Tag Archives: Christmas

Now That’s What I Call Christmas

Okay… its a repost from last year. But it’s Christmas. And this album doesn’t change much each year. From a quick glance, I think there’s one song I haven’t covered in this article.

Sooo. In the spirit of completeness;

Idina MenzelDo You Want to Build a Snowman

A worthy addition to the Christmas song canon. But Let it Go is clearly better.

Antipathti

NOW-XMAS-2013-1020x1024

This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here. This, however, is a break from the norm to review an annual offshoot of the series, compiling (in theory) the best Christmas songs of all time onto three fun packed discs.

Released- 3rd November 2014 (Though, let’s face it, there’s one every year)

Music History

2000 years ago, in a manger, Jesus was born. 1950 odd years later, pop music was born. The two work well together.

Me Holiday History

Originally a Roman festival called Saturnalia, and appropriated by Christianity under the Emperor Constantine as the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday. In fairness, Jesus is pretty cool about the whole thing, and doesn’t want presents himself, and is just like, ‘Guys…

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Christmas Spiced Rum

So… If you’re looking to get drunk in style this Christmas, you probably need to get making this soon!

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Antipathti

This recipe is mostly taken from this month’s Waitrose magazine. I’m making a batch and decanting it into little bottles as an alcoholic stocking filler*, and let’s face it, they are the best kind.

The flavours in this remind me of a fisherman’s festival in Tossa de Mar, in Catalonia, that we chanced upon on a family holiday a few years ago. They served a clove spiced rum from enormous vats on the beach, warmed over a fire. We all imbibed quite a lot, and my Dad, with a rum induced smile, kept saying ‘Christmas drink’. In June.

A bowl of flaming cremat A little research has shown that this is called cremat. It’s great, and I’ll probably try and make this at a later date- it contains coffee too, so wins all round there!

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Post Christmas Turkey and Pasta soup

The turkey never ends! Done well it’s delicious and not at all dry, and appears to feed you for an eternity. Christmas was four days ago! Five by the time this is published!

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Anyway. No photos of the soup itself, but it’s a nice healthy alternative to post Christmas gluttony.

Ingredients

  • A turkey carcass, stripped of the usable meat
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 medium celery sticks
  • Onion
  • Bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
  • Parsley
  • Leftover turkey
  • Pasta shells (conchilgli. Anything will do.)

Method

Break up the turkey using a cleaver or meat hammer. I had neither and instead swung around a chefs knife like a fat samurai. This is why there are no pictures… Put the pieces in a large pot, along with a bit of leftover dripping. Add one carrot, the onion and two celery sticks, roughly chopped, and the bay leaf and peppercorns.

Continue reading Post Christmas Turkey and Pasta soup

Now That’s What I Call Christmas

NOW-XMAS-2013-1020x1024

This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here. This, however, is a break from the norm to review an annual offshoot of the series, compiling (in theory) the best Christmas songs of all time onto three fun packed discs.

Released- 3rd November 2014 (Though, let’s face it, there’s one every year)

Music History

2000 years ago, in a manger, Jesus was born. 1950 odd years later, pop music was born. The two work well together.

Me Holiday History

Originally a Roman festival called Saturnalia, and appropriated by Christianity under the Emperor Constantine as the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday. In fairness, Jesus is pretty cool about the whole thing, and doesn’t want presents himself, and is just like, ‘Guys, have a drink, treat each other to stuff, and maybe behave like less of a dick than you do the rest of the year round’. You go, son of God.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the remainder put on the naughty list, that track would be… Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody. Even use of the hideous non-word Xmas in the title can’t poison this perfect Christmas song!

Track by track breakdown

John & Yoko And The Plastic Ono Band With The Harlem Community Choir- Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

A lovely opener, full of Christmas spirit. Sadly, doesn’t look like Santa’s bringing what you want again this year, John and Yoko, but don’t give up!

Mariah CareyAll I Want For Christmas Is You

And so my inner Scrooge comes out. I hate the screeching, melismatic vocals, the forced jollity, and how damned overplayed it is. Bah humbug.

The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacCollFairytale Of New York

Overplayed too, but I can never get enough of this delightful, brutally honest Christmas song. Who hasn’t had a Christmas with a blazing row at some point in their lives?

