Cleavie’s Fish Counter #19

Merry Christmas fish-heads, and a Happy New Year too! I bet you’re wondering why we haven’t got a Christmas song out, aren’t you? So am I, seeing as I wrote one last year and we’ve recorded it, along with a couple of Cornish carols, and it sounds good to me. Then, it would do, wouldn’t it? It’s called ‘The stars of the New Year Turning’, and is meant to fill us all with hope and optimism in these dodgy times….

‘And we’ll all be all right
When we walk home tonight,
The fires deep in our hearts burning.
If you want to survive
Keep your passions alive,
Be the stars of the New Year turning….’

There, that’s cheered you up already, hasn’t it?

So what are you all doing pre-christmas? Carol singing? I hope you don’t come to the Port Gaverne hotel Friday evening, or the Golden Lion on Christmas Eve, because we’ll be in there carolling and shantying together probably, with loads of other locals, and we wouldn’t want you to join in and bugger it all up. Maybe you could just listen from outside? The windows are generally open for you to hear, and if it’s freezing with a blizzard blowing in on a North Easterly and you’ve got icicles hanging off your nether regions, and you’re being attacked by polar bears or wolverines or the like, we could pass you out a ginger beer and bag of crisps.

We love our own carols, fish-heads. One in particular we regard as the Port Isaac carol, ‘Hark the Glad Sound’. That’s a good old hellfire, brimstone and eternal damnation number that is…

‘…The gates of brass before him burst,
The iron fetters yield!’

Good old Methodists, just like the Taliban only without the bonhomie and goodwill and wicked sense of fun. The best thing about it is that no one else knows it, so they can’t join in at all!

We always had problems with people joining in with ‘While Shepherds Watched’, however we put paid to that by doing it to the tune of Lyngham, which is hugely popular in Cornwall. Imagine how disappointed I was to discover that Thomas Jarman, the composer of Lyngham, was in fact from Northamptonshire. Still, it by far and away the most rattlin!!! version of the carol.

And just who was it wot rote ‘Oh Come All Ye Faithfull’? It is a fabulous carol I know, but what on earth possessed him to think up the line ‘…Lo, he abhors not the virgin’s womb’ ? What’s that all about? I’m surprised some rapper hasn’t ‘sampled it’ [pinched it in other words] – ‘…Yo, he abhors not the virgin’s womb etc etc’!

I think, for me certainly, therein lies the appeal of carols. They take you right back to your childhood, when you could change the words to give the lyric a naughty, silly little twist. You know, ‘Noel, Noel’ becomes ‘Oh hell, Oh hell..’, ‘Most highly favoured lady’ becomes ‘Most highly flavoured lady’, and ‘While shepherds watched their flocks’ became ‘While shepherds washed their…’, oh never mind. These little tweaks, seemingly inaudible to teachers and choirmasters, gave us little moments of fun through those interminable rehearsals for nativity plays.

And then some of us graduated on to doing complete sets of lyrics for traditional Christmas songs. I remember fondly my exquisitely filthy version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, the cleanest bit of which was where three French hens became three French tarts. Ahh, Christmas. The warm glow of nostalgia. My nuts roasting by an open fire and all that…

Talking of Nat King Cole, I’ve had a little tweak to the Christmas classic, ‘The little Boy that Santa Claus Forgot.’ I do hope you like it.

‘I’m the little boy that Santa Claus forgot,
And heaven knows, I didn’t want a lot.
I left a note for Santa for an X- Box and a gun,
I was so disappointed when the old bugger didn’t come.
Now I play out on the street with all those lucky boys,
Then wander home alone to last year’s broken toys.
I’d like to stampede all his reindeer,
But then I know he’d never come here,
To the little boy that Santa Claus forgot.

I recall one Christmas eve when Santa came to town,
With Dancer, Prancer, Rudolph and the sleigh.
I left a glass of sherry, and a carrot for the deer,
Then hid behind the sofa, for Santa to appear.
Yes, I hid there all night long and all through Christmas day,
Boxing day too…the old bugger never came.
I’d light a bonfire up my chimney,
But I haven’t got it in me,
Cos I’m the little boy that Santa Claus forgot.

It’s not as horrid as my original re-write, but you see he might just read it, and then I really would be the little boy that Santa Claus forgot, wouldn’t I?

A very Happy Christmas and New Year to all fish-heads everywhere!!!!

Dreckly dears xx

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