My favourite way to spend Christmas is orphan-style at the St Albans valley home of two of my dearest friends. We drink too much and hardly touch any of the mountains of food ’cause it’s so bloody hot, and we sing. And drink some more. And listen to Baterz.
And one year, it was suggested that my boyfriend and I learn the goosebump-raising anti-Christmas carol, “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues. We did, and it became one of our most-requested numbers at friends’ parties.
Flash-forward to last Thursday, when I get a breathless phone call from my boyfriend.
“Claire! Call 702 and sing Fairytale of New York!”
“You know Richard Glover on 702?”
“Call him and sing Fairytale of New York.”
“Why on earth would I do that?”
He went on to explain that Tripod were currently being interviewed by Richard Glover on 702Damien Leith had been booked to sing the Kirsty MacColl part of the song at their gig that night at the Metro but he’d pulled out that morning and they were “putting the word out” on air to see if any listeners would be able to take on the mantle. Now, this might come as a suprise to you, but I’m a massive introvert. I am not the type of person to call a radio station for anything, least of all to sing. I explained my shyness to my boyfriend. He told me I was being stupid.
“C’mon,” he said, “you’d sing it to me now if I asked, wouldn’t you?”
“So what’s the problem? Sing it to them.”
He had a point. I thought, “Okay, fuck it. Pull your finger out, Claire. Take a risk.”
So I called. And I sang. And I got the gig.
After their interview finished, Scod called me on my mobile to see if I’d be able to get to the Metro to do a soundcheck. Thankfully, not only do I have very flexible work hours and generous bosses, I also work about three blocks away from the Metro. I went straight there.
My boyfriend called me again and asked me to mention to Scod that, if they wanted a trumpeter for the show, he could come along too. So when I saw him at the soundcheck, I told Scod that my boyfriend plays in The Gadflys, actually, and would you maybe like him to join you for a couple of songs too? “Oh, really? Sure! That’d be great!”
So we both got a gig out of it. Romantic, huh?
The producer from 702 called me to ask if I’d be willing to go in to the studio the following morning and sing the song live on the radio. Yes, just me. Singing a duet. About a couple having an argument with each other. By myself. (Of course I could do it.)
It was a fabulous night. After the gig we all drank at the Three Wise Monkeys until close and I spoke at length with Yon about Doctor Who.
The next morning I went to the ABC studios to sing the song again. Solo. In front of a studio audience. Hilarious!
I think my dad recorded it. On cassette.
Click here to read a review of the show, written, as it happens, by an old uni friend of mine.
Oh, and I made the local rag: