Until recently, U.K. pop watchers thought (or fretted) that the Christmas No. 1 would once again go to this year’s winner of reality TV singing contest X-Factor, with the show’s finals carefully timed to coincide with the annual chart race. But thanks to “a change in the rules on downloads, which means that for the first time charts can include any track from the archives, even if it is no longer in shops,” Pogues fans and/or X-Factor haters have taken to their social networking site of choice to try and bump “Fairytale Of New York,” the slightly profane, hardbitten holiday tale by the Pogues’ soused singer Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl, into the top spot. And as with most things in the U.K. relating to the pop charts, this is a matter of life and death!
Its popularity has also been helped by a series of campaigns on the social networking website Facebook, which are calling on people to download the song to make sure “we get a proper Christmas song to number one for Christmas instead of the stupid X- Factor winner”.
“Don’t download yet… wait ’til Christmas week so we all do it together,” it says.
“Even if you don’t like the song at least you’ll have the knowledge that it wasn’t a plastic for once at Christmas number one. Don’t have an iPod to put it on or an MP3 player? Do it anyway! Its less than a quid.”
All three of tonight’s finalists – Rhydian Roberts, brother and sister duo Same Difference and Leon Jackson – have recorded a version of When You Believe, a Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston hit, which could not be more different from the gritty reality of MacGowan’s song.
Even if my cranky critic alarm goes off when people start advocating for “real” and “gritty” music, I’m still nominally rooting for Shane and Kirsty, hoping for a sturdy yuletide classic to trounce what will no doubt be a mediocre cover. Thankfully I don’t have to give the fate of the U..K. Chistmas No. 1 that much thought, though, because I live in America, a country where we’ll probably be treated to
a lump of coal Fergie retaking the top spot, because we’ve obviously all been very naughty this year.
Shane McGowan Could Steal X Factor Spot [Telegraph]