A very seasonal classic which I am surprised to note has not actually been noded, lyrics therefore enclosed. A Christmas party favourite by The Pogues; with Kirsty MacColl; from the 1987 album If I should fall from grace with God; Written by Shane MacGowan.

This is the ultimate anthem for anyone who has ever been jaded by the plasticated Christmas spirit that seems to be de rigeur these days. Unashamedly dark and unremittingly bitter, this is a window into the strange world of those who have fallen off the ledge of this particular Norman Rockwell picture: a world of peak suicide rates, hightened alienation and a gnawing sense of failure. It speaks more poignantly than ever to me this year, as for the first time in my life I am in a position of having intended to celebrate Christmas only to find out I have nothing to celebrate and no one to celebrate with.

This has made me think about the concept of social failure. Not that I've never thought about it before, but it's always been in the context of consumerism: one's job, one's house, the restaurants one can afford to go to, the clothes one can afford to be seen in. In short, one's value to the economy as equated to their value to society. It's interesting to think that even in the currently maniacal atmosphere of consumption assicated with the winter holidays, this, on reflection obviously skewed, point of view is still easily debunked.

The fundamental social success/failure rate is not measured by the number and value of presents given or received, but in the number of people they were given to or received from. Ultimatley, the worst social position anyone can find themselves in in the west is to have no one to spend Chritmas Day with, no one to share the turkey and the cranberry sauce. This is simultaneously depressing - especially since it's my current position - and uplifting; I find deep contentment in the thought that economics is not yet quite the be all and end all of the human condition, and perhaps there is a glimmer of hope that it never will be.

This is what that wheezy old pisshead Shane knows only too well; what put a wry smile on my face when I suddenly think of this song in a new and poignant way. The source of conflict in this song stems not so much from the combined economic failure of the couple, as from their failure to be happy with each other. Resentful, suspicious, angry, the woman is rejecting the man, whereas he lays himself bare to her scathing criticisms in exchange fo one more Christmas spent together; for them, a solitary Christmas is, quite literally, death.

It was Christmas Eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me, won't see another one
And then he sang a song
The Rare Old Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I've got a feeling
This year's for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They've got cars big as bars
They've got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It's no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging,
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing "Galway Bay"
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day

You're a bum
You're a punk
You're an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God it's our last


I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can't make it all alone
I've built my dreams around you


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