The Darkness - Christmas Time
There are a few wags suggesting that unlike previous years, which tended to have only the one novelty song competing with Cliff and a bolas of boy bands, 2003 sees two novelty songs aiming to be the Christmas number one - Proper Crimbo by Avid Merrion/Bo Selecta and Christmas Time by The Darkness. Actually, that's Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End) to give the song its full title. But, hold on...he said Bells End. *Snigger*
There's a great tradition with Christmas songs in the UK and Ireland, stretching back to the seventies heyday of Slade, Wizzard and Gary Glitter. Even a couple of ex-Beatles got in on the act with Paul McCartney's superb Wonderful Christmastime and John Lennon's Happy Xmas (War is Over), although whilst it's entirely likely that Ringo did Christmas at some point, history has failed to record it. There have been the great Christmas songs - Fairytale of New York, Christmas Wrapping and Mary Margaret O'Hara's sublime but rare Christmas EP - and the terrible, including The Spinners' Twelve Days Of Christmas and Jane McDonald's Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas but so rare is there a metal Christmas, even with big poodle hair, that The Darkness are innovative...of a sort.
Ignoring the merits of The Darkness, which is covered enough elsewhere, Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End) is straight outta the Slade and Wizzard school of daft pop, complete with big choruses, terribly cheesy lyrics, sleigh bells and children's choir. As such, this song will be as fondly remembered in the future as I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday is now and, when the charts are clogged for every other week of the year up with vacuous R&B, boy bands and Pop Idols who aim no higher than a placing on the Radio 2 A-list then, just for one week, who wouldn't prefer something like this to be number one for Christmas. This year, with your only realistic alternative being The Idols spectacularly insensitive cover of Happy Xmas (War Is Over), released at a time when civilians and soldiers are still dying in Iraq, this really has got to be what people hear after eating their turkey and stuffing but before the queen pops up on the afternoon of the 25th.
Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End) is a quite ridiculous song but it's not without charm, thanks both to the song but also to Justin Hawkins' wearing of a red spandex catsuit to promote this song on Top Of The Pops. Whilst they might be giving the devil sign a rest, be assured that The Darkness are keeping it as straight for Christmas as at all other times...business as usual but this time with sleigh bells!