A rock star is for life – not just for Christmas

Published by Daily Mail

Cliff ChristmasExactly 30 years ago, in December 1982, Cliff Richard’s ‘Little Town’ was ringing out of all the radio stations like a peal of church bells calling the faithful to worship, and the Peter Pan of pop was strutting his glittery stuff all over Top of the Pops. There were bright stars twinkling above and tinsel strewn over some horrendous jumper knitted by Aunt Doris. ‘Little Town’ was the sixth track on the album ‘Now you see me… now you don’t’ (and yes, I still have it on vinyl).

Astonishingly, ‘Little Town’ never made it to No.1: rather like The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’, it probably should have, and feels like it might have. But thereafter Cliff became synonymous with log fires, mince pies, mulled wine and the warm glow of Christmassy feelings. The Devil no longer had all the good music: Cliff brought us devotional pop straight from the adoring shepherds and Wise Men, and the race to the Christmas No.1 had truly become the highlight of the pop calendar. Continue reading


Spotify Christmas: Joy to the World

Published by The Spectator

Distilling your Christmas favourites into a succinct playlist is like trying to cram the creator of the universe into a manger – not entirely impossible, but it needs a bit of thought and planning. Just as the Christ-child had to surrender aspects of divinity, a playlist must compromise somewhere. But kenosis is traumatic. What goes? The Pogues? That’s easy enough. Mariah Carey? That’ll upset Fraser. Cliff? Oh, steady on. And yet it’s terribly difficult contemplating the eternal wonder of the birth of the Son of God with Cliff at Christmas ringing in your ears. Buried beneath the glitz and tinsel we so easily lose sight of the baby born in a stable 2000 years ago. So I’ve included a healthy dose of theological orthodoxy in this list, along with happy memories of Christmases past. Continue reading