Monday, December 26, 2022

GUEST POST LadBaby number one for Christmas again: what does it say about Britain?

What is the meaning of LadBaby's Christmas hegemony? Stuart Whomsley investigates.

It is a good marker of where the UK is at now, that each year, we have a groundhog day of waking up to find that Christmas number one is a novelty record about sausage rolls, for food banks. 

The five LadBaby Christmas number one records so far, have done harm to three noble things: the Christmas number one record, the comedy novelty record, and the charity record. 

Being the Christmas number used to be something special. The Sixties, Seventies and Eighties saw some fantastic songs make number one:  Moon River, Daytripper, Green Green Grass of Home, Merry Xmas Everyone, Bohemian Rhapsody, Mull of Kintyre, Another Brick in the Wall, Don’t You Want Me, Do They Know it's Christmas?, Always on my Mind. 

Though, whilst doing some research, I did discover that after Whitney Houston’s 1991, I Will Always Love You, the great Christmas number ones were already on the way out. The rise of the X Factor marketed number ones had weakened the value of the Christmas number one before Ladbaby arrived; with seven of the X Factor winners making the Christmas number one spot between 2005 and 2014.

The comedy novelty record is a fine British musical art form, with humorous songs having a history that stretches back at least into the music hall. The skill of the UK songwriter to fit a winning melody to a fine lyric has had many fine exponents such as Noel Coward,  Jake Thackray and Neil Hannon.

Christmas records have been a winner for this genre. An excellent example of a comedy novelty Christmas number one was Benny Hill’s Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West). However, one has to concede that another Christmas number-one comedy novelty record, Mr Blobby, was not a quality work.

Charity Christmas records began with Band Aid, and they topped the Christmas charts on three occasions. They were the only Christmas charity chart toppers through the eighties, nineties and noughties.

However, the thirteen Christmases of Tory rule have seen eight Christmas records being charity ones; The Military Wives with Gareth Malone, The Justice Collective and The Greenwich and Lewisham NHS choir before Ladbaby.  

Charity was coming home, so Ladbaby sits on this tradition. It is all for a good cause, you might say, food banks.

Food banks? Food banks? There shouldn't be any food banks. We are the sixth wealthiest nation in the world. How many people had heard of food banks when Band Aid released their charity Christmas record in 1984? What would people have thought that in 2022 we would have a song with the slogan T-shirt "Feed the UK"? 

That also strikes a chord with the UK becoming more insular and not wanting to engage with the world, and with that old cliché that charity should begin at home.

We used to look out and the world and say "Great music, yep, that is us. Most Christmas number ones?  The Beatles, of course."  Now it's LadBaby. A song with lyrics about food banks being on every street corner in the UK. 

Bono now screams out to those living their lives in the Eighties to be grateful they are not living in the UK of the future. In 2019, Hoyle of LadBaby stated his support for the Conservative party. We have at least another year of Tory rule so you can rest assured that next Groundhog day LadBaby will make it to at least six Christmas number ones.

You can follow Stuart Whomsley on Twitter.

1 comment:

nigel hunter said...

Food banks should not exist.Equally charities.They indicate failure of govnt to supply the peoples needs.
Thw 6th wealthiest nation! We used to be 4th.Sliding down these last 12 years.
The world leaving us behind. Deliberate running down of the country through lack of investment in its infrastrucure and economy.
Charity begins at home! No pay jobs!Does this charity imply families fund those no pay workers s cos those under a certain age cannot get benefits?
The country slowly being dragged back to the days of Dickens
Ladbaby Hoyle having a free party political for his party.We need change but not the way we seem to be being pushed in.