Denis Lehane: Jingle all the way to the rubbish bin

While I’m far from a bandwagon jumper, I’m all for the recent banning by a radio station of the Christmas ditty ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside.’

The song is an abomination, even I know that.

‘Baby It’s Cold Outside,’ me arse. It’s a kick up the backside the writer of the song desperately needs, or needed back in 1944 when he was putting one word in front of the other.

I may not know the first thing about writing a good lyric, or penning a tuneful composition, but I know a dud when I hear one. ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ has been putting a shiver down my spine for donkey's years.

Ban the blasted thing, before I contract pneumonia.

But don’t stop there. The radio stations this Christmas are packed full of seasonal songs that have no business being played at this time of the year.

‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,’ is another old stinker of a lullaby. A terrifying Christmas anthem foisted upon a nation of innocents each year with little care or consideration.

It needs banning too.

You better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout, I’m telling you why.

Who in their right mind would issue such a dire warning? These are surely the words of a madman.

It’s like something the Bull McCabe said in ‘The Field.’ And the Bull, in fairness to himself, had good reason to be losing the head.

Santa has no business shouting such threats at us, especially in front of the children.

And it gets worse, for then the song goes on, “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.” Who does? How? These are the kind of questions that can keep a fellow awake at night.

It’s a frightening song. I wouldn’t sing it to a dog, never mind sing it to an impressionable youngster.

How about that other seasonal favourite that contains the line, ‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.’ Could there be anything more painful?

It gets worse, there are more seasonal scares to be found in the hellish wailing of ‘Walking In The Air.’ There are only two types of creature, to my mind, who walk on air. Phantoms and those flaked out on drugs. And neither party is a desirable Christmas companion.

Walking in the air? It’s more like walking into trouble.

The video that goes along with the song isn’t much better, and features a snowman coming to life!

Hitchcock at his wildest couldn’t have dreamed up such a nightmare. It’s about as Christmas as my backside.

Then, you have ‘Driving Home For Christmas’ which, while not a scary song, is still depressingly sorrowful. It’s a class of a goading tune.

How can we drive home? How can we, out here in rural Ireland, drive home from any place, be it a lounge bar or public house?

It’s impossible. I’m blue in the face from telling you. The days of driving home are long gone. We all have to walk now.

The song is a townie song made all too real with the line, “I got red lights all around,” which to my mind signifies the guards and “the bag”. I was asked to blow the bag a few years ago myself, and found it to be no pleasure at all.

Driving home for Christmas could have a fellow facing a magistrate before the New Year.

So while they are harping on about banning ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside,’ I feel ’tis only the tip of the iceberg.

There are plenty more Christmas songs that could be “grinched“.


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