Fairytale of New York, 25 years on

The most moving Christmas pop anthem is 25 years old. Fairytale of New York. As the Guardian’s Dorian Lynskey put it this week:

“Once upon a time a band set out to make a Christmas song. Not about snow or sleigh rides or mistletoe or miracles, but lost youth and ruined dreams. A song in which Christmas is as much the problem as it is the solution. A kind of anti-Christmas song that ended up being, for a generation, the Christmas song.”

I fell in love with this wonderful song in the mid 1990s. I was determined to play it at a Christmas party I was hosting, and spent hours searching shops around Swindon for a CD or tape featuring it, without success. Yet when I got home, I found I already had a tape with it on. Life is easier now, with instant music downloads and streaming.
All these years later, I still relish in hearing Fairytale for the first time each Christmas season. I sing loudly in the car when the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl sing “And the bells were ringing out for Christmas Day” – and especially for the classic lines:

“I could have been someone/Well so could anyone..”

Tragically, Kirsty MacColl died in an accident just before Christmas 2000. But her memory lives on in one of the greatest Christmas anthems ever created.