Friday, January 19, 2018

Christmas 2011: We Are The Physics’ Top Ten Christmas Moments

January 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Choosing Lingerie

As a self-confessed Christmas obsessive (reports that he’s been watching festive films since August are pretty strong), We Are The Physics frontman Michael M didn’t just want to list his top films, songs or what he’s circled in the Argos catalogue this year. Instead it’s the list of all lists – his favourite festive occurrences of all time.

I’m right into Christmas and, despite its emphasis on consuming, consuming and consuming, if you dig deep enough, you’ll uncover its true meaning. Which is, of course, Christmas Top Of The Pops. Instead of choosing my top ten Christmas films, or top ten Christmas songs, or top ten Christmas top ten top tens, I’ve decided to be as specific as possible. I’m narrowing my top ten down to specific Christmas moments across TV, films and music to pinpoint exact moments that give me that Christmassy tingle, let me know the season is coming, or just make me laugh turkey out of every orifice on my face.

10. That Noise In Shakin’ Stevens Merry Christmas Everyone

Undoubtedly one of my top sixteen Christmas songs of all time, the Welsh Elvis’ ode to finding girls under mistletoe and kissing them on the candles is a gem. That’s not enough for me, though. No, there’s one moment in the song that truly gets me in the Christmas spirit, and that’s when it magically goes up a key and the backing singers start to sound like strangled robots. Even though they’ve thrown as much Christmas shit at the video as possible, including putting Shakey in a jumper that consumers at TopShop would pay up to £59 for, the terrifying vocal slide at 3:46 is the moment to savour. It’s the noise that represents that very second you realise Santa is an anagram of Satan. Skip to 3:46! It’s demonic!

9. One Of East 17 Holding A Packet Of Crisps

This is a bit of a cheater. East 17′s pop Christmas gem Stay Another Day isn’t even really a Christmas song (it’s got them bells in it, that’s about it), and the part that I like isn’t even in the Christmas-themed video that saw the Easties donning the baggiest ski-suits ever. No, this is the alternate video in which they’re in a studio TOTALLY REALISTICALLY RECORDING THE SONG while bizarrely shooting the video simultaneously. A bit like Band Aid, but without Bananarama looking like they want to see their booking agent roasting on an open fire. This video sees the East 17ers (none of these pet names will stick) gathered round a piano and playing along with the song just like they didn’t do when they recorded it. So, what’s good about that? Tony Mortimer has one hand in a packet of crisps. Why’s that good? Dunno. Just is. Merry Christmas.

8. Irn Bru Christmas Advert

Yes, an advert. I make myself sick. The Christmas adverts this year have been grim, pompous and ghastly sell-fests that might as well leap out of the screen and into your body, squeezing at your heart yelling “FEEL CHRISTMAS. FEEEEL CHRISTMASSYYYY! BUY BUY BUY!” Whereas a simple Christmas advert that attempts to flog a product and stoke the Christmas spirit is one that, while we might not agree with, at least can make the conveyor belt of consumerism a little more palatable. I used to get pretty excited as a child when the Coca Cola ‘hoooolidays are coming‘ advert used to start doing the rounds in July. It meant that ‘holidays’ or, as we call it on Planet Earth: ‘Jesus Period’, were indeed looming. But, when Irn Bru launched their Snowman parody advert that mimicked the famous ‘walking in the air’ flying scene, depicting the little boy being an Irn Bru-hogging prick and refusing to give the Snowman any, it was finally time for me to feel Scottish and Christmassy. The vile Glasgow humour as the Snowman lets go of the boy from a great height and you see him plummet towards George Square in Glasgow is the polar opposite of the saccharine and over sentimentalised Christmas you’ll often be forced to endure by television, particularly this year. And I know I’m being sold Irn Bru but, to be honest, I’m Scottish. they could never make another advert again and I’d keep buying it. It’s like water to me.