Wham!Last Christmas

Sweet, good natured, perfect pop. If you haven’t heard James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers gorgeous, simple cover of this, watch the video below and bask in the loveliness.

Continue reading Now That’s What I Call Christmas

Monday Mixtape- IT’S CHRISTMAS!

Possibly with a lot more ‘i’s and ‘a’s. As in IT’S CHRIIIIISTMAAAAAS!

Anyway. Here is my pitiful attempt to narrow the list down to less than 30 Christmas songs. Half of them are from films that I will endlessly rewatch in the coming weeks, as I gorge on industrial amounts of poultry, mincemeat, and mulled wine. Of which this is the best film. Possibly ever.

I also have to watch this at least once. The song is beautiful. The comedy dialogue at the beginning is one of the single greatest examples of so bad it’s good in human history.

As an Englishman, I should be offended by the stereotype that we all live down the road from someone called Sir Percival. But it’s mostly true.

Anyway, here’s the Christmas mixtape- Merry Christmas, and remember- every time a bell rings, an angel gets it’s wings.

Continue reading Monday Mixtape- IT’S CHRISTMAS!

Port Melbourne, Australia – 11th December 2013 to 2nd January 2014

And away from South East Asia we go. A brief stopover in Kuala Lumpur, which takes the honour of least charming airport on the planet, and a spot of lunch in a particularly unsanitary airport café, and we are off Down Under!

The first thing we do on landing is enjoy a nice cup of coffee in Melbourne airport. It’s the first good cup of coffee we’ve drunk in 4 months, and it is beautiful. We’ll later discover that Melbourne is a city built on amazing, single origin, hipster coffee places. It’s almost like discussing the weather in England, everybody has a favourite place, tucked in a little laneway, impossible to find, that serves the greatest coffee on earth. It says a lot that Starbucks and their ilk have failed miserably in their attempts to break into Australia, and the sheer quantity and quality of coffee places is the reason their few franchises sit empty. For me, this alone would have made me love Australia.

We hop into a cab, and away to the AirBNB booking we made a few weeks before, a very nice modern flat, seconds from the beaches of Port Melbourne, 2 miles south of the city. Our hosts are a very nice couple from New Zealand, though prone to single syllable answers, and have a lovely, hyperactive dog, Bonnie. Regrettably, thanks to the aforementioned grubby café at Kuala Lumpur, we spend the first night in their bathroom, taking it in turns to suffer the indignity of one last bout of the South East Asian Squits, which is not quite the introduction to our roomies we had hoped for!

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View of the city from outside our place.

 

Thanks to overspending in Asia, we were particularly poor over our time in this end of Australia, so we were living on quite a small budget- about 50 bucks a week! Luckily, Ben got a job for a few days running up to Christmas, packing Game of Thrones and Doctor Who merchandise for a supplier of geek ephemera, which got us a couple of Christmas presents, and helped us lay down the rent on our next place!

We also got to wander around a lot, and Port Melbourne is (the name is a giveaway) right next to the sea, so we had a few runs along there, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

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Port Melbourne beach

 

We also liked to wander down to Albert Park. The joy of the sheer amount of land Australia has, is that they can really push the boat out with the size of their parks, it’s huge. They have the F1 Grand Prix there in January, which might give you an idea of quite how long it takes to walk around. It also has black swans, a lake big enough that they were having a sailing competition on it, and just a whole lot of lovely scenery.

Continue reading Port Melbourne, Australia – 11th December 2013 to 2nd January 2014

Christmas Spiced Rum

This recipe is mostly taken from this month’s Waitrose magazine. I’m making a batch and decanting it into little bottles as an alcoholic stocking filler*, and let’s face it, they are the best kind.

The flavours in this remind me of a fisherman’s festival in Tossa de Mar, in Catalonia, that we chanced upon on a family holiday a few years ago. They served a clove spiced rum from enormous vats on the beach, warmed over a fire. We all imbibed quite a lot, and my Dad, with a rum induced smile, kept saying ‘Christmas drink’. In June.

A bowl of flaming cremat
A little research has shown that this is called cremat. It’s great, and I’ll probably try and make this at a later date- it contains coffee too, so wins all round there!

Continue reading Christmas Spiced Rum