Advent is finally here.  We're counting down the days until that big, fat, cheery fella comes down our chimney, brings us presents, drinks our brandy and eats our mince pies.  I am a fan of the old Christmas songs - mostly.  I can't get enough of the Pogue's "Fairytale of New York", I can happily listen to the high pitched notes of Mariah Carey, telling me that all she wants for Christmas is you.  By 14th December or so however, I will be getting a little bit tired of Slade.  Wizzard will be slowly starting to grate, and if someone dares to play me Wham's "Last Christmas" one more time, I'll kick over the Christmas tree, chuck the festive wrapping paper on to the fire and throw the baubles out of the nearest window, into the snow.

Love them or hate them, for the past thirty years or so we've had pretty much the same selection of late-20th century Christmas hits.  And we all know that if we had to listen to them for more than one month  a year, they would probably be the world's most hated songs.  So, my song of the week is here to provide respite from the drones of another song by Shakin' Steven, Cliff Richard or Paul McCartney.

So my song of the week is by Tim Minchin.  By adding to your Christmas repertoire, I hope to save your from going sloooooowly crazy by listening to the same old classics, over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.  For a whole month.

Okay, a strange choice I know.  Think Tim Minchin, you probably think of eye-liner, crazy hair, slightly controversial and offensive songs and a generally ambivalent/massively atheistic view to concepts of God, religion and the fluffy-wuffy meaning of Christmas.

I saw Tim Minchin perform back in 2007, before his rise to fame through appearances on various chat shows.  From this first concert where I became aware of him, a performance mainly of his then new album Dark Side, I knew that it was only a matter of time before such a witty performer was going to be making households around the globe giggle at his slightly inappropriate jokes, clever rhymes, great observation of humankind and incredible dexterity on the piano.  

The Christmas song I am referring to in this post was Tim's chosen encore piece of the show I saw, in a small and artsy location in deep, dark Devon.  With our cheeks aching from laughing, he came on and played this subdued, almost ballad like song.  The wit was still there, but subtly rather than boldly.  We were left to silent listen and contemplate the lyrics, rather than fall off our chairs in hysterics, as most of his other songs drive you to do.

Christmas means many things to many people.  It's one of the few originally religious festivals that is almost as popular with people of no-faith as any faith at all.  Consequently carols must sit beside pop songs in the houses of religious folk, agnostics and atheists alike.  "White Wine in the Sun" acknowledges what Christmas is about for so many people, and addresses the doubts and questions that pass through many heads on Christmas day.  This song nods at the hymns and carols, but at the same time takes the hand of the holiday that so many people love.  Simultaneously it doesn't condemn religion, but neither does it condone the commercialisation of Christmas, a festival that seems to have been rather too eclipsed by things to buy, rather than things to celebrate.

It's also just sweet and catchy.  There are no big and bold guitar solos, no sleigh bells, no middle age man shouting "IT'S CHRRRRIIIIIIISSSSSSSTTTTTTMMMMAAAAAASSSSSSSSSS".  Just a man, his honest thoughts and a piano.  It's so understated that it has gone unnoticed for all these years, when in fact it is a fabulous Christmas song for so many people in the modern world.

So, here's your song for the week:  

Hope you enjoy it, and enjoy the start of advent - the perfect marriage of a religious based countdown, and an excuse to have chocolate for breakfast.


Hello!  I’m Sophie - lover of coast, country and all things baked and smothered in icing.
Recent university graduate and bumbling my way through the life of an employed editor.