7. Clark Griswold Needs A Coffin

I didn’t just buy the USA-only Blu-Ray release of this that comes with a free Santa hat, moose eggnog cup and coasters. I didn’t. Honest. I did. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation isn’t exactly the most subtle film of all time, but this story of Clark Griswold’s attempts to give his family the hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fuckin’-Kaye is one I go back to every year. And within the slapstick there’s this moment when Clark’s quest for joy is truly scuppered as his oversized Christmas tree goes on fire and he’s forced to find another. Wielding a chainsaw, a Santa outfit and a manic grin he finally loses the plot and manages to inexplicably replace the word ‘tree’ with ‘coffin’. That’s it. Just that moment.

6. Richard Madeley Headbutts A Child

When I was young on the lead up to Christmas, I’d convince my mum that the entire last two weeks of school had no lessons and we were just to bring in games so there was no point going in at all, which meant I spent a lot of time at home watching This Morning with Richard Judy. And what a treat! Every year they’d do a Nativity play and there’d be some terrible breach of broadcasting etiquette. Richard Madeley is Alan Partridge, but real. And here he is headbutting a child while wearing a head-dress. These are the sort of images I want behind the doors of the advent calendar. Instead I’m met with angels and Christmas trees. Kinnerton, please make a Richard Madeley’s Yuletide Faux Pas Calendar.

5. The Night The Reindeer Died

Psychos seize Santa’s workshop! This fake trailer that starts the Bill Murray movie Scrooged, in which Santa and his helpers enlist the help of Lee Majors to fend off terrorists, never fails to make me wish there’d been an internet full of geeky bastards who were able to dragoon a studio into creating a full feature back then. Scrooged is one of my favourite Christmas films up until the moment Bill Murray realises the error of his ways and it stops being funny.

4. Macaulay Culkin’s Facial Expressions In Home Alone

Doesn’t need much of an explanation this! Buzz, your girlfriend, WOOF! Here’s a montage I made of all his facial expressions I like. My favourite is the subtle horror when Buzz suggests he wouldn’t let him sleep in his room if he was growing on his ass. Oscar-worthy.

3. Father Ted. 8 Priests In A Lingerie Department

The entire Father Ted Christmas special is, surely, one of the best pieces of comedy ever written, but the remarkable scene in which Ted must lead 8 priests safely out of a lingerie department in order to save their reputation never fails to make me piss myself. Curiously, this scene caused my sister to laugh so much, she went into labour and had a child. She wasn’t even pregnant! It was really weird.

2. A Christmas Story: Visiting Santa

Apparently A Christmas Story is a huge festive staple in America with some channels showing it 24 hours a day throughout the Christmas season, whereas in Britain it goes fairly unknown. I remember seeing it on BBC 2 when I was really young so it’s always stayed with me – because I taped it. It’s the story of a young boy in the 40s who wants nothing more than a BB Gun for his Christmas and his requests are always met with the same retort : “You’ll shoot your eye out.” In an effort to go straight to the source, he visits a Santa working overtime in a huge department store. It’s all shot in such a bizarre fish-eye wide angled way from the perspective of a child that it conjures up memories of why we all looked so terrified in our Santa photos. Interestingly, the director Bob Clark also made the yuletide horror Black Christmas, so he probably had a couple of festive demons himself.

1. A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector

Hardly specific this one, but everything about it is so perfect that you can’t pinpoint an exact moment of genius. Phil Spector is Christmas. Apart from, you know, shooting that woman and having his child die on Christmas Day. Apart from that, he managed to create a record so full of recognisable and amazing songs that just sound so much like Christmas that this is the first thing I listen to when I’m putting my tree up, when I’m opening the first door on my advent calendar, when I’m realising I’m a man and must really grow out of this at some point. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), Sleigh Ride, Bells Of Saint Mary’s, all performed by some of the best singers of the era. Darlene Love, The Ronettes. The Crystals. It’s just a magical aural thrill that doesn’t become the frantic shop-based irritants that Slade and Wizzard are sadly reduced to. Apparently it took a painstaking six weeks to record in which Mr. Spector worked the performers so hard and for so long, they were all practically dying. And you can really hear the effort that’s gone into it. Which makes it all the more special! I want people to bleed for my present! Sure, you can go on This Is Fake DIY Records and buy We Are The Physics Are OK At Music easy enough (and you should), but we all know it’s the thought and effort that counts. So, you should come to see us live and buy one there. Can’t believe I turned this into a plug.

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