Idiot Features: X-Rated Xmas – The Creepy Underbelly of Christmas Music

Welcome, dear friends, to the inside of my head. Please, won’t you duck under that tinsel – watch the Christmas tree, mind –  and come join me by this crackling fire. Mistletoe? Oh, why not. It’s December, my favourite time of year when, as anyone that knows me will be able to tell you, I am overcome with oodles of festive cheer, joy and merriment to the most obnoxious degree. Feel that cool breeze on the back of your neck? That would be the collective sigh of ex boyfriends thankful that they won’t have to hear me relentlessly belting out Wham! again this year. Joyeux Noël! Feliz Navidad! Etc.

But, if Band Aid have taught us nothing – the original, of course, not the bastardised Band Aid 20 version, which predominantly showcased Joss Stone’s cry-face; apparently the children have not suffered enough – is that, underneath these layers of lumpy coats and post-ironic Christmas jumpers (it’s okay to admit you like your attire to have flashing reindeer noses on it now), there’s a dark and seedy underbelly to the yuletide merriment. Darker even than Scrooge kicking out little Timmy’s crutches from underneath his withered frame or the Spice Girls singing about boinking.

It’s not like national news reporting these days has become like a game of ‘Guess the Pervert,’ but sometimes it feels like it’s become like a game of ‘Guess the Pervert’; Elmo’s been accused: the age of innocence is no more. All of this can taint a person’s view of the world, so, with regret, I’m going to put aside these Christmas tree glasses, which have recently become a permanent addition to my face, and take a hard look at something I hold most dear to my heart: the Christmas tune.

Cliff Richard- Mistletoe and Wine

It’s not like I necessarily have anything against Sir Cliff, or his inability to move his face; the man’s been around since the first Christmas: he is deserving of his standing within this genre, after all. However, he does have an uncanny ability to fill me with a preternatural fear usually reserved for the likes of Tom Cruise; just look at the way he masterminds that creepy, overzealous sway and the legions of blank-eyed followers, mouthing along in the background. How does he stay so young? What’s behind that tiny-mouthed grimace? Was he born of a woman or simply hatched out of a giant egg? It’s a good job he’s such a devout Christian, otherwise I’d have him down as a prime candidate for fronting some strange, fundamentalist cult, who’d finally end it all by drinking that wine he’s banging on about, making this video both a horrific precursor and a warning to us all. Yep, thank God that’s one bullet dodged.

Wizzard- I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday

Strangely enough, not the bizarre, disjointed drummer boy/man, the disturbing playing of the piano or the frankly obscene amounts of blush that gets me with this one. Instead, some random guy in a pub said it best when he commented, “You’d get called a pervert for that now.”

Shakin’ Stevens- Merry Christmas Everyone

There is just so much I find intensely terrifying about this video that posing with a child whilst singing about cornering some poor, unsuspecting lass under the mistletoe for a snog barely even registers.

East 17- Stay Another Day

Oh look: those coats; those hideous goggles; those sweeping arm gestures that, coupled with those deeply furrowed brows and pain filled eyes, paint landscapes of emotion in a single gesture. As someone who spent a good few years waddling about in a puffa jacket  not something to be worn by a chubby 12-year-old, incidentally – I’m sympathetic to their plight. The fact that they can work in so many emotive arm-spreading gestures without toppling their precarious, top-heavy balance, leaving them rolling around on their puffy backs like an up-turned tortoise, is just all the more commendable. This also happens to be the only time I am able to tolerate the Boy Band in any way, shape or form (with a few brief weeks of misguided exception for A1-  they covered A-ha; Ben’s eyes were dreamy. I also wore a puffa jacket; I was a lost soul). However, let’s face it: Brian Harvey ran over himself in his own car and then blamed it on a jacket potato, which either makes him a hero or a complete raging loony. Plus, those hoop earrings make him look a bit like a genie. Extra points added for the simple facial contortion that makes the lyric, “I touched your face while you were sleeping,” sound like sleep-rape.

Phil Spector- A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector

I mean, there’s just so much.

The murder of Lana Clarkson.

Pulling a gun on the Ramones.

The gold coffin.

His face.