DE BURGH! – Why I Hate Christmas Songs And How We May Have Missed An Important Message From Space Because We Were Watching The Spice Girls
It’s December. So Christmas is bearing down on us like the uncontrollable rabid animal it undoubtedly is. There are many things I despise about the festive season, but top of the list has to be Christmas songs.
I’ll not rattle through a list, because there’s hundreds of them. But I will give a dishonourable mention. Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses. If this song were a person, I would lock it in my basement and torture it to death with a large variety of pointy objects. And I’m not even into that sort of thing.
If you’ve heard of it you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t heard of it, please DO NOT look it up on you tube. It’s not a “This is so awful it’s brilliant” situation. It’s just shit. But even it pales by comparison to the awfulness of what becomes the object of my ire every Yuletide : Chris DeBurgh.
I just want to make it clear that I am not jumping on some sort of Bill Bailey bandwagon here. This rant has been brewing inside me for years, long before the half troll, half wizard QI regular made it fashionable. Plus, there surely must have been reams of vitriolic prose written about this insincere and musically talentless Irish midget. If not, then there bloody well should have been.
Don’t misunderstand me; there is nothing wrong with being Irish, or indeed with being extremely short. Insincerity is a valuable tool under the right circumstances and ninety per cent of the population should never be allowed within a mile of a recording studio. There is, however, an awful lot wrong with Chris de Burgh.
I had the misfortune to catch the cringe worthy Stars In Their Eyes duet and subsequent audience with him and his look alike. I wanted to switch it off, but it just pulled me in like some kind of unavoidable Black Hole. A televisual singularity from which escape was impossible. Not that the contestant looked or sounded exactly like his famous counterpart. He looked more like his slightly better looking accountant brother. Still very similar though.
“Isn’t he amazing?” gushed de Burgh. No Chris, he is not. He looks and sounds very much like you so, by definition, he is not amazing. What is pretty astounding is that nature has produced someone who is not only capable of doing so but also has a burning desire to. And within your lifetime too. I shall not exhume the entire episode, as I find it problematic typing with a keyboard covered in regurgitated bile. I also don’t have enough computer memory to trawl through the atrociousness of his other musical offerings.
Though it’s probably a knocking bet that his wife never listened to “Lady In Red” again after he had run off with some piece of fluff twenty years younger with longer legs and firmer tits. If she ever listened to it in the first place. She was clearly out of his league. You can tell this by the fact that Chris’s daughter won Miss World. Consider the following photo of father and daughter:
Now, I’m aware that genetics is a bit more complicated than mixing paint but if a mixture of this man’s genes and his wife’s created Miss World, how gorgeous must his wife have been in her heyday? I’ve never summoned the bottle to Google an old picture of the woman because I assume her beauty must have been so luminous that viewing her face might weld my retinas to the back of my skull.
Despite all this, there is a de Burgh song which I have a soft spot for. He got me early, when I was too young to know any better. I briefly had a soft spot for the man himself, but cement being what is, it hardened before I could track him down push him in it. I hate the fact that this song has been inflicted on me and become part of who I am. He’s a bit like that wicked uncle who also got to you early, but you’ve never had the heart to tell on. Well, I’m telling on you now de Burgh.
The song is, of course, that perennial Christmas favourite, “A Spaceman Came Travelling.” It’s not the concept of the song which appals me, or even its seasonal tweeness. It’s unashamedly aimed at the Christmas market and quite upfront about the fact. Fair enough. The line “it was light years of time since his mission did start” is annoying because it is grammatically clumsy, and the light year is not a unit of time.
However, hit songs are not renowned for their syntactic preciseness and I’m a bit of a pedant when it comes to physics. Even I can hardly expect any musician to have anything but the shakiest grasp of astrophysics (except Brian May, of course and he never writes any songs on the subject). No, it’s the conclusion to “A Spaceman Came Travelling” which is the real kick in the fork.
The titular voyager brings us a message after he has travelled this vast distance (let’s assume de Burgh meant light years of distance, but couldn’t make it scan; not that that usually bothers him). A message for mankind to hear. Everyone is listening because his luminous spacecraft is the Star of Bethlehem. With his awe struck and completely attentive audience, what vital concept did he choose to impart.
Apparently it was “Na na na na, na na na, na na na. Na na na na na na na”
And it went “Na na na na, na na na, na na na. Na na na na na na na.”
So what the bloody hell happened there then? Did the spaceman get stage fright and choke under pressure, like Eminem in 8 Mile? Perhaps he just wasn’t very imaginative, or his universal translator was on the blink. I’m not a Biblical scholar, but I’m fairly confident that “Na na na” isn’t Aramaic. The Spaceman promised a repeat performance after 2000 years, so we’re well overdue. I can’t wait. The tension’s killing me.
Maybe he was being literal, which as Jesus was actually reckoned to have been born in 6BC (calendar accident) means the message turned up in 1996. So, if his universal translator really was knackered, the new pearl of intergalactic wisdom could have been “Zig-a-zig Ah.
Thankfully, the Spice Girls are unlikely ever to reunite again, except for the odd charity gig or to do another unsuccessful supermarket Christmas campaign. Chris de Burgh, however, rumbles on. I’d just like to put a gun to his head and, on pain of summary execution, make him just bank all his money and get on with whatever it is he does best. But I’ve got a horrible suspicion that’s what he is already doing.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2013