Mighty MacColl’s Merry Christmas


One of the very few regrets I have in life is that I never got to meet Kirsty MacColl, before she met her untimely death on 18th December 2000. One of my favourite songwriters, with wide-ranging musicality (compare “They Don’t Know” to “My Affair”) and lyrical genius (“Don’t Come The Cowboy With Me, Sonny Jim!” being my favourite), I’ve always felt it an unfair reflection of her talent that her highest charting solo single release was “New England”, written by Billy Bragg. Her best known self-penned number, “There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis”, may be catchy and fun, but offers only a glimpse of her versatility and creativity. If your knowledge of Kirsty’s material stretches little beyond this, then treating yourself to her “Kite” album will show you what I mean. It is nearly Christmas after all!

Of course, it is at this time of year that we hear the lovely Ms MacColl singing alongside The Pogues’ Shane McGowan. “Fairytale of New York” is not only my favourite Christmas song, but its video features my teenage crush, Matt Dillon, dressed in a police uniform. So, as an early Christmas present to myself, and to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, here it is…



‘Tis The Season To De-Stress, Not Distress.


In the frantic blur that is the countdown to Christmas, it can be all too easy to forget to enjoy the festive season. With cards to write, presents to wrap, and a seemingly endless list of festive chores to tackle, taking time out to enjoy what is happening in the moment can feel like an ill-afforded luxury. Then, amongst the tangled tinsel and Christmas chaos, something happens to stop you in your tracks, and before you know it, you’re transported back to a time when Christmas was more than just one big “To Do” list to be completed before the big day.

My moment of clarity came as Culture Club’s “Victims” began to play on the radio. Without warning, I suddenly found myself not only remembering Christmas 1983, but feeling as I did then – excited and happy, not frazzled and stressed. As Boy George advised us to “push aside those who whisper never”, I recalled the steely determination the lyric instilled in me three decades ago, when individuality could be hard to carry, in a society where the emphasis was to conform. Such depth of thought took me by surprise, but made me recognise the insignificance of today’s seasonal errands, and the futility of agonising over such matters.

So, this year the cards may be sent out later than usual, the presents wrapped less neatly, and (horror of horrors!) I may even forget something. What I won’t forget is to enjoy Christmas. I’ll start now by sharing the inspiration for my newly-found serenity…

Last Christmas – Wham!


Not that I need an excuse to post one of my favourite Christmas videos from the Eighties, but anyone who has read my short story “Ghosts of Christmas”, will know this song has a special place in my heart. If you would like to read the story, and help raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust and Cystic Fibrosis Trust in the process, Click Here to order your copy of Winter Tales: Stories To Warm Your Heart. As well as my contribution, there are 23 other short stories for you to read in the countdown to Christmas, to give you that festive glow. What better early Christmas present?