My records are in boxes. The shelves are dismantled. My turntable is unplugged and sitting on a table across the room, far from my computer and disconnected from my speakers. I know it sounds trite and kind of silly, but my upcoming move to Tokyo didn’t really hit me as a real thing until all that happened. Selling a ton of my belongings didn’t phase me. Putting my house up for sale barely got to me at all. But packing up my records for storage? Unplugging my turntable?! Yikes.
It’s for the best! I know it’s for the best! (And before anyone asks, my turntable is coming with me, it’s a custom-modded Technics that I’d never find in Japan so damn straight it’s coming with me). But that doesn’t make it any less traumatic. Ask my friends, people who follow me on Twitter, anyone who knows me at all, I am “that guy who always says ‘I own that on vinyl.’” So for me to be separated from my vinyl and my turntable is, well, it’s weird. I just have to keep reminding myself that my records aren’t going away, they’re just going into a climate-controlled storage unit, and that my turntable will be joining me in Tokyo sometime next year, where I’ll discover more amazing music than I can probably even imagine. It’s going to be awesome! But right now it’s kind of traumatic.
I plan on putting up one more post before I leave for Japan. In fact, I know I will because that post is 90% done and scheduled to go up the day I leave. However, that post will be a “greatest hits” collection of stuff I’ve posted in the past. This will be the last post of original material before I leave Pittsburgh, and as it’s just a week until Christmas (oh shit I really have to start shopping soon) I figured I’d send off the year with some festive holiday tunes.
And a cover of “Relax.” Because even in times of great stress and furious anxiety, I’m one classy dude.
One Christmas Catalogue
Pocketful Of Dosh
Wendy! Where’s My Snaps?
These are all from a holiday 12″ EP that Captain Sensible put out in 1984. Who’s Captain Sensible? Excellent question! I honestly didn’t know who he was until I bought this record, which I only grabbed for the cover of “Relax” and not because of any desire for festive holiday tunes.
Captain Sensible is a founding member of The Damned, who has played bass, guitar and keyboards during his on-again/off-again/currently on-again tenure with the seminal punk rock group. He’s apparently something of a minor big deal in his native UK, having scored several hits as a solo artist in the 1980s. I don’t think “One Christmas Catalogue” was one of those hits, but it apparently has some sort of following. My searches on Captain Sensible repeatedly turned up references to the track, and it even has a video on YouTube. However, despite it’s somewhat well-known status across the pond, it is entirely out-of-print in the states, and it’s never even received any kind of digital release here at all save for a bizarre “new wave” themed Christmas album from a few years back.
It’s an odd track, and I’ll be damned (see what I did there?) if I can tell you what it’s actually about. Is he lamenting about excessive Christmas shopping catalogs? I dunno. It sure sounds festive though. It’s certainly more festive than anything else on the “Christmas-themed” LP. The last two songs are more bizarre audio experiments than proper tunes, and the cover of “Relax” is, well, it’ a cover of “Relax!” Because I guess nothing says “Ho! Ho! Ho!” like a song about delaying orgasm.
Okay, I’m not ending my Christmas post on that note, what else do I have on this hard drive…
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
I think the UK has more (and better) holiday tunes that we do here in the states. Take this amazing track, for example. The original version is by a glam rock act called Wizzard, and it’s apparently a holiday standard over in England. And for good reason! It’s fucking great! And check out this video holy shit!
The drummer is my favorite.
What the hell do we have over here? Are there any great American-made modern Christmas tunes that are popular? I mean, don’t get me wrong “Christmas In Hollis” by Run DMC is my jam but I don’t think it’s really stayed in the popular consciousness since it’s original release. All we get that shitty Mariah Carry song and any number of horrible versions of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause.” Meanwhile, in England they have “Fairytale Of New York” (one of the greatest songs of all time) and “Merry Xmas Everyone.” Not fair at all.
At least both sides of the Atlantic can agree that “Last Christmas” by Wham! is great.
Merry Christmas everyone (who celebrates Christmas). Stay safe, have fun, and I hope you all get rad gifts in your stockings.