Advent: December 14th, 15th and 16th

I’ve had a busy couple of days and now I’m ill so I’ll just link up the last two days which I posted on LiveJournal (I actually get comments there so it seemed more important to post).

December 14th – Silent Night

December 15th – Modern Christmas Songs by female artists

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas has quite a tale to tell and I’m both excited and a little disappointed to tell it to you. The version we all know and love is not the original, but I think the original version doesn’t exist as a song, from what I understand.

It was written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane for the musical Meet Me in St Louis and was sung by Judy Garland. The original lyrics were considered too depressing by the main cast and director and were changed. Notably this verse was amended:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas, it may be your last,
Next year we may all be living in the past
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, pop that champagne cork,
Next year we will all be living in New York.

The video for Judy Garland’s version wouldn’t allow me to embed it, so here’s a link http://youtu.be/jNAyZNzLCuQ

The one everyone is bound to recognise is by Frank Sinatra and was a modified version which has become more popular than the original. It is considered the third most popular Christmas song by some.

Here’s Frank!

A version by James Taylor which I rather enjoyed.

There’s quite a few other versions out there, here’s just a few.

Katie Melua http://youtu.be/VxhS1gYpsxA

I’m not a big fan of Coldplay so I was surprised to actually enjoy this version, I didn’t love it, but it was pleasant enough. http://youtu.be/sMF8KZ5Woyw

A heavier version by John Sloman, though for the most part it’s not too different to other versions. http://youtu.be/Tdj7dPZLeJ8

Beres Hammond’s version which I’m not very sure about, not sure it really works, but it’s worth a listen…maybe… http://youtu.be/j14dy3lmT8o

Advertisements

Advent: December 12th – Santas Claus Is Coming To Town

Wow. This is the first advent song I have written about that has stunned me with the number of artists who have covered it. The list is rather extensive and includes (at least) four different languages, one parody and many, many names you will all know!

Naturally, Bing Crosby has sung a version, as has Dean Martin. Then we have versions by Hilary Duff, Destiny’s Child, Westlife and Miley Cyrus.

The song was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie and it was first heard on radio in 1934.

The versions I’d like to share with you today are from some old and new stars who are famous (or perhaps infamous?).

The version I seem to know the best is by Jackson 5.

Move over Michael, if you want a more modern take on the traditional song, look no further than the most recent young star, Justin Bieber.

And I can’t help but end on a version in a different language, Angelica Maria’s Spanish rendition.

Remember…

Having had a brief nosey at Katy and Katy’s blogs I have seen that we have a list of themes. The last 50 blogathon posts have been quite varied and thanks to Katy P you can all see them in their glory.

  1. October
  2. Happy place
  3. Birthdays
  4. Public transport
  5. Inventions
  6. Sport
  7. A regular journey
  8. Same gender vs mixed gender schools
  9. Forbidden fruit
  10. Public displays of affection
  11. What have you done today to make you feel proud?
  12. Fairytales
  13. Gratification
  14. Revisit an old familiar place
  15. Should we kill animals for acting naturally?
  16. Music of your teens
  17. Pick a DVD and tell us about it
  18. Swearing
  19. Home
  20. Halloween
  21. Is chivalry dead?
  22. Where would you ask the Doctor to take you?
  23. Describe your magical island paradise
  24. Sustainability
  25. Do you believe in fate?
  26. A day in the life
  27. The best month of your life
  28. What message would you send in a bottle?
  29. Which animal would you be and why?
  30. 3 wishes, 1 for you, 1 for each blogathoner
  31. Describe a typical Christmas
  32. 3 books you loved as a child
  33. Favourite annual celebration
  34. 3 primary school memories
  35. Fear
  36. Close your eyes, walk down a path, describe what you see
  37. Random sentences
  38. Describe yourself in one song
  39. Photo diary of the weekend
  40. Should Britain have a National Day?
  41. Your first gig
  42. Artificial intelligence
  43. Bucket list
  44. Teach something
  45. Family
  46. Fave food
  47. A visit to Father Christmas
  48. Christmas Past, Present and Future
  49. Top 3 Christmas songs
  50. Winter’s tale.

Now to decide on which were my favourites.

Only trouble is I have looked at Katy and Katy’s and now I feel like I can’t choose the themes they have chosen…mostly because (and I kid you not) they chose the exact same three.

I really enjoyed many and it’s hard to choose but I will have to say:

Fairytales – I enjoyed writing and reading this one, the idea of fairytales has become more prominent in my life since I started watch the programme Once Upon a Time, but I did enjoy it dearly.

3 wishes – it was a hard blog to do but it was wonderful to read the other girls’ blogs.

