Misty over at Shakesville posted this brilliant video history of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” which I will now confess is one of my guilty yuletide pleasures. And I mean “guilty” in every sense of the word: it’s a crap song, it’s patronizing as all hell and, oh yeah, it totally didn’t solve the problem of world hunger. There’s that. (Also, as Misty points out, the hair. My god, THE HAIR.)
I blame my sister J. for this. She (age 23) brought home the 12-inch at Christmas 1984 for our sister M. (age 13) and me (age 9) to share. M. already had enough taste not to care too much, but I sat in our den — home of the one stereo in the house — playing it over and over and over, studying the album cover, trying to figure out how to pronounce Siobhan Fahey’s name and how what definitely appeared to be a man could be called “Marilyn”* and whether Simon LeBon would ever marry me. Listening to the whole damn extended thing, right through the “Thisispaulmccartney. Happychristmas. Feethewuh.” part, throughout the Christmas season and beyond. All because it had the official Big Sister seal of approval as Something Really Cool and Sophisticated that People in their Twenties Liked.
So now, 23 years later, it is totally embedded in my brain as an important bit of childhood Christmas nostalgia, right up there with John Denver and the Muppets**, and I can’t bring myself to hate it. Even if I really, really should. THANKS A LOT, J!
In case you have similar feelings, here’s the original for you to enjoy.
*Keep in mind that at this point in my life, I fully believed that Boy George was straight — in fact, he was my back-up plan if Simon LeBon didn’t pan out — and simply enjoyed dressing in drag for, uh, his own reasons. I was a clever child in other ways, all right? (Not to mention, take a look at Nick Rhodes, who actually is at least mostly straight, and tell me the eighties weren’t a confusing time to grow up!)
**Not long ago, I lost my shit on a cab ride home from downtown, because I said something about John Denver and the Muppets, started thinking about that album and my childhood Christmases, became hideously maudlin, and eventually ended up at home in tears going, “John Denver is dead and Jim Henson is dead and Frank Oz is dead, and my mother is dead, and MY CHILDHOOD IS DEAD! DEAD DEAD DEAD!” I might have been drinking a little. Also, Frank Oz is not even dead.