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I don't do "holiday spirit" - The online computery journal thingy of a turtle

Dec. 9th, 2010

06:31 pm - I don't do "holiday spirit"

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Christmas. Meh. I hate it. No, I don't hate Christmas per se. I'm indifferent to it. I'm just sick of most Christmas music.

A few days ago, I went to Which Wich? (yes, the question mark is part of the name) for lunch. Which Wich (the question mark is OPTIONAL) is in the same little plaza as Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which I briefly considered, but I decided to go for the healthier option and get a turkey sandwich at Which Wich. I walked in and immediately heard "The Little Drummer Boy".


Come, they told him, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum
This baby's your new king, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum
You have to give him a gift, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum
But my broke ass is broke, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum
How about I lay down some beats, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum
Rum-pa-pum-pum
Rum-pa-pum-pum
Rum-pa-pum-pum
Rum-pa-pum-pum
Rum-pa-pum-pum
Ad nauseumnauseam

Suddenly I was gripped with the nearly overwhelming urge to NOT hear "The Little Drummer Boy". But I kept it together long enough to get my sandwich, chips and drink. I decided sitting in my car and eating was preferable to listening to any more Christmas music. On my way towards my car, I peeked in Five Guys for a minute, to hear what they were playing.

Classic rock! Music I actually like! If I hadn't decided to eat healthy, I could be sitting at a table and listening to the Stones, man!

I like some novelty Christmas songs, but when I go out in public I never hear any of the actually good ones. The only one that ever seems to get played is the one that has gotten old the fastest, "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer".

Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas eve
YOU can SAY it's ANNOYING when I SHOUT every third line instead of SINGING IT
But as for me and Grandpa, we don't give a shit

Where's Allan Sherman? ("It's a Nakashuma!") Where's Tom Lehrer? ("Hark, the Herald Tribune sings...") Weird Al? (Air raid sirens in tune with sleigh bells!) Even Bob Rivers? ("Now why the hell are they BLINKING?!") How about Jonathan Coulton? I'd love to hear "Chiron Beta Prime" at Quizno's.

But I went to Quizno's today, and they were playing the least interesting variety of novelty Christmas songs: celebrity novelty Christmas songs. I walked in and heard the Ramones singing something containing the phrase "merreh merreh merreh", the same way they'd sing "baybeh baybeh baybeh". Blaah. But it wasn't that bad, and I was getting tired of eating in my car, so I sat at a table to enjoy my turkey & Swiss. I heard a few more celebrity novelty Christmas songs, and I noticed that unlike real novelty songs, they don't actually make fun of the holiday. They're just, "Look, mom, I'm getting into the Christmas spirit on my latest album!"

Then I heard some teen pop cover of "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time". You thought the original Paul McCartney version was nauseating? Imagine it with Auto-Tune, drum machine and a relentless sleigh bell loop. Uuuugh!! Fortunately, by then I was done eating, so I left.

Some novelty songs have been around and been popular long enough that they're considered modern classics, such as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" or "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree". However, that one was ruined hard for me several years ago. I worked at an internet upstartstartup called 5411.com. Our office was in the same building as a methadone clinic, and 5411.com ultimately failed, but those two things are not related to each other or to the point of this story, which is that I often ate lunch in the cafeteria downstairs, which around Christmastime was decorated with a dancing Mickey Mouse figure that played "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" over and over and over and OVER. Just imagine sitting down to eat a crappy sandwich while hearing:

Rockin' around the Christmas tree
For the fifteen millionth time

So my antidote to Christmas is not to say "bah humbug" or even to sing that Grinch song, of which Wikipedia lists no less than 31 cover versions, but just to get back in my car and play what I wanna hear! Right now I'm starting to work my way through Talking Heads' catalog for the first time in a few years.

Psycho killer, qu'est-ce que c'est? Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa...
(Note: not to be confused with "fa la la la la")

Comments:

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From:kinkyturtle
Date:December 10th, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
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That's the only sincere Christmas song I like, but I never hear it played anywhere; probably because the vocals are mixed a bit too far back.

