Sunday, 29 December 2013

SINGLE: The Ramones - Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) (1987)

UK: Beggar's Banquet BEG201 (Nov 1987 - B-side of I Wanna Live)
       Chrysalis CHR1725 (1989 - Brain Drain LP)

It doesn't matter how carefully you plan your Christmas shopping, there is always, always something you forget and find yourself desperately trying to find at the last minute.

In this year's case, I had made the faux-pas of forgetting to get custard. Not a big deal on the surface, but what if we decided to have a dessert over the festive period which required a topping of the creamy yellow stuff? And there was none in the fridge? Yes, I know, not exactly earth shattering, but: The wife wants custard, so...

Anyway, that is how I found myself in a local branch of Asda on Christmas Eve, negotiating my way around hordes of stressed parents with overexcited children, in search of a carton of Bird's Ready-To-Serve. That is when something quite wonderful happened...

Asda's in-store radio station started playing the Ramones. Not just that, it was festive Ramones.

How times have changed. It doesn't seem so long ago that the chances of hearing a Ramones record playing in your local supermarket were about as likely as finding Ted Nugent at a vegetarian's picnic. Now, their music has become so much a part of our cultural fabric that even this relatively obscure later-period track can get an airing in the grocery aisles. Only a few months ago, the Sainsbury's chain were selling Ramones t-shirts, alongside groceries and light bulbs. Part of me thought "great", whilst another part of me found it profoundly depressing.

A little while ago, there was a fashion piece in one of the Sunday papers in which some interchangeable minor female celeb (whose name understandably escapes me) was enthusing about how much she was loving her "retro rock t-shirt". A photo showed her modelling a garish pink top, with the Ramones logo printed in black. On it were printed the names of the members. It spelt Joey's name wrong.


I can't have been the only person who looked at her, and thought: You have obviously never, I repeat never listened to The Ramones in your life. I hope a passing flock of Canadian Geese drop their load on you and your "retro rock t-shirt".

The transition of The Ramones from punk heroes to fashion label is a dispiriting one.

Still, back to Christmas Eve in Asda, where none of this mattered. This track came on and restored my will to live as I made my way through the checkout and headed home for a few days of festive crashing-out.

The custard's still sitting in the fridge, by the way. It's December the 29th.

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