bah humbug, Belle De Jour, Christina Monet, Christmas, Devo, hate Christmas, Mark E. Smith, punk, Santa Dog, Sex Pistols, The Cure, The Damned, The Fall, The Pretenders, The Ramones, The Residents, William S. Burroughs, X-mas
Tired of the same old Christmas rut? Me too–and then some! As a non-believer, I’ve gone through various stages since first walking out on an X-mas Mass, and the Church altogether, a little over 30 years ago, when a fat pig priest (didn’t even have the requisite “sanctimonious smile”) started talking A-bombs and calling down hellfire on the godless commies in the USSR … during the homily of an X-mas Eve mass!!!!. Now there’s an X-mas message of X-ian love for you! At first there was irony: wrapping gifts, alone, while listening to Second Edition by Public Image Limited (“Getting rid of the albatross….”); using newspaper, with its dire headlines, for wrapping; reworking, with my punky friends, the freshly assassinated Lennon’s words into “And so we hate Christmas, the old and the new….” Then came the “ignore it” faze–X-mas Eves at Revival or the Kennel Club in Philly with X-mas spent quietly nursing a bruised brain. Then came mid-life X-mas repentances in which I relented and dutifully purchased my gifts and sent my cards. Now I seem to be back to a healthy re-examination. In the end, I go through the motions where not doing so would offend a close friend or relative. Otherwise, hang it!
So, anyway, I’ve gone off topic and again dredged up the motley list of Christmas ditties from the various alternative subcultures that have enlivened the pale blue dot over the years. Enjoy! And do feel free to offer your own suggestions in the comments. Merry X-mas!
Motley and Incomplete List of Alternative X-Mas Hits
- The Fall – No X-Mas for John Quays From their seminal album “Live at the Witch Trials.” Always a holiday fave.
- The Fall – We Wish You a Protein Christmas
- The Fall – Jingle Bell Rock Filled with the spirit of the holidays, Mark Smith indulges a, dare I say it, jolly mood. Fun song set to a lively video.
- The Damned – There Ain’t No Sanity Clause A classic from the grandaddys of punk. The Damned are credited with playing the first punk concert at a Spanish bullfighting arena in 1975. Thirty-four years down the road they’re still going strong.
- Devo – Merry Something To You The Spudboys offer a non-denominational greeting.
- Lene Lovich – New Toy Technically not an X-mas song, but it is about desire for a new plaything and, hey, Target used it (bizarre irony) in an X-mas advertising campaign a few years back. Nice statement on the emptiness of consumerism appropriate to the season of enforced giving!
- The Sex Pistols – The Sex Pistols Christmas Party, 1977 This is actually quite sweet. The Sex Pistols doing a charity event at Ivanhoe’s in Huddersfield, Christmas Day 1977. The event was for the benefit of the families of striking firemen. Fun to see the boys mixing it up with the little kiddies.
- The Ramones – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight) Not Christmas night, not any night.
- Belle De Jour – Santa Dog
- Green Day – Punk Christmas I’m not sure they qualify, but what the heck?
- The Cure – Merry Christmas Everybody Cure’s take on the old Slade number, which has become something of a seasonal classic in Britain over the years.
- Christina Monet – Things Fall Apart
- The Residents – Santa Dog Santa Dog ain’t got no presents.
- The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping A guilty pleasure for me every year. For some reason, this song always reminds me of trudging through the snow to Rudy’s at Teele Square in Somerville, Mass. for some celebratory margaritas. What were we celebrating? A big snow, of course!
- The Pretenders – 2,000 Miles Charming Christmas vignette from Ms. Hynde.
- William S. Burroughs – The Junky’s Christmas (audio only; see below for links to the animated feature)
“The Junky’s Christmas” the classic William S. Burroughs tale brought to the screen, believe it or not, with stop-action animation! Mr. Burroughs himself appears briefly at the beginning and end.