Tag Archives: music

Shortcutting… Christmas Music

21 Dec

I know. I’ve been gone for far too long. You probably thought I was never coming back. You probably thought I’d abandoned you. I can only say I’m sorry. I’ve missed you too. I hope you’ll forgive me. I have two good reasons for taking such a long break: a) I’ve been very busy, and b) I felt that I was getting rather boring. So I thought I’d relieve you of the posts until I could give them my all again. And what better time than the Advent? So here I am, back at last, rejuvenated and ready for Christmas/ New Year! Woo hoo! Best present ever, right?

So then, onto more topical topics: Christmas cheer is in season – ho ho ho and all that jazz. Speaking of jazz, let’s start with the music. There are two types of people in the world. Those for whom Christmas music means ‘Once in Royal David’s City’, and those for whom it means ‘Santa Baby’. In fact, that pretty much outlines the two main approaches to Christmas: Jesus vs. Father Christmas. The Nativity vs. the grotto. But it doesn’t really matter, because they essentially have the same message – be good, or you’ll get coal in your stocking/ go to hell. So anyway, back to the music. Let’s start with the pop stuff. I wouldn’t go so far as to say you have to know Now That’s What I Call Christmas back to front, but there are a couple that you really need to know at least the chorus to if you want to get all Christmas-spirited. My own personal favourite is All I Want For Christmas Is You, and you can never escape that bloody Wham! one either, so you might as well get the lyrics to those two down. There are a few other big ones too, but rather than focus too hard on them I’d recommend having a bit of Bublé on in the background, which will seep pleasantly into your subconscious over the course of December. Oh and if you manage to find yourself a singing buddy, definitely whip out the words to Fairytale of New York, which is a brilliant one to really get into character for, especially if you’ve been on the mulled wine. As for carols, I am very proud of myself for knowing (most of) the harmony to Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, which sounds really awesome until someone else sings the normal part and I get all confused and can’t hear myself and start singing something rather unpleasant between the two. Hmm. On second thoughts, maybe just stick to the original. I think the funnest (is that a word?) carol has got to be Oh Come All Ye Faithful, because it has that brilliant bit where you’re all whisper-y and then you get LOUDER and LOUDER (I’m actually rather a loud person and not really capable of whispering, but Christmas is the one time when people don’t seem to mind that much). So anyway, there’s nothing better than a bit of caroling with all the family – actually, that reminds me, We Three Kings of Orient Are and Good King Wenceslas both have really good different parts, so you can do the whole Fairytale of New York-style getting into character but in a slightly more traditional way.

So yes, I think that’s quite enough homework for one night, but never fear, this is only the first in a Christmas series… (That is, if the world doesn’t end before the next one – ooh that would be a good theme for a post wouldn’t it…)

Merry Christmas and keep shortcutting,


P.S. Here’s a little Christmas meme I made to get you in the spirit (it’s a Harry Potter reference so don’t bother if you haven’t seen it…)

Harry Potter Christmas


Shortcutting… Concerts

20 May

I have been to a lot of concerts in my time (I’m talking pop etc., not classical, although I don’t really go for mosh pits either), and have recently obtained tickets to Coldplay’s upcoming UK tour (yay!), which gave me the idea to do a little post about how to get the most out of your concert experience. There are several things you need to think about beforehand: Do you want to be fully involved in the action? Do you want to know all the song lyrics? Do you have the need to frequently empty your bladder? These are all important questions that will help you shape your concert experience.

  1. Sitting vs. standing: If you want to be fully involved in the concert vibe, then standing is definitely the best option. If, on the other hand, you’d rather take a more relaxed approach, or you simply don’t like standing up for long lengths of time, then seating would be better.
  2. Front vs. back: If you’re a massive fan, then obviously the nearer the stage the better. Unfortunately, unless you want some serious hate from fellow fans, you’ll have to queue for quite a while to get anywhere near the front. Queue lengths depend both on the popularity of the artist and the size of the venue but expect a bit of a wait. Also, if you think you’ll need the toilet at some point during the concert, it’s probably better to hang somewhere near the back, unless you’re prepared to fight your way through a lot of people to get to the bathroom, and risk losing your place on your return.
  3. Setlist: If you want to be able to sing along to all the songs, but can’t really be bothered to learn all the songs, then try heading to setlist.fm, where you might be able to find the setlist of past dates in the tour (usually a good indication of what will be played on your night), meaning you can only learn songs that will definitely be played.
  4. Bags etc.: If you’re standing, only bring a very small bag packed with the bare essentials (i.e. oyster card, wallet, phone). When you’re running in to the stadium you want minimum air resistance, and you also don’t want your bag-searching to take half an hour. If you’re sitting, take whatever the hell you want.
  5. Support acts: If it’s a small venue then there’s a chance of you meeting a support act backstage afterwards so it’s worth having a listen to a couple of their songs and maybe learning their names so you can pretend you’re a massive fan.
  6. Memorabilia: You have a choice: you can either buy official memorabilia (t-shirts, posters, badges) at extortionate prices in the venue, or you can usually find some unofficial stuff being sold outside for slightly less. And let’s face it, a ‘fake’ poster of Chris Martin is still a poster of Chris Martin. Oh yeah, and you can also not buy anything, which is generally a lot cheaper.
  7. Refreshments: Eat and drink up beforehand. I have been to a concert where they passed cups of water to people at the front who were on the verge of passing out, probably so as to avoid a lawsuit, but most of the time, you’re on your own. Having said that, if you do faint, beefy security guys carry you over the barrier, which looks quite exciting, although I’ve never tried it myself. Remember, you’ll be there for a couple of hours, so it is likely you’ll get thirsty (although keep your bladder in mind when drinking excessively before the show).

You should now be able to enjoy your concert to the max! As a wise old man once said: ‘This could be para-para-paradise’…

Keep shortcutting,