Retro Xmas Revisited


Obviously, I spoke too soon.

Although technically today saw the unveiling of the New Year’s Day no. 1 (and it’s still Ed fucking Sheeran), people have still been buying the old Xmas songs. I couldn’t believe my eyes and had to count, and these are the official, Crookall-authenticated figures:

40 (yes, that’s 4-0, forty Xmas singles in the top 100.

17 in the top 30, which is more than 50%

And no fewer than 6 Xmas singles, all of them oldies, in the top 10, and that includes ‘Fairytale of New York’ gaining two places to reach no 5, and it hasn’t been that high since 2007, and only higher three times..

Even ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ has reached no 16, and it hasn’t been that high ever since the very first time it was released, forty-four years ago.

I don’t know what they put in the water this Xmas, but they’ve my permission to do so again eleven months from now.

Retro Xmas


I’m beginning to think that we might, just might, have a Retro Xmas no 1 this year.

If we do, it looks unlikely to be my dream choice, Kirsty and the Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’, though that’s climbed to no 7 this week. But Mariah Carey and Wham! have both moved up three places, to nos 2 and 3 respectively. All three of these songs peaked at no 2, first time out, and there’s got to be a definite chance of either Maria the Diva or the late George M going that final one better.

We’ll know at 6.00pm on Friday, when the Xmas chart gets announced. Maybe a Retro top 3? Whoever gave that a chance of happening, in the years of livestreams?

Come on you Pogues! (and dear, darling Kirsty).

Leo Baxendale: School’s Out Forever


No fan of comics, no matter how much they are removed from their childhood enthusiasms, can let the passing of Leo Baxendale go by without a formal salute. Baxendale, from Lancashire, was one of the greatest artists to work on the_Beano of legend, not to mention the even more anarchic comics of the Sixties, such as Wham and Smash. He worked on classic series such as Lord Snooty, Minnie the Minx and Little Plum, not to mention Frankie Stein and his icnic Uncle, Grimly Feendish.

But Baxendale’s immortality is secured by his having been the creator of the Bash Street Kids. I can’t type those words without images tumbling through my head.

Cartoonists tend to live long lives, and Baxendale’s reached 86 before succumbing to cancer, which really ought to learn to be more discriminating.

Baxendale’s brand of anarchy was tolerated by my parents as long as it was confined to the Beano or the Dandy but they objected to the likes of Wham and Smash, for which I had to rely on my mate Alan’s weekly order.

Despite that, I still grew up a happy absurdist, for which I can thanks Spike Milligan and the Goons. Lots of others got it from Leo Baxendale. All of us mourn the passing of a genius.

Fairytales and Tears


Everybody’s making a fuss about how Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Xmas is You’ has now returned for Xmas for a tenth successive year, especially as it’s leaped to no 6 in the chart, its highest position since the first Xmas of this run, when it got to no 4. It didn’t do that much better when it first appeared in 1994, peaking at no 2.

But you know we don’t care about that here. For this blog, there is but one Xmas song and that’s ‘A Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. This week, the record advanced fifty places to reach no 16, and that’s the record’s twelfth successive season, not to mention two previous visits, the first of these in 1987 when, like Mariah Carey, it peaked at no 2.

With two more Chart Fridays, there’s a possibility for the song’s first top 10 placing since 2007, especially as there seems to be a stronger (and earlier) than usual resurgence by the old Xmas favourites. Wham! have also hit the top 20 with ‘Last Xmas’, which is their tenth successive season (if you allow a highest place of no 57 in 2010) but only the third time they’ve reached the top 20 in that spell.

Shakin’ Stevens has hit the top 30, Wizzard and Michael Buble the top 40, and Band Aid (the original) no 41. And there’s another twelve Xmas classics in the mix, making up almost one-fifth of the top 100.

So, with tears always ready to be shed at the pure voice of the forever-missed Kirsty MacColl, lost to us sixteen years gone, on 18 December this year, and hope that a big splash will be made this year, I give you…

Xmas Starts Early 2


I work in a Call Centre. Unless the calls are flying thick and fast, we usually have televisions on in the background, with the sound off. This isn’t too much of a problem when it’s something like sport, where you can follow the pictures, but less successful on something like, say, Xmas videos.

Each year, we sit here for days on end watching MTV on the overhead screens as they plough through various Xmas oriented programmes, despite the futility of watching music with the sound off.

It’s the kind of programmes we get that gets me. Firstly, Has-Been Celebrity No 1 picks their Twenty Favourite Xmas Videos. These include such luminaries as Mariah Carey, The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, The Darkness, Slade, Wham!, Wizzard, Mel and Kim, Band Aid and the rest of the usual suspects.

This is then followed by Has-Been Celebrity No 2 picking their Twenty Favourite Xmas Videos, seventeen of which are the same as those chosen by Has-Been Celebrity No 1 but in a slightly different order.

After which Has-Been Celebrity No 3 picks their Twenty Favourite Xmas Videos, eighteen of which you’ve already seen during the prevuious two programmes, and you still haven’t heard a single one of them. In the case of fifty per cent of these videos, this is a bonus, especially if the choice has fallen on any John Lewis Xmas Ad Famous-Song-Done-Hypersensitively-At-A-Tempo-That-Would-Bore-A-Snail.

It’s not even December until next Monday. All a bit previous, what?