Christmas Tat 2020

More bad taste baubles for your entertainment! Last year I displayed some of the wonderfully strange and tacky Christmas tree baubles that I’ve acquired. They can be found hanging from the branches of our festive tree. As I’ve added a couple more to the collection, I thought I’d share them here. for your enjoyment.

Now, something that has distressed me this year, whilst perusing the delights of Twitter, is people referring to these decorations as “ball balls” or even “baule baules”. I know, disgraceful isn’t it? No wonder we’re in the mess we’re in.

Anyway, I hope you like these ball balls, may they bring some yuletide cheer to what is a tough situation for us all.

Below you will see:

  1. A gherkin wearing a Christmas hat (or a pickle wearing a Christmas hat, if you prefer)
  2. A robot (note the clear plastic space helmet he’s wearing, just about visible)

And with that, all I can say is Merry Christmas to all of my readers. Enjoy this festive tat, and keep coming back to Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub for more fun next year!

Christmas Tat 2019

And now for a visual feast of festive tat.  A collection of the odd and the bizarre, rendered in cheap plastic (or glass if you’re lucky).

You may have noticed that certain stores sell “wacky” Christmas baubles, gloriously garish and ridiculously random.  Not the traditional seasonal balls here – we’ve wandered into distinctly abstract territory.

Whilst the groovy shops sell the strange tree trinkets for a tenner, other, less glamorous emporiums are knocking them out for a couple of quid.  And bless ’em, these cheapo ones are usually even more ugly and weird.

Which is where I come in.  As a genuine aficionado of the kitsch Christmas, I have collected some of these decorations from various sources.  They are proudly displayed on our Christmas tree, and here I present them to you for your entertainment.

Enjoy these bad taste baubles, dear reader, and be inspired by the wondrous world of tat.

In the photos below you will see:

  • A taco
  • A guitar
  • A cupcake
  • Santa with a surfboard
  • A pizza slice
  • Some beer
  • Peppers and an ice cream
  • Another taco
  • A VW Beetle
  • A crown and a strawberry
  • A VW camper van with a Christmas tree
  • A crocodile in a UFO (my personal favourite)

 

I want a tattoo of the crocodile in a UFO – spectacular.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed that trip into the low quality and down right strange.

I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas!  Thank you for reading Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub, your support is always appreciated.

Christmas Playlist

Nothing gets me in the festive spirit like a few classic Christmas songs, or indeed, a bit of seasonal strangeness – as in this playlist.  A bit of alcohol helps too, mind.

I’ve already covered my Top Ten Christmas songs, and this playlist isn’t just run down of all the usual Crimbo staples.  This list is more complicated, idiosyncratic, and pointless than that.

Within my music collection are several Christmas songs, of varying fame, often collected together on themed compilations.

This list pulls together the songs that aren’t on those compilations, as well as some of the standards that do, but for one reason or another have found themselves bundled in with this bunch of misfits.

For example, there are several tunes that are always part of any respectable Christmas collection, but can also be found bunged onto Greatest Hits albums.  Songs like the wonderful Slade song “Merry Xmas Everybody”: it’s on all the comps, but I selected my copy from the Slade Best Of to group together with similar songs.  Shaky, The Pogues and John Lennon are other examples of this type.

Then there are the album Crimbo album tracks that are hidden away on band’s regular studio albums, such as the Ramones track (see also: AC/DC, Joan Jett).  They’re not going to crop up on a Now Christmas comp, so I added them here.

Plus, there are various songs from singles (the Darkness track) and a few of dubious seasonal pedigree…

Here’s my Christmas Odds and Sods playlist.  Enjoy!

