While I’m not normally particularly bothered by what’s in the music charts, I have to confess I’m still interested in what will be the Christmas number one this weekend.
This might seem strange to those of you who recall my words a few weeks ago bemoaning all mention of the festive season before December and, if I’m being completely honest, my interest only tends to extend to whether something can possibly beat the apparent pop sensation of the moment to the top spot.
I’m sure there will be many dismissing the following comment as the words of a cultural philistine but, almost 20 years after the event, I still believe that Mr Blobby keeping Take That off the Christmas number one spot was one of the great cultural moments of our time.
I reckon it was that bit more amusing than the internet campaign to get Rage Against The Machine to the top of the charts in 2009. On the other hand, the year Westlife were up against Cliff Richard reciting The Lord’s Prayer to the tune of Auld Lang Syne didn’t exactly offer much to write home about.
Anyway, this year, the seasonal chart battle does resonate with me that bit more than usual because of the presence in the running of the new version of He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother in aid of the Hillsborough Justice campaign.
Between the time I write this column and the weekend, I will be buying my first single in years, in whatever form they’re produced these days, for precisely that cause.
But, even allowing for that, it seems to me that the festive chart-topper is just that bit more important than the other 51 weeks of the year.
Think about it. Most of the songs that you hear at this time of the year have been around for years, if not for decades. Some of them express the kind of sentiments that even those of us who take a bit of time to warm to Christmas and all that goes with it would relate to.
Others did great work for charity in their day or could perhaps be put under the category of novelty record that we’ve always seemed to be rather good at in this country.
If you’re lucky or talented enough to have written a classic Christmas hit, then I’d say it’s probably a very nice pension fund, thank you very much.
And however much people like me really don’t want to admit it, you know Christmas is coming around when you start hearing them in the shops. That’s why I try to avoid them from October onwards.
But actually, as we get closer to the time, it does seem to become more pleasant to hear these songs.
I don’t know whether it’s a case of “getting into the festive spirit”. I’m not sure it can be really when your daily routine remains pretty much the same as it ever is for the rest of the year.
Maybe it’s just that one can see the light of the festive break at the end of the tunnel, even if many of us will soon be back at work in what I call the no man’s land between Christmas and New Year.
Whatever it is, I know I’m looking forward to heading across the border and Driving Home For Christmas on Monday. Not that I’ve got everything I need to do done yet. Wherever you’re spending it, and whoever you’re spending it with, have a great one.