Thursday, December 15, 2005

BTi's Top 5 All Time Xmas Classics

1) VIGDIS GRIMSDOTTIR - "Is It Snowing In Beirut?" (1987)

One of the bleakest Xmas pop moments ever. An angelic, Scandinavian voice pines for her kidnapped diplomat father and mourns the fact he won't be opening the presents she's nevertheless wrapped and stashed under the tree. Occasional bursts of samba give the song a unique poignancy which would melt even the most glacial of hearts. Not too keen on the "Just a hostage to fate / Like Terry Waite" line though.

2) THE ABBATOIR CHORUS - "Hotplates Flecked With Gore" (1980)

I'm not sure if Robin Webb had already become press officer for the Animal Liberation Front when he recorded this, but it's skewed enough to have appeared on the United Dairies label. Over a swirling industrial barrage and samples of animals howling, Webb delivers an epic eight-minute, snarled word rant that has to be heard to be believed -

"Do you tell your wife and children about the turkey on your plate? DO YOU? About how they gouged its eyes out with a hook, severed its genitals with bolt cutters, slit its tiny little throat with a blunt, dirty knife and laughed as they watched the gouts of blood explode all over the turd-strewn abbatoir floor? Will you pull a cracker and then shove your grandmother's face into a pile of rotting, decapitated organs, force her to stuff maggot-infested lumps of septic meat down her throat til she chokes on her own sick? Toast the Queen at 3pm...yes, go on, drink a pint of blood with greasy clots of fat floating in it, make your new year's resolution, for peace on earth and the EXTERMINATION OF THE ENTIRE ANIMAL POPULATION..."

And on and on. Jesus, it's well heavy.

3) THE NICE BOYS - "Pogo Round The Xmas Tree" (1977)

Powerpop stomper by the ultra-obscure Nice Boys. The only information I've managed to track down about this Catford 4-piece were that they once played legendary punk club The Vortex, during which said gig the guitarist burst into tears after an audience member spat at him. Possibly the only band to wear Aran jumpers and flares in 1977, the song's a belter all the same, with the singer detailing his love of mince pies and how he turned bright red when the girl at Woolworths sold him some wrapping paper. The 2-minute drum solo at the end is unnecessary, but you can't help feel sorry for them, especially the studio engineer's "This'll be bigger than Slade!" remark , as the needle slides towards the run-off.

4) SNAP - "I'm As Serious As Cancer When I Say There's a Reindeer Called Prancer" (1992)

Really tacky follow-up to "The Power", but I defy any straight male to deny they had a violent hard-on after watching the accompanying promo video. See? You can't.

5) SIGIL CLUSTER - "Xmas Is Pagan! / Let's Sigilise" (1994)

You probably only remember Sigil Cluster from that time Psychic TV tried to take them to court (for using the TOPY symbol on their record sleeves without permission), but have you heard this EBM classic? "JESUS DIDN'T EVEN EXIST! / PAN RULES DECEMBER THE 25TH!" goes the chorus. "AWAY IN A MANGER, NO CRIB FOR A BED? / AH, LET'S SIGILISE DOWN THE WOODS INSTEAD!". The B-Side was terrible though.
fun fact:
"Vigdis grimsdottir" was obviously just a thinly veiled pseudonym for Bad Taste/future Sugarcubes' affiliate Thor Eldon's 17-year-old niece Gyda Skjalgdottir, whose oddball D.I.Y. punk-pop productions are still in demand on the second-hand record store "scene" in the nordic countries...

see also:
"Kill A Counter-Terrorist, Then Die" by the Scourgemeats (FIN), "Faster Fatter Harder Deeper/Pussycat Kill Kill Kill" by the Young Leatherettes (NOR), anything by Beef Eater Orchestra, Ltd.(SWE)...happy 12" hunting...X
Was that the same Scourgemeats who did that split 4" single with Wh-wH-Wh-What eXactLy iS A BUkkAke DoLL? Seriously, the amount of rare records I've ended up losing or giving away to people who convinced me they needed them more than I did.
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