Friday, 19 December 2014

Guest Post: My Favourite Christmas Songs and Movies by Stella Newman

Today it's my stop on Stella Newman's blog tour to celebrate the publication of her festive short story A Pear Shaped Christmas with a look at Stella's favourite Christmas songs and movies... dare you not to sing along ;-)

I love a neat list of Top Tens at this time of year but there are only four Christmas songs I genuinely like, and three films. (I a a fan of Bond, The Pink Panther, The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, etc - but technically they’re just films you watch at Christmas, not films about Christmas.)   So on that basis, here are my top seven…

Fairytale of New York
As my upstairs neighbours will tell you, I’m a huge fan of karaoke.  They’ll also tell you I have a terrible voice.  Still, come the festive season, that doesn’t stop me from drunkenly belting this out in my living room like Shirley Bassey’s more confident little sister.   Those lyrics, those harmonies, that emotion!  One of the greatest pop songs ever written - I could listen to this 365 days a year.  

White Christmas
Of course it’s an obvious choice - but then again it’s the best selling single of all time for a reason.  It’s also the single that’s been most covered by other artists.  What other song could you imagine being recorded by singers as diverse as Bob Marley, Barbra Streisand, Rick Astley, Crash Test Dummies and Cee Lo Green?  Probably not the second best selling single of all time - Candle In The Wind…

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
I went to a carol concert last week by The Choir With No Name, a fantastic charity that runs choirs for homeless people in Birmingham, Liverpool and London – and when the guys on stage sang this, it brought the house down.  It’s such a warm, magical feel good song.  When you listen to the original Andy Williams version, released in 1963, you get a strong sense of an idealized, sanitised America.  The music feels breezy, hopeful, full of sass and confidence.  1963 was a supremely turbulent year in American history, but you’d never know it from listening to this. 

Last Christmas - Wham
An epically great song, and a reminder of the fact that George Michael has one of the best voices in pop.   The original video is well worth four minutes of your YouTube time, firstly to revel in the joys of young George’s luscious, highlighted, blow-dried, bouffant 1984 hair (1984 the year, not, like, the Orwell.)  And secondly to witness an intriguing love triangle being played out between George, Andrew and one lucky lady.  I have nothing against Taylor Swift, but her cover version of Last Christmas is second only to Crazy Frog’s version in terms of massive disrespect. 

Bad Santa
Bad Santa is the role Billy Bob Thornton was born to play, and makes you forgive him for pratting around in the 90s wearing a locket dabbed in Angelina Jolie’s blood.  Of course the film is outrageously rude and un-PC – but then again so is Auntie Maureen after one too many sherries.  Any movie that has the guts to call a character Thurman Merman is up there with The Godfather II in my book.

Truth be told, I would watch Bill Murray in just about anything (apart from a Richard Curtis movie.)  The man is a genius of comedy, and if you haven’t seen at least three Bill Murray films in your life, you’re missing out: Ghostbusters, Caddy Shack, Groundhog Day, Lost in Translation, Kingpin, Tootsie! – I could spend all of Christmas and Boxing Day watching a Murray-marathon and not be bored once.

It’s A Wonderful Life 
If I took a man to see this film on a date and he didn’t shed a tear by the end credits, I’m not sure I’d agree to see him again.  Having said that, it’s probably not fair to make a grown man weep on a date.  (Mind you I’ve cried on plenty of dates - though usually once back in the safety of my own home, thank you, Tinder.)  An absolute heart-warming classic, try to catch it in the cinema if they’re playing it near you.  

Some great choices Stella, I'm sure many followers will now be singing along as I have just done!  Hope you have a fab Christmas x

'I want a TV ad just like John Lewis's - only better!'

That's what Devron, the head of marketing at Fletchers supermarket wants - and what Devron wants, Devron gets - or else. It'll be fine, though. Vicky has eleven months to make the nation's new favourite Christmas ad, that's more than enough time.

Unless something, or someone, gets in her way...

A tale of turkey and tears, mince pies and mayhem.

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