Christmas single

Truly godawful: Ed Sheeran’s =

 Grade: C= My wife’s ill with Covid and demanding inexhaustible libations and difficult meals, which she will leave uneaten. The dog thinks it deserves a walk in the filthy sleet. The kitchen is a tip and the bins need emptying. I have a headache, a runny nose and the ghost of a ticklish cough. Can things get worse? Yes, yes they can. It’s The Spectator on the phone. Can you please review Ed Sheeran’s new album? As in: look, you’re feeling rough and put upon at the moment. So can we come round and smash your spectacles and rub human excrement in your hair? And all this a few weeks

In praise of seasonal chart fodder

Christmas: the most vulnerable time of the year. I heard ‘A Winter’s Tale’ by David Essex on the radio the other day and, oh boy. It was Noël Coward who wrote, in Private Lives, that smart little line about the strange potency of cheap music. It is a truism never more apparent than at Christmas, when we allow the gaudy and sentimental access to our hearts with only the most cursory of security checks. Songs that would never make it past the bouncers in May are whisked directly into the VIP area come December. A quick google confirms that ‘A Winter’s Tale’ was released in the run-up to Christmas 1982,