  1. Slade – “Merry Xmas Everybody”
  2. Shakin’ Stevens – “Merry Christmas Everyone”
  3. The Pogues (with Kirsty MacColl – “Fairytale of New York”
  4. John Lennon – “Happy Christmas (War is Over)”
  5. Queen – “Thank God it’s Christmas”
  6. Ramones – “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)”
  7. AC/DC – “Mistress for Christmas”
  8. The Beatles – “Christmas Time (Is Here Again)
  9. The Darkness – “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)
  10. Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews – “Baby It’s Cold Outside”
  11. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – “Little Drummer Boy”
  12. Boney M – “Mary’s Boy Child”
  13. Christopher Lee – “Silent Night”
  14. Bad News – “Cashing in on Christmas”
  15. Roy Orbison – “Pretty Paper”
  16. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – “There’s No Light on the Christmas Tree Mama They’re Burning Big Louie Tonight”
  17. The Damned – “There Ain’t No Sanity Clause”
  18. Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler – “Home for the Holidays”
  19. Monster Magnet – “Dead Christmas”
  20. UK Subs – “Hey Santa”
  21. Black Stone Cherry – “Santa Claus is Back in Town”
  22. Christopher Lee – “Little Drummer Boy”
  23. Queen – “A Winter’s Tale”

Merry Christmas all!

My Top 10 Christmas Songs

I’ve chickened out of writing this list for a long time.  That’s because there are so many great Christmas songs, that it’s a real struggle to narrow it down to just 10.  There are a few songs that simply have to be on the list, but I cringe thinking about those that didn’t make the it.

But I’ve been really ruthless, and narrowed it down to ten classic Christmas tunes that I love:

10. The Waitresses – “Christmas Wrapping”

A great, funky little pop number that always gets me dancing in the aisles doing my Christmas shopping.  I know nothing about this group other than this song, but this is sheer class.

9. Ramones – “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)”

The Ramones hark back to their 70’s glam rock influences with this festive banger.  It’s great to have a really influential, cool band in the top 10 (much better than Wham! for example).

8. Showaddywaddy – “Hey Mr Christmas”

This Showaddywaddy song is criminally unknown these days.  It really is a classic bit of 70’s stomping/clapping/singalong fun.  Do yourself a favour and rediscover this gem now!

7. Dean Martin – “”I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm”

There are loads of awesome Christmas tunes from the master, Dean Martin (Baby It’s Cold Outside, Let It Snow!…, etc).  But this track is my top pick from Deano, if only for the wonderfully uplifting instrumental introduction.  You can argue if this tune is actually a Christmas song or not, but it’s on the indispensable “Ultra Lounge Christmas Cocktails” album, so I’m claiming it.

6. Wizzard –  “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”

Another glam rock 70’s nugget.  Absolutely essential.  It seems like I’ve heard this song all my life – I probably have – and it never gets boring.  Christmas magic!

5. The Crystals – “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

Timeless stuff from the wonderful “A Christmas Gift For You from Phil Spector” album.  You’ve heard this song on film soundtracks, everywhere – it instantly conjures up a vivid feeling of Christmas nostalgia.  Superb.

4. Darlene Love – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”

Another track from the Phil Spector record (if you don’t own it, get it.  You need it).  The fantastic intro and Wall of Sound production are just perfect.  Sends a Christmassy shiver down your spine every time.

3. The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl – “Fairytale of New York”

Nowadays it’s as traditional as Christmas pud.  “Fairytale of New York” has grown on me massively over the years – it’s now an essential part of the festivities.

2. Shakin’ Stevens – “Merry Christmas Everyone”

Instantly recognisable, the Welsh Elvis rocks out a total seasonal masterpiece.  Newsflash: Shaky is, was, and always will be COOL.  This song is crucial for any Crimbo fun.

So what’s number one in my festive all time top ten?  It can only be…

1. Slade – “Merry Christmas Everybody”

Forget the Coca Cola truck, the official start of the Christmas (not “holiday”) season is when you first hear Noddy bellow “It’s Chriiisstmaaaaasss!”  In the 1970’s, Christmas was great.  This is the sound of every family get together from then and ever since.  Unbeatable.

There you go – my Top 10 Christmas songs.  I may need to re-visit this next year, maybe do a top 20 – just to cover off a few of the great songs that didn’t make this list.

Though there’s no way that East fucking 17 will ever get in here.

Merry Christmas to all my readers! 

More Christmas Tat

It’s Christmas Eve!  And here’s my personal Christmas present to you, loyal readers of the Virtual Hot Tub.  Yes, it’s more pictures of tacky Christmas decorations, this time from my home collection.  As time is now running out till the big day, I’ve combined several tat items into this one post, as a special seasonal treat just for you.

