Friday 13 December 2013

All over bar the singing

Today - the end of term.  Busy day yesterday - marking the exam I set the day before, invigilating another exam, a journal club in the middle of the day, and a good few cups of tea.  I still have a couple of hours marking ahead of me today but I signed up to sing a couple of Christmas carols "Xmas novelty songs" with the other scientists, so I'll be roaring out the chorus mid-morning.  Chorus of what? I hear you say?  "Grandma go run over by a reindeer".  This is a loathsome confection: secular, cynical and condoning avarice.  I don't know where our HoD sourced it but none of the rest of the "choir" had heard it or even heard of it.  If you have a bucket handy you can see-and-hear it now.

But trained researcher me can now reveal the back-story.  The song was written by Randy Brooks for his pal Elmo Shropshire - a C&W singer - and released for the Christmas market in 1979. Elmo has a degree in veterinary medicine and goes on stage as Dr Elmo. He looks uncannily like the seepy compere at the end of Little Miss Sunshine. He recorded the song with his then wife as Elmo & Patsy and invested $40,000 of his own money in studio production.  Over the next few holiday seasons (no youtube back then), the ditty went viral and Elmo recouped his investment many times over.  $million$ are mentioned.  He and other creative people are wrangling with Sony over the carcass of the song that should have died - there are royalties from ringtones and downloads.  This serves as a metaphor of all that's wrong with Christmas.

Christmas is fine, it's good even, if you cherry-pick from what's available rather than feeling obliged to take the whole sorry 21st Century farrago on board..  A little saturated animal fat, especially if it is well roasted into potatoes, never harmed anyone; small gifts to small children are probably a Good Thing; a couple of glasses of wine is said to be great for the circulation.  I also think the whole event should hug The Solstice rather than start to extend its grasping hands right after Hallowe'en..  There I've spoken.  Now I have to go sing.

1 comment:

  1. we could offer up a vote on those two photos: which seems to have the more botox in the face (not a very Christmassy sentiment now is it, but durn it I hate that song)
    Just guessing but wonder does the HoD have teens at home who listen in to Christmas FM. Its a bit like the season itself, some nice bits and loads of rubbish, but its for charity so I guess that counts for something...anyway that particular ditty gets a lot of airplay. To enhance your Christmassy feeling here's the link: