I'm really looking forward to A Beatles Christmas, a Radio 2 documentary on the 27th about the Beatles Christmas records. Every year they'd get together and arse about, sending the resulting recording out as a flexidisc to members of their fan club.
It's great because, as with something like REM's drunken cover of King of The Road, a sense of humour removes the image of po-facedness and makes an artist's work more accessible; paradoxically, the daftness makes us take them more seriously.
But more than this is something Nick Hornby pointed out in 31 Songs, the best book of writing about music I've ever read. He said the reason we love these out-takes and B-sides and whatnot from great artists is because we've grown up around all the A-sides and classics, and inevitably something is lost in the overexposure.
Nobody under 45 can tell you when they first heard She Loves You. Everyone from my seven year old niece to your gran can sing along with when When I'm 64 or I Saw Her Standing There, even though these are album tracks that were never issued as singles.
There is no other band like it. It's as if foetal development now includes growing limbs, forming a skelton and knowing all the Beatles tunes.
Yet when we hear something not overly familiar we see them there at their prime, genius soaring, and we find something else too; it's fresh to us, we get a glimpse of what it must've been like to feel the impact of them at the time, of why they earned this untouchable iconic status.
As a festive bonus I've added several Christmas oddities to my little MP3s page. There's the Beatles Christmas Time (Is Here Again) from the 1967 fan club flexidisc, The Greedies A Merry Jingle which is a medley of traditional Christmas songs performed by a bizarre Thin Lizzy/Sex Pistols collaboration in 1978, and then there's A Christmas Blow Job too.
Just because I'm going to be gallivanting around the nation quaffing ales and eating implausible quantities of food this festive season, it doesn't mean I shall neglect you, my dear reader. The normal frequent service you've come to know, love, trust, respect, demand and rely upon from your friendly Bristling Badger shall be uninterrupted.
Have a good 'un.
A double-bill of poetic mischief
1 month ago