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A rant about Christmas Muzak

December 22, 2019

In the wake of Brexit I have left the country in a fit of liberal pique.

Only for a week though and for a long planned Christmas Holiday at a posh resort on Bermuda.

Now, I am paying a fair bit for this pleasure. The food is mostly excellent (they do not know how to make tea and I really regret not putting my travel kettle into the suitcase) if a bit nouvelle cuisine when it comes to portions. (A cry of ‘no bad thing that!’ comes from the peanut gallery and my doctors.)

Conversation isn’t the strong point of my stay so far: I keep thinking that what this place needs is an unexpected science fiction convention.

Howver the thing I didn’t expect to experience in such exalted circumstances is Christmas Muzak throughout my meals.

I could have stayed at home and dined at Morrison’s cafe if that was what I was after. I still have the complementary earplugs that British Airways gives you in Club Class but sticking them in would be a little eccentric and cause the waitstaff to have to perform interpretive dance to attract my attention rather than cough politely.

Still, I’m a bit peeved. I shall definitely comment on leaving…

The Muzak isn’t quite as bad as Morrisons but still had pop singer voices trying for transcendence and just achieving bathos. There was one who had Christmas lyrics set to the Ode to Joy. I can’t really complain: it’s out of copyright. But the voice… I can hear Beethoven under the pop whine and it just isn’t good enough.

The same may be said of the recording of ‘Have yourself a merry little Christmas’. I would as lief the town crier performed it as the people who feel they have to ‘cover’ it for their Christmas compilations.  The song should not be sung unless a) it is your intention to break the hearts of your listeners and b) you have the technical means to do so. The second clause means you shouldn’t do it unless you are at least as good as Andy Williams and preferably as Judy Garland. Since you won’t be, don’t do it.

I often think that were I the proprietor of one of our major supermarket chains I would put large signs up outside my stores on the day after Remembrance Sunday (for that is when the Christmas season starts these days) saying “No Yuletide Muzak inside”. It would answer a need in the souls of the nation.

I post a picture of the view from my quarters in Bermuda just to make you jealous. And a Merry Christmas to all our readers.



  1. I was in John Lewis on Friday evening. No music at all!

    Made up for by the games night on Monday (including Band Aid “Do They Know It’s Christmas”) and Christmas lunch on Thursday (including “Feliz Navidad”, and three times through the list while we were there).

    I don’t mind yeractual carols. Well, most carols. Many of the Victorian ones are a bit mimsy. But the ones that are designed to be belted out in four-part harmony are usually fun; I may not be in the least Godly but I can appreciate them. On the other hand I see absolutely no virtue in “Christmas music”.

    • The people who chose the Muzak for Christmas seem either to be tone deaf or cheeseparing types who go for the cheapest option offered by the Performing Rights Society or both.

      However, I did say to them at lunch yesterday that as I was the only one there I’d be grateful if they turned it off which got me a sympathetic look from the waitress. And at the evening meal the pre-recorded crooner had been replaced by a pianist. The pianist tinkled away at the same terrible tunes but without the words I could live with it.

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