Dispatch - Vic Galloway

The Dispatch

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Vic Galloway chews over the last turkey in the shop that is the festive compilation album.

It’s time once again to approach our impending festive doom! Yes, Christmas is upon us and has been so since the Hallowe’en decorations came down. What does this mean for the world of music? A morass of greatest hits compilations, that’s what. Do we really need another U2 or Paul Weller best of? Have the Sugababes and Girls Aloud actually had enough hits to warrant one at all? And don’t start me on George Michael - his 25-year career in music should be a severe warning to us all, not cause for celebration!

I do, however, like Christmas albums. I love that sense of fun and (mis)adventure when a ‘serious’ artist has a go and does something ill-advised for the festive season. Why not? If it’s good enough for James Brown, The Beach Boys and Phil Spector, it’s good enough for anyone. I have a friend who collects Christmas records and has an incredible selection of yuletide oddities. Having started as a hobby, it’s become an obsession for him. I came across the Studio One ‘Reggae Christmas’ LP last year - a frankly ridiculous record and all the better for it. Why aren’t more people doing this? Wouldn’t it be good to hear Radiohead do a bleak, electronica-soundscape version of ‘Walking in the Air’, or some emo band scream their way through ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’? and U2 a Christian-rock ‘Silent Night’ . . . OK, maybe not!

However, one-off Christmas singles can make your festive playlist come alive and upset your grandparents on the big day, into the bargain. If not, there is the option of having to suffer the consolation prize of eating your bodyweight in mince pies and listening to the Cliff Richard Duets album. No thank you. Bah humbug to you all!

Vic Galloway presents on BBC Radio 1, Thursdays, 7.30pm; BBC Radio Scotland, Mondays, 8.05pm; ‘Vic’s Most Wanted’, Fridays, 6.05pm and ‘The Music Show’, BBC2, 7.30pm.

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