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Chris Brookmyre: Alternative Christmas Playlist

Chris Brookmyre: Alternative Christmas Playlist

For my seasonal contribution, I present my alternative Christmas playlist: three tracks that should be playing in every living room, restaurant and pub instead of those mindless atrocities by Cliff Richard and Shakin’ Stevens.

Manic Street Preachers: ‘Christmas Ghost’

Boasting a Seventies glam-rock stomp and bursting into life with a Wizzard-tribute sax solo, this song is a brashly joyous celebration that understands how fundamental nostalgia is to Christmas. Recalling a time in life when ‘a leather football was perfection’, while describing ‘Hotwheels on the dinner table’, Zulu on the TV and Milk Tray being passed around, this track conjures up the Yuletides of my youth like no other. And just when you think it can’t get any better, up comes the line: ‘Sleep through the Queen’s Speech – ’cause it means nothing to me’. This song is a three-minute time machine taking you back to your childhood.

Jimmy Eat World: ‘Last Christmas’

The Wham original was a guilty seasonal pleasure throughout my teens, so my belated discovery of a cover version by one of my favourite bands was possibly the best present I got last year. Acoustic and electric guitars replace those very dated synth chords, while Jim Adkins’ mellifluous voice can make any lyric sound heartfelt.

Eels: ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas’

In 2000 I bought XFM’s Big Issue charity CD It’s A Cool Christmas, which features a bounty of alternative Christmas numbers from the likes of Grandaddy, Teenage Fanclub, The Flaming Lips and Snow Patrol. The highlight for me, however, is the inimitable Mr E’s contribution, an uncharacteristically jolly and optimistic Power Pop number that would put a smile on the face of the most dedicatedly miserable Scrooge. The CD was worth the price for this line alone: ‘Baby Jesus – born to rock!’

 

 

How far would you go to protect the people you love? Would you take a fall? Would you take a bullet?
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