re going to give it a shot.”

I’m sorry, but releasing an app should not be a “gamble” in any sane and proper world. Bah, humbug.

The Country Gets Back Up To Speed

Monday, January 5th, 2009

One of the problems of the festive period is just how much a Freighter at sea the working population is. About two weeks before Christmas, every office across the land starts to put the brakes on and slow down so ‘no work is left over Christmas.’ That’s not to mention all the office parties that go on as well.

So you get the Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. And then you have this fallow period where some companies just stop completely, because there’s little point working for three days. Or the other horrible option – companies working with a skeleton staff at a limited capacity.

And then it happens all over again at Hogmanay and New Year, people call in sick because they partied too hard, and suddenly it’s the weekend and we all stop again.

Monday comes round, people realise coffee isn’t enough to get them through a regular speed day at work, and it takes a few days for the country to get back up to operating speed and back under sail. All told the UK economy has lost about three weeks of productivity. Can we afford that in a recession?

Simon Cowell, Keith Olbermann and the Christmas Number One

Friday, December 19th, 2008

I started writing a post yesterday for The Daily Dust, and rather than a paragraph or two, it started to turn into an almost Olbermann-esque polemic about The X-Factor, Simon Cowell and its effect on the Christmas charts. And I thought that with a bit of work, a bit more length, and some classy cliches, it could be a “Special Comment” at the end of Countdown. Maybe.

Anyway here it is, with the final script afterwards (and yes, I did improv some bits!)

The Musical Grinch Who Stole Christmas(with thanks to Keith Olbermann) The race to Christmas number one in the UK has been devalued by Simon Cowell

When I was young, this was the time of year that had you on the edge of your seats. This was the last few days before Christmas, but you had something to distract you from your presents. You had something that was more important. You had to decide who you wanted to be at the top of the charts and claim the Christmas number one.

In those days, those heady days of Paul McCartney, Jona Lewie, Mud, Slade, Roy Wood with Wizzard, we even forgave Shaking Stevens and Elton John. Christmas was a fair and honourable race that everyone in the country all partook in.

Even those who failed in the race, those that many say should have been the rightful winners, were duly rewarded with inclusion on the many Christmas compilation albums and ensuing royalties that let them buy a bottle of wine every year. That was the pact. The covenant. They did the cliches, the sleigh bells, the children’s choirs – we bought into that view, we bought the singles, and everyone knew that Christmas was special.

Until reality TV arrived.

There has been no faster way to devalue the spirit of Christmas than this crass, media driven sledgehammer. After three solid months of free advertising on every single media outlet, the national press, the radio and commercial television, the minds of the watchers have been conditioned to accept the winner as being bigger than The Beatles. The effect lasts about a week, but that’s enough for our Grinch to steal the Christmas Number One.

And our Grinch, Simon Cowell, has had this since 2003. The year before the warning signs were there, as Girls Aloud and One True voice were created to battle each other for this spot, excluding everyone else from the race. We hoped it would be a one-off.

We were wrong.

2003 was to prove the epilogue to a tradition that has run from a time before Noddy Holder’s “It’s Christmas” boomed out across the nation. The Darkness, a last gamble glam group from Lowestoft knew the rules, and penned “It’s Christmas Time, Don’t Let The Bells End.”

In a cruel twist, it reached number two, joining the greatest song of all time, A Fairytale of New York in the bin marked “Should have been.” And to stick the knife in further, the number one was “Mad World”

Never a truer song title has been sung

The winner of the X-factor has been all but guaranteed the Christmas Number One. It doesn’t matter what they sing, who sings it, or whether they will feature on Now That’s What I call Christmas in ten years time. Do songs called That’s My Goal, A Moment Like This and When You Believe do not speak of family, of friends, or a deeper relationship with the world and the human condition.

They said pop will eat itself. If that’s the case, then Mr Cowell has a Michelin Star atop his Christmas Tree. His chosen track this year is a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, and everyone outside of Sony BMG and Syco are hoping that a download only cover of this song, now eligible for the charts, from Jeff Buckley can put a stop to this madness of capitalism from the music industry.

I fear that this will not be enough and our Grinch will laugh all the way to the bank having stolen what was once precious to an entire nation.

Cross posted from The Daily Dust, which you should really check out.