Father Christmas Ornament

No idea where this one came from – I think I rescued from somewhere I worked.  Quite a nice, detailed piece actually.  He’s pretty big.  Like a Christmassy garden gnome, but indoors. IMG_2711

Mini Light-up Santa Head

One pound from Poundstretcher in Mold.  He’s supposed to light up, but it doesn’t work.  Still pretty neat though. IMG_2714

Dancing Santa

This character once belonged to my Gran, if I remember correctly.  He’s been around for a long time, probably early 1980’s.  He looks a little evil – part dancing Santa, part mischievous elf.  Nice stick on beard. IMG_2719

Thanks to everyone for reading Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub.  Merry Christmas to you all!

Questions #8: Christmas Films

What could be better than being snuggled up at home in front of the fire, beverage in hand, watching crap on TV?  It’s part of what Christmas is all about.  The television specials, the films, we’re subjected to both the classic and the drastic each year.

So I wanted to know what everyone’s favourite Christmas movie is.  The rules:

  • Your film of choice must have been on television (terrestrial or satellite)
  • It has to be Christmas set or themed.  You can’t pick, for example, Zulu, just because it’s on every year or because you like to watch it every Christmas.  Die Hard, on the other hand, would qualify, as it’s set at Christmas.

Q: What’s your favourite Christmas film?

Jess: Elf

Ash: Elf

Lynne: Elf

Tom: Home Alone

Matt: Home Alone

Mike R: Home Alone

Jayne: Elf

Mike W: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Alix: Home Alone 2

Stu: Arthur Christmas

Jade: Elf

Michelle: Home Alone

Jamie: Jingle All the Way

Terry: Home Alone

Sam: Lethal Weapon

David R: Jingle All the Way

Sue R: Miracle on 34th Street

Nathan: Miracle on 34th Street

Ben G: Muppets Christmas Carol

Sarah: Elf

Jack: Home Alone 2

Me: It’s a Wonderful Life

There you have it:Elf just wins (because I counted Home Alone 2 as a separate film, not additional votes for the first film).

I think Elf is a worthy winner, it just seems more “Christmassy” than Home Alone.  It’s got Elves and Santa in it, after all.

If you’d like to let me know your favourite Christmas film, leave a comment.  Disagree with the choices or rules above?  Likewise.

Questions #7: Christmas Songs

It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid.  Not that there’s any doubt that we’re in the festive season – there are decorations, lights, and yes, songs, everywhere.  Christmas songs are the cherry on the top, the star on the tree – and they’re inescapable right now, whether you’re shopping or just watching TV.

So what’s your favourite Christmas song?  I did some research and this is what I found.

There were some rules: basically, it had to be a song about Christmas; with a Christmassy theme or “sound”.  A Christmas number one therefore doesn’t necessarily count, much as I love Rage Against the Machine.  Traditional or pop, here are the results.

Q: What’s your favourite Christmas song?

Jess: “Merry Christmas Everyone” – Shakin’ Stevens

Ash: “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Lynne: “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Tom: “Merry Christmas Everyone” – Shakin’ Stevens

Matt: “Last Christmas” – Wham!

Dave W: “Stop the Cavalry” – Jona Lewie

Mike W: “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Imam: “Jingle Bells” (Traditional)

Jayne: “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Alix: “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” – The Darkness

Stu: “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” – The Darkness

Jade: “All I Want for Christmas is You” – Mariah Carey

Michelle: “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” – Wizzard

Jamie: “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” – Brenda Lee

Terry: “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Sam: “A Spaceman Came Travelling” – Chris De Burgh

David R: “The Night Santa Went Crazy” – “Weird Al” Yankovic

Sue R: “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – Band Aid

Nathan: “All I Want for Christmas is You” – Mariah Carey

Ben G: “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” – The Darkness

Sarah: “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Jack: “All I Want for Christmas is You” – Mariah Carey

Me: “Merry Christmas Everybody” – Slade

So there you have it: the popular choice for people’s favourite is The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl’s “Fairytale of New York”.  Great song.  Should’ve been a Christmas number one.

Only one vote for Slade???  Never mind, at least the vile monstrosity that is East 17 didn’t get a vote.

If you’d like to let me know your personal favourite Christmas song, leave a comment.  Disagree with these choices?  Are you an East 17 fan?  Let me know.

“It’s CHRIIIIIISSSSTMAAAASSSSS!!!”