The Obligatory Christmas Post

Have a safe and lovely Christmas, everyone!

And now, the only Christmas song worth a damn:

Some random trivia about “Fairytale of New York”:

– Kirsty MacColl was not supposed to sing on the track. She was dating Pogues’ producer Steve Lillywhite at the time, and was asked to fill in at the recording sessions until the final vocal track could be laid down by Pogues’ bassist Cait O’Riordan. Everyone liked Kirsty’s vocals so much that her version was kept.

– “Fairytale of New York” is (supposedly) the favorite Christmas song of Cliff Richard, Matt Dillon, Dermot O’Leary, Karen Osborne, Pete Doherty, Peter Zimmerman, Ricky Olarenshaw, Carl Barat, Bob Geldof, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Chris Moyles, Tim Hames, Sue Johnstone, Chris Martin, and The Office creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

– Speaking of Matt Dillion, he plays the arresting officer in the video.

– Shane McGowan cannot play piano, so band member James Fearnley (reluctantly) put on McGowan’s rings and jacket for the close-ups of the hands laying piano.

– The New York Police Department does not have a choir; they do, however, have a Pipes and Drums unit. They are featured in the video.

– Not every member of the Pipes and Drums band knew “Galway Bay”, so the song they’re actually singing is the “Mickey Mouse Club Theme”.

– Record labels in the UK have a tradition of releasing “Christmas singles”, and they compete amongst themselves for the #1 spot at Christmas. The year “Fairytale” was released, the single was kept out of the #1 spot by the Pet Shop Boys’ cover of  “Always on My Mind”, which led MacGowan to comment that “[w]e were beaten by two queens and a drum machine.”

Feeling Old Yet?

Guess who’s turning 50 today? Why, Simon LeBon of Duran Duran of course!

Jeez – Simon Le Bon is freakin’ 50? Gawd, I’m old! Simon says (heh): “No, I don’t feel old. My knees are creaking a bit, but my eyes are fine. I am healthy and (some say) wise.” Not bad for a guy whose first album came out when he was just 22!

Happy Birthday, Simon!

Today Is My Birthday!

Today, March 11, is my birthday! According to the New York Times, not much of interest happened on this day in history:

  • In 1810, Emperor Napoleon of France was married by proxy to Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria.
  • In 1941, President Roosevelt signed into law the Lend-Lease Bill, providing war supplies to countries fighting the Axis.
  • In 1970, the album “Deja Vu” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young was released on this date.
  • In 1977, more than 130 hostages held in Washington, D.C., by Hanafi Muslims were freed after ambassadors from three Islamic nations joined negotiations.
  • In 1978, Palestinian guerrillas went on a rampage on the Tel Aviv-Haifa highway, killing 34 Israelis.
  • In 1985, Mikhail S. Gorbachev was chosen to succeed the late Soviet President Konstantin Chernenko.
  • In 1993, Janet Reno was unanimously confirmed by the Senate to be the nation’s first “female” attorney general.
  • In 1997, musician Paul McCartney of the Beatles was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
  • In 2004, 10 bombs exploded in quick succession across the commuter rail network in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 people and wounding more than 2,000.
  • In 2005, a man being escorted to court for trial in Atlanta took a gun from a sheriff’s deputy and went on a deadly rampage, killing four people, including a judge.
  • In 2006, former Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic was found dead of a heart attack in his prison cell in the Netherlands.

Aside from the marriage of a tyrant, the death of another and a lame rock album being released, not much good happened on my birthday, no?

Here’s who shares my birthday:

– People that are still alive:

Rupert Murdoch, media mogul, is 77 today!
Sam Donaldson, broadcast journalist, is 74 today!
Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia is 72 today!
Bobby McFerrin, the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” singer is 58 today!
Jerry Zucker, director of Airplane! and other films, is 58 today!
Nina Hagen, the German New Wave singer, is 53 today!
Lisa Loeb, pop star, turns 40 today!
Johnny Knoxville, of Jackass fame, is 37 today!
The Madden Brothers (of Good Charlotte) are 29 today!
Lil’ Thora Birch is 26 today!

– People that are no longer alive:

Torquato Tasso, Italian poet of the late Renaissance
John McLean, Supreme Court justice; dissented in Dred Scott decision
Joseph Bertrand, French mathematician and educator
Dorothy Gish, American film and stage actress
Frederick IX, Danish king; led resistance against Nazis in WWII
Lawrence Welk, American bandleader and showman
Harold Wilson, English Labor Party politician; twice prime minister