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The Ultimate Irish Christmas Song

It happened. It finally happened. I never thought it would happen. I never thought it was possible.

I was finally sick to death of hearing Fairy Tale of New York. I use to not mind hearing it in a bar or even listening to it when I wanted to wallow in failure and regret. It tagged-teamed well with Tom Waits.

But in Ireland, Fairy Tale of New York is a Christmas song in the muzak mix of every feckin’ store I walked through with the designer label/skinny jean/high boot clad shopping populace. As I was blinded by tinsel and white tile floors, Shane MacGowan sang of addicts and loss. A Christmas song??? How the hell did that happen?

Sure, the song begins with the line, it’s Christmas Eve, but they’re in the drunk tank. And the old man with the narrator is dying. He’s not gonna live to see another Christmas. Real upper he is. So the narrator turns his face away to dream of his woman. Okay, so there’s some Sinatra happiness for awhile, but it soon descends into hell and junk and those bright and cheery holiday themes of squashed hopes and mediocre regrets (I could’ve been someone/well so could anyone). Just the song I need to get me into the holiday spirit and make me want to spend spend spend spend my money on stuff made in China .

Still the song does have some spunk, and I needed spunk in a place so far out of my natural habitat. Besides, I can’t come up with another Christmas song with the words scum bag or maggot in it.

And the Irish are totally down with their Christmas kitsch. I think as a nation, they’ve never met a singing Santa figurine or an exterior light set-up they didn’t like. Still, with the sun setting at 4:30, I’ll take what I can to keep the seasonal depression at bay.

On Christmas day, I did hear the bells ringing out, and I thought of Shane and his bad teeth, and I smiled.

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