Avatar Four Word Reviews: The Christmas Album

It’s April, which means that rising sense of child-like excitement you feel is thanks to Christmas. Here in the Four Word Review lounge we like to crack out a Christmas album around this time of the year (see previous scrapes with Mahalia, Streisand, Bublé and Jewel); now, as the log crackles on the fire and the snow falls outside, it’s time to drop the needle on another. Unfortunately the only festive album I seem to have in store is this one: it’s “The Christmas Album” by the Tweenies.

Cover of The Christmas Album by the Tweenies

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Avatar The second horror of Christmas

Round here people like to put lights on their house for Christmas. You know there’s that house near you, where the people go a bit mad, and cover the whole thing in garish flashing multicoloured lights? Every year, because it’s their “thing”? Well, we more or less live in a whole town of people like that.

On our street, the people next door and the people over the road compete for the most Christmas lights every year. As a result we are trapped in the middle of the fairy light equivalent of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Here is the view out of our bedroom window this year.

And then, if you want a bit of a break from the light shining through the blinds, you can go round to the back, where this is the view.

Avatar Four Word Reviews: Joy

Do you know what it isn’t any more? It isn’t April. And that’s a shame, because April is traditionally the month in which we Four Word Review the heck out of a Christmas album (see Mahalia, Barbra Streisand, Michael Bublé), and right now I’ve got another Christmas album burning a hole in my CD collection. So let’s throw tradition to the wind and have a listen to Joy: A Holiday Collection by Jewel, even though it’s May and May is nowhere near as inherently Christmassy as April.

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Avatar Christmas haul

It was a good Christmas. Many lovely things were received. This is a totally sincere, non-cynical post to say thank you for the nice things I got.

Kev sent me Bob Mortimer’s new book, The Satsuma Complex, which looks brilliant. I’ve been wanting to read it and I really enjoyed his autobiography so this is great.

Continuing the Reeves and Mortimer theme, Ian sent me this Mulligan and O’Hare t-shirt, complete with the lyrics of my favourite Mulligan and O’Hare song. It’s brilliant.

Ian also sent me disc 2 of Carmen Electra’s “Fit to Strip” workout DVD, but I’m determined not to let it spoil my enjoyment of everything else.

Avatar Four Word Reviews: Christmas

So, it turns out that tomorrow is the first day of May, and not as I had assumed another day in April. That means that this post is being thrown online in a hurry so that it counts towards my April beans and not my May beans.

Anyway, since it’s April, and since it’s Four Word Reviews time, tradition dictates that we must listen to a Christmas album. In Aprils gone by we have heard from Mahalia and Barbra Streisand. This year we’re going for the big one: Christmas, the 2011 album by Michael Bublé. It rewrote Christmas music as we know it – a solid album of Christmas classics, reworked by the smoothest sounding chart act since Sade stopped releasing new music. Now everyone comes along and releases a few slick Christmas cover versions every year. Especially Michael Ball.

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Avatar Christmas wrap up 2021

It’s all over, all over again. Time to walk round the house with a bin bag collecting the wrapping paper and hope you don’t accidentally bin the presents too.

I got some nice presents this year, and I hope you did too. One of mine was shared with Kate and was one of the most unexpectedly brilliant presents ever. We had a bricklaying lesson.

Here are the bricks we laid.

Happy new year everyone. May 2022 be filled with joy and nicely pointed with good strong mortar.

Avatar The history of Christmas

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s nearly Christmas. There are very few signs to warn you of its approach – it would be handy, for example, if everything you saw and heard in the media for the last two months had involved a Christmas related song, perhaps – but I have checked and it’s coming at the end of this week.

We all know what that means. There will be trees and presents and cake, and the law will turn a blind eye to breaking-and-entering offences committed by overweight bearded pensioners in unlikely red outfits. But where does Christmas come from? You don’t know, so prepare your thanks because I’m about to tell you.

Time for an unforgettable Christmas feast

Christmas is the eldest child of Father Christmas, born in December 1955 in Lapland. Father Christmas himself is, of course, the nephew of Zeus. After spending a happy childhood in the snowy reindeer-filled northern reaches of Finland, young Christmas left home and travelled to Liverpool in the hope of landing a role in Brookside.

The lack of an authentic scouse accent prevented that dream from becoming a reality, and a few years later Christmas was working in a branch of M&S where a toy sale coincided with the accidental delivery of too many frozen turkeys. The marketing opportunity was obvious. Parents were persuaded to get their kids some knock-off toys and treat themselves to a slap-up turkey lunch (pictured) by Christmas’s dad, whose booming voice and hypnotic catchphrase “ho” entranced the crowds at the Uttoxeter department store.

Today those traditions have spread far beyond Uttoxeter and the surrounding villages of Willslock, Dagdale and Spath. Now we can all enjoy the warm glow of buying some knock-off presents for each other and eating a type of meat that, at any other time of year, we’d avoid in favour of something that didn’t have the flavour and texture of teatowels. Hurrah.

In celebration of the big day, which is definitely some time this week but I’m not 100% sure when, please enjoy this Twitter thread of dreadful Christmas dinners. Thank you.