Same problem as "Careless Santa". Dangit, why are some of the best songs ruined by poor mixing?
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From:penh
Date:December 10th, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
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That would have been the Ramones' "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)," which can be found on my personal Christmas mix CD, "A Very Ferret Christmas." Along with Tom Lehrer's "A Christmas Carol" and Weird Al's "Christmas at Ground Zero," of course. I haven't heard of Bob Rivers, though, drat the luck. Have you heard Henchman 21 & 24's cover of "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time"? It's actually good, which I wouldn't have thought was possible.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:December 10th, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)
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Hmm... I have a feeling I'd like this more if I actually watched the Venture Bros.
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From:penh
Date:December 10th, 2010 01:31 am (UTC)
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You oughta! It's a great show. :) And yes, the bickering is funnier when the characters are familiar.
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From:chipuni
Date:December 10th, 2010 01:16 am (UTC)
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I get really, really annoyed quickly with songs that repeat. So when I hear:

We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas,
We wish you a merry Christmas...

etc.

We won't stop until you buy more,
We won't stop until you buy more,
We won't stop until you buy more,
We won't stop until you buy more,
We won't stop until you buy more,
We won't stop until you buy more...

etc.

I get angry.
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From:xakko
Date:December 10th, 2010 01:33 am (UTC)
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"Chiron Beta Prime" popped up on shuffle today, yay!

the worst i've encountered - and it's happened twice so far - is that new cover of "Last Christmas".

i hear Richard Cheese (off his Silent Nightclub album) saying "we were going to do a swinging version of "Last Christmas" by Wham, but that song sucks..."
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From:barberio
Date:December 10th, 2010 02:57 am (UTC)
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I worked retail over several Christmas periods. During the era of the one and a half hour cassette loop... *shudder*

In that vein, have a Kate Bush Christmas special...



...ah, if only they played that from time to time, at least it'd be a change...
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:December 10th, 2010 09:32 am (UTC)
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That is weird in a way I like!

(And I especially like the fact that she doesn't sing the word "Christmas" once every ten seconds like in some songs. Did the word "Christmas" even come up at all? I didn't hear it!)
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From:deckardcanine
Date:December 10th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
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Depends if you count "when Bing Crosby sings 'White Christmas.'"
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From:ringbark
Date:December 10th, 2010 07:14 am (UTC)
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You take the advice in Psycho Killer seriously with these songs:

Far better: run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run away!
And that's the best advice when you hear the novelty songs.

Spare a thought for the staff at the establishments concerned. You can run away. Even if you don't, you're there for an hour tops once or twice. They work full shifts every day listening to all that.

By the end of the month, Psycho Killer won't be a bad choice for them either.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:December 10th, 2010 09:34 am (UTC)
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Ooog, yeah. Reminds me of when I worked at Astroworld. The piano music playing in the Americana Square section just beyond the front gate was nice... until I had to hear it over and over again.
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From:rikchik
Date:December 10th, 2010 12:39 pm (UTC)
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I keep hoping that someday I'll hear "Father Christmas" by the Kinks in a store - no luck yet.
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From:thecanuckguy
Date:December 12th, 2010 08:13 pm (UTC)
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I don't mind some Christmas music (I even have a Christmas music collection on my iPod (note that everything on my iPod is there because I want it there, not because it's tagged along on an album where I like some songs but not others), my only Britney Spears is on there because of that (she doesn't do a bad "Santa, Can You Hear Me?") John Lennon's "So This Is Christmas" is good, and Tom Jackson does the definitive "Huron Carole" in my book.

I do agree about the Grinch song, though. It should be a federal offense for anyone except Thurl "Tony the Tiger" Ravenscroft (the original) to sing it (although, when I hear him sing it I, as a bass or baritone depending on my mood, like to sing along). The punishment is double if it's a woman (which seems to invariably be the covers I hear of it lately, even more than the Ravenscroft original)
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From:nefaria
Date:December 22nd, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
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Thought you might like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDfPlUvO1mE&feature=player_embedded
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