Thursday, 22 December 2011
Please, no more Jingle Bells!
There is a store on the west end of Edinburgh’s Princes Street near the Caledonian Hotel which sells Scottish-themed products, the sort of tartan tat that’s most likely made in China. I’ve never been in – I can’t stand this sort of thing – but I could not help but notice it on the two occasions when I walked past – it blares out pipe and drum music, horrible stuff really loud. It was bad enough for me, passing in moments; it must be intolerable for the staff, who have to listen to this ghastly racket all day long.
I have music in mind, or rather muzak, the sort of background noise that Wikipedia defines as elevator music, sounds on a cycle, an endless loop. In discussion recently I mentioned that one of the horrors of Christmas is that supermarkets (I have my local Tesco in mind) insist on pumping out seasonal noise, jolly tunes on the loop, tunes coming round time and time and time again.
I don’t know what they are attempting to do in this, put people in the mood, perhaps, for spending and happy times in Tesco. Well, it’s not working, at least so far as I’m concerned; I work on a different psychology. It makes me shop as quickly as I can, get what I need and get out before my ears are hammered by Frosty the Snowman yet one more time! It’s the people who work there I feel most sorry for, people who have no choice but to be beguiled by Frosty or Rudolf for as long as they are on shift. To my mind this constitutes the very acme of cruel and unusual punishment!
I had an experience of this once myself. I was in Havana over the Christmas and New Year period a few years ago, staying in the Hotel Parque Central, right in the heart of the city. The usual Christmas horrors were played from the bar by the roof-top swimming pool. I’m not much for sun-bathing (frying like a fry bores me!), which is just as well, as I would have gone quietly mad with that as a constant background. Swimming or lunching to this accompaniment was bad enough!
I finally cracked on 2 January. “Look”, I said to the barman in my broken Spanish, “Christmas is over. Can we please, please have some Cuban music, some salsa, anything but Jingle Bells?” And that was that, a sigh of universal relief.
I’m not Scrooge; I do enjoy some Christmas-themed music, just not the mass market stuff. What’s my favourite Christmas song, you may wonder? Why, it’s a fairy tale, a strangely poignant one. I do hope you all have the kind of holiday you most wish for yourself. :-)
Posted by Anastasia F-B at 16:32
Labels: christmas, music, popular culture
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
. . . I hear you, Ana, and I'm here to help!ReplyDelete
I couldn't agree with you more about horrid Christmas music and so I offer you, as my Christmas present, this video with its crap acoustics and marginally competent recording technician--but what a phenomenal voice and wow--what a song!
There's no secret personal agenda in the title, but now that I know you too love oysters, ice-cold martinis, and The Pogues, I feel sure that this song will soothe your soul . . . http://youtu.be/Ro9WMK61Y88
I will also probably post a comment about politics and naked women over the holiday period, and I send this with best wishes to you for a merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year in 2012--Chris
Too true! We started hearing Rudolf on the Radio after Halloween for Gods Sake.ReplyDelete
My fave song:
Dave Matthews _ Christmas Song
Christmas has been like sooo! commercialized! Do they sell posters of Mel Gibson as "William Wallace" of "Braveheart" fame at the Scotty store?ReplyDelete
I always say that Christmas hasn't really begun until I hear "Fairytale" for the first time, so thank you Ana.ReplyDelete
If I had the misfortune to work somewhere like your Tesco or my local ParknShop, I'd be calling in sick...sick of the tinny bloody "festive" music they insist on playing over the PA system. As a customer, I get very impatient at this time of year at the checkout if the person in front of me is dithering or fumbling with their purse, and all I can think is "for fuck's sake stop faffing about so I can escape before I hear bloody Jingle Bells".ReplyDelete
Ana, it is such a joy to read your musings! I remember that shop in Edinburgh, although (being from a Scottish Colonial family) I was thrilled to hear the sounds of pipes (instead of the usual retail musak)! I guess it is a genetic thing (you are an ENGLISH patriot, after all) :DReplyDelete
As far as the effect on the workers, its not as bad as you might think - once, a long, LONG, time ago (I think when I was on winter break from uni) I worked at one of those chain retail places. At first I thought (being very musically talented and having a well-trained ear) that I would go mad - but what I found is that after just a couple of hours, the music just doesn't register on your ears. I guess it one of those self-protective features of the human brain.
"Fairytale" has also become one of my favourites, ever since I learned about it from one of your comments elsewhere in the blogosphere. I ran across a BBC special on YouTube about its creation - how tragic! It already had a rep for being "gritty" (as my youngest brother lives in NYC, I know the truth of it), but it seams almost mythic that the female lead died a bloody death whilst on holiday w/her children :(
Chris, that was excellent; thanks. I'd never heard of this band. Anyway, have a great Christmas and New Year. I'll see you in 2012, the year of the Maya. :-)ReplyDelete
Coll, that was good too. Similar wishes for a great holiday. Waes Hail. :-)ReplyDelete
Anthony, oh probably. Check if you ever come to Edinburgh. I hope you had a cool Yule. :-)ReplyDelete
Dear David, you are very welcome. Have a super Christmas. :-)ReplyDelete
Dennis, I come close to trolly rage if people block the isle! Have a Jingle Bells free Christmas.ReplyDelete
CB, yes, poor Kirsty; it's so sad. But she will always be remembered for this brilliant and poignant song.ReplyDelete
Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful Colonial Christmas. :-) On the subject of which I once read the menu for a Christmas dinner served up by Washington at his Mount Vernon home. It was mouth-wateringly unbelievable, with so many delicious-sounding courses!
Finally a message to Adam, who used to come to these pages on a regular basis. Though you may never see this, and I have no idea where you are now, I wish you a very happy Christmas. All the very best, dear Adam.ReplyDelete
As a former choirboy, I have a great fondness for traditional English carols and the ceremony of 9 Lessons & Carols (KJ version only), though my favorite yuletide service was always Christmas Eve evensong, when the vast building was dark save for the choir reading lamps and the lamp for the organ.ReplyDelete
I loathe almost all the seasonal pop tunes, but I quite like this tale from Dan Fogelberg:
Calvin, thanks for that. Here, you might find this quite soothing. I love it.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for being a regular and highly informed contributor here. Do have a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous New Year. :-)
A wonderful Christmas to you, too, Ana, and a very happy New Year.ReplyDelete
My favourite Christmas song as well, Ana.ReplyDelete
Happy Christmas to you, and best wishes for the New Year.
Merry Christmas, Ana! And to your readers & all lovers of Liberty, wherever they may be!ReplyDelete
And to you, dear Araminta. :-)ReplyDelete
To you too, Bob, a great blogger and a dear American friend. :-)ReplyDelete
Think on Adam, get in his head young witch, the geographic distance matters not.ReplyDelete
Anthony, I rather think I got too far into Adam's head. I burn too bright.ReplyDelete
Yes, a somewhat sensitive chap, he is probably just taking a sabbatical leave from the Imp.ReplyDelete
There is more I could say here, Anthony, but it's best that some things are allowed to rest.ReplyDelete