Tuesday 18 December 2012

A child's Christmas ruined by marital infidelity

It's Christmas and so everyone's new favourite pastime is engaging in a ceaselessly circular and completely insoluble debate regarding the identity of the best Christmas film (it's It's A Wonderful Life). Fortunately, music has spared itself this fate by the release of A Christmas Gift For You in 1963. On 22nd November 1963 to be precise, the day of the Kennedy assassination. It is, was and ever shall be the ultimate festive selection and anybody who says otherwise is mistaken. It's as simple as that, for once.

Which is not to say that it is not without fault or should be immune from further analysis. For a start, the album's auteur is of course Phil Spector, one of the human race's most unassailable gitcaptains. A genuinely nasty piece of work, a hateful and spiteful man and one for whom pointing out he's a mole-faced bald-headed twat seems oddly unsatisfying when one considers all the deeper personality flaws that could be picked on instead.

Secondly, it is an album filled with songs which have unfortunately inviting lyrics for dirty minded people. Phil Spector's output is full of these. The Crystals' And Then He Kissed Me would be incomplete without the addition of "... on the tits", but drawing us in on a celebration of Christmas is particularly unseemly and unfortunate.

In fact, the worst offender is the song which I want to talk about in more detail. Thirdly and most damningly is the inconsistencies that run rife through I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by The Ronettes. Let's get it out of the way early: it is a particularly filthy song. I saw mommy sucking Santa off, underneath the mistletoe last night. I saw mommy tickle Santa's balls. I could go on. But these are small potatoes when compared to the bigger picture.

The song itself was not written by The Ronettes or Phil Spector but by Tommie Connor, a British songwriter who was operational during the middle of the 20th Century. The original recording of it was by Jimmy Boyd in 1952. Boyd was 13 years old at the time, and therein lies the whole problem with the song. It is a song written from the child's perspective. An excited child on Christmas Eve sneaks out of bed and down onto the stairs to see if they can catch a peek at some of the magic of the season happening. What he sees, of course, is made clear by the title of the song.

The problem is the lines, "oh what a laugh it would have been/ if Daddy had only seen/ Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night". I presume that these were put in as a knowing reference for any parents listening. Of course we all know that it is daddy dressed up as Santa Claus. Ho ho ho. However, it doesn't so much break the fourth wall as drive a reindeer-pulled sleigh through it. The child doesn't know this. What he sees is Father Christmas in flagrante with his mother, the filthy whore. So quite why he would think it would be such a big laugh I do not know. Had this happened to me during my childhood, it would have ruined my Christmas completely. Oh no, my parents are going to get a divorce. I'm going to be one of those children with a single parent and then spend the weekends with the other one walking round a goose park being told how much I'm loved. Fuck's sake.

Maybe he thinks it's a step in the right direction? Maybe his father is a rather staid and boring man, an office drone. Maybe he thinks having Father Christmas be his new dad would be a much more exciting and fulfilling life? Of course, it could be that his father is an abuser. Take that, dad! Mommy is kissing Santa Claus!

The other possibility is that the child hates Father Christmas and has secretly always wanted to watched him get decked. This child's bedroom is full of mouse traps and crossbows on a hair trigger. One way or another, Father Christmas is going to get fucked up tonight. He's not leaving this house in one piece, that's for damn sure. Whichever is the correct reading of it, what is undeniable is that this child is either deeply psychologically disturbed, or is about to be. Is that really what we want to be dwelling on at the festive season?

Father Christmas: who is your mother to resist, eh? The filthy harlot


Graham Sibley said...

It's good but it's no Die Hard

Megan Belcher said...

This post should be required reading at all family gatherings over the holiday season.


You have reached the bottom of the internet