"Is it a good song? Well of course it is- don't be stupid!"
That was me and me having our annual Christmas argument about a song that is both rousing and poetically written, and that takes a different look at a holiday that's normally so delicious, wobbly and sugar-coated it could pass for an M&S crème brulee.
I realize that the story of the less fortunate is one we all love at this time of year and it's been wrung dry by every Christmas movie from 'It's a Wonderful Life' to 'Groundhog Day' but I don't want it in my Christmas playlist and I certainly don't want it voted the best festive song of all time.
Firstly, I'm English. It's no big deal and I'm not going to shave my head about it but I really don't want a song by an Irish group about two dossers living in New York to dominate my cozy little English Crimbletime.
Why should I care what the hell the boys in the NYPD Choir are singing about? The fact is that most 'Irish-Americans', in spite of dropping the word Irish into half of all sentences, couldn't find Europe on an atlas, let alone Ireland. They probably couldn't find Galway Bay on a map of fucking Galway but they carry on, Peter Griffins to a man, and the Pogues expect me, thousands of miles away in England, to give a shit.
"Well at least the Pogues are genuinely Irish!" I hear me say... Yeah, great. I've only seen Shane Mcgowan perform twice- both on TV, and both times he was wasted, but that's punk for you. There's nothing wrong with a bit of punk in the right place but I don't want to have the 'Vs' flicked at me by a man with a henge for a mouth when I'm tucking into my third kilo of dinner and preparing for Morecombe and Wise. Besides which, I didn't ask for anything 'Irish' in the first place. If I want an Irish Christmas I'll just go there- same applies to New Bloody York.
My Christmas is here, in England, with Cliff singing 'follow the Mazda' and Slade doing what they do best.
And let's not forget the carols. The only time I even entertain the tiniest element of religion is for Christmas carols. Admittedly I have to blur the religious references when I catch myself singing them but I'd still rather sit around the table singing, 'Oh come grab a face full' and 'Born is the kid from Dingly Dell' than turning to my wife's gran and calling her 'an old slut on junk'.
It's bad enough being conned into singing an anti-war message by John Lennon when you think you're just wishing everyone a merry Christmas. You lean over to plant a hopeful wet one on the cheek of Andrea from accounts as she passes below the mistletoe and find yourself whispering, 'the war is over' in her ear like an extra from 'Allo Allo'!
The whole song just depresses me. I know it's romantic and I get the sentiment- I really do, but I don't want to marvel at how the spirit of Christmas can flicker even in the harshest of lives- not now, not at Christmas.
I appreciate that this makes me a soulless, shallow buffoon but hey, I'm on holiday so bah humbug and pass me the iPod. I've a hankering for Bing and just enough room left for a little crème brulee.