Magical island – I couldn’t not include this one and it was up top for Katy and Katy as a favourite too. It was so random and fun and beautiful. Plus, it made me buy Swiss Family Robinson on DVD. Haha.

I wish I had more to say on the matter, but I’m not good with endings really, so I will pretend this never even happening – the ending part, not the blogathon – because it’s been a wonderful, enjoyable time that has brought me to much closer to two wonderful girls who have been nothing but a tower of strength in recent weeks. So thanks Katy and Katy, just, thanks.

Paper rounds and Political Correctness

So the blogathon has ended and in true fashion, I’m behind.

This blog I’m supposed to be using to tell you all about a wintry story of the non-fairytale variety and also sharing some jokes. I’m not sure what good I’ll be at the story side of things because try as I might to think of a story I cannot.

Okay, here goes…one year I had some bad luck on ice and for that very reason I have since been quite scared of going out when snow falls; mostly when it’s just a thin layer of snow because that freezes instantly.

I used to do a paper round in the local area and one winter I was walking down a garden path when I slipped, I kid you not, my arms flew into the air and the newspaper in my hand went flying like a bird across the path onto a bush. I can laugh about how silly I probably looked falling and landing on the ground. But I also can’t because I hurt my knee.

That same winter I went ice skating for my birthday, a group of people (who were being idiots, skating along about 5 of them together, holding each other’s hands) came by and they knocked me down. They didn’t care to stop…but I hurt my knee again and when I woke up the next day (on my actual birthday) my knee was so painful I couldn’t even walk at first.

Since then, for about 5 years on the trot I ended up slipping over and hurting myself. After the knee I went on to damage my coccyx on more than one occasion, another year I slipped and landed on my wrist…I’m still surprised I didn’t break it from how hard I landed on it.

My knee used to ache in the joint when it got really cold, though it hasn’t for a couple of years now (phew!).

Onwards to a joke…

‘Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s a wreck…
How to live in a world that’s politically correct?

His workers no longer would answer to “Elves”,
“Vertically Challenged” they were calling themselves.

And labor conditions at the north pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.

So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!?

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.

And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their roof-tops.

Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur trimmed red suit was called “Unenlightened.”

And to show you the strangeness of life’s ebbs and flows:
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose
And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.

So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she’d enough of this life,
Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.

And as for the gifts, why, he’d ne’er had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that’s warlike or non-pacific.
No candy or sweets…they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.

And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.

For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, no football…someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.

Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.

So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you’ve got to be careful with that word today.

His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.

A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;
Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere…even you.

So here is that gift, it’s price beyond worth…

“May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth.”

(copyright (c) Harvey Ehrlich 1992)

Advent: December 11th – It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas; everywhere you go…well, now that we’re eleven days into the advent, I think this song is rather fitting. On December 1st only some people decide to put up decorations and start celebrating the holiday season, whilst others wait ‘til closer to the big day itself to get festive.

Which way do you do it?

My family have always waited until closer to Christmas Day, mostly because we buy a fresh Christmas tree (and these days lots of people have plastic ones, at least in the UK) and we don’t want it to die off before Christmas, so we buy it roughly two weeks before the day. Today we took a trip to town where we saw a very festive looking centre – we have a Christmas market this weekend and next so it was rather wonderful.

Onwards to the song, It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas (as it was originally known) was written in 1951 by Meredith Williams. Unlike other songs on the advent, there’s not much background to the song so it sounds like it’s just an older classic that has become a firm favourite. As usual, many artists have covered the song, so I’ve brought you a mixture from Bing Crosby to a guy on youtube.

Bing Crosby

Johnny Mathis

An amazing version, sung by someone most people won’t have even heard of, Brad Doggett.

If you feel like a bit of Michael Bublé, here he is http://youtu.be/EPFPVd3L3Lc

Advent: December 10th – O Tannenbaum

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

No, I don’t know German. I do, however, know that the Christmas song, Oh Christmas Tree, is actually of German origin. When I first searched Google, instead of finding a Wikipedia entry for Oh Christmas Tree, I found one for O Tannenbaum.

The song was written in 1842, though the lyrics are assumed to date back further to as early as 1550.

Similar to many other Christmas songs there have been many covers of Oh Christmas Tree, from Tony Bennett and Aretha Franklin to Alvin and the Chipmunks and They Might Be Giants, who released a record included a version of O Tannenbaum.

Shall we begin?

Which better version to start with than the original (though it’s not the first ever recording of the song), here is O Tannenbaum.


If you want to hear another version of O Tannenbaum (though it’s also in English!), here’s Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti’s version http://youtu.be/IrFqDzPPGE8

To balance things out a little, we have Boney M.

Finally, to top it off, is the metal version. I’m intrigued by how different it sounds, so I hope you enjoy it too.