If countries were ranked on the quality of music playing in public spaces, Australia would be third world. Shopping centres, supermarkets, fashion boutiques and most disappointing of all, music stores. They’re all drought ravished, impoverished wastelands. Of pop music.
Sanity? Call it insanity, because that’s the only thing inspired by the constant blaring pop remixes. They might play the odd decent tune, but I’ve never heard it. The other chain music stores are just as bad.
Only in the independents do you ever hear anything decent, as the people who run those stores aren’t just there to make money, they’re also passionate about music. Crazy huh?
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One more sleep till D-Day… but this year, I’ve actually felt good about Christmas. It’s not a familiar feeling. In my adult life, Christmas tradition has involved ambivalence tending to hostility, a fortnight of creeping despair, then curling up after a bottle of cognac to cry in a corner and throw up mince on the rug.
Many of those years, if the bloke in the red suit had existed, I would have left him out a roast leg of venison and hoped that the reindeer could smell it on his clothes. No doubt many of us go through stages like this, where we want to go out and club a ringy-dingy elf right in the head.
And no wonder. The season can’t compete with how it was as a kid, when days were as long as novels and “Ten more minutes” was a judicial sentence. The heat somehow arrived earlier. The lead-up to Christmas stretched out to the horizon, as afternoons led a charge deep into the evenings and the grass dried to gold. Stepping outside to air already hot before we’d dressed for school. The toy shops excruciating in their possibility. The advent calendar crawling by, glue and crappy chocolate marking days that dragged out their final demise like a row of dying grandparents.
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I can’t do Christmas carols any more. I can’t. I can maybe handle Jingle Bells, but only because my brain automatically reverts to the clearly superior “Batman smells, Robin ran away” version, but Jingle Bell Rock can seriously go and die in a chestnut-roasting fire. Any song that asks me to “mix and a-mingle to a jinglin’ beat” ceases to deserve a place in my Yuletide vernacular.
Seriously, what does that even mean? That’s the problem with Christmas carols: they don’t make any frigging sense. Even after I’ve suspended my disbelief regarding virgin births, flying reindeer, the existence of myrrh and the not-everybody-has-a-chimney thing, there’s still a lot of bunk in Christmas carols that just doesn’t add up.
I’ll give you the fat-guy-who-doesn’t-work-very-often and the not-being-able-to-find-a-hotel-vacancy-at-Christmas-time, though. But the rest is all a bit iffy.
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