graphics, editing, voice-over, music...

It’s Chriiissstttmaaaasss. The Songwriters’ Collective’s November offering is a festive one giving one lucky member the chance to enjoy a Christmas Number One (closing date for the poll will be December 25th at 2am! Only Father Christmas will up at that time.)

1. Colin Parish - Jingle Bloody Bells
In my Christmas Number One I have tried to combine the relentless cheeriness of a Christmas ditty with the not-so-dignified desperation of a middle-aged, middle-class Christmas. Like a Mike Leigh film but only 2 mins 45 secs long.... you might say I've been a bit over ambitious...
It's recorded entirely within GarageBand on the iPad: drums, bass, viola, two acoustic guitars, electric guitar, sample of kids cheering, drum machine claps and vocals.
Apologies if anyone is offended by the blasphemous bridge - I'm a devout atheist...
PS I actually love Christmas.

Here are the lyrics

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle bloody bells
Not much sign of Christmas cheer
Jingle bloody bells

Verse 1
In the bleak mid-Xmas 
The in-laws are still here
Turkey's stuffed, and I'm not chuffed
I hate this time of year.

Verse 2
Christmas fairy on the tree
Presents underneath
Overdraft's gone through the roof
Ain't that the bloody truth 

Verse 3
Merry bloody Xmas
Nothing left but a bag of nuts
The lingering smell of Brussels sprouts
And I hate Santa's guts

Verse 4
Wrapping paper everywhere
The kids have all gone frantic
It’s seven years since the wife and I 
Have been a tad romantic

Granddad’s snoring
Television's boring 
And everyone’s ignoring me!
Jesus was invented
The Pope looks demented
And everybody's still
Ignoring me 

1 Jingle Bloody final

2. Stephen Clarke - All I Want For Christmas Is Some English Food
Christmas is a time when our thoughts turn to world peace, harmony between religions, and pigging ourselves stupid.
This is a Christmas carol inspired by Chas & Dave and Status Quo, with Benny Hill heavily influencing the lyrics, especially regarding stuffing.
Disclaimer: I am a veggie myself, so certain opinions about turkey and chipolatas expressed in this song are not my own. However, I totally stand by my stance on Brussels sprouts.
Productionwise, no, Santa still hasn't delivered a drummer. I hope you can forgive him. Backing singers in the choral section: The Tight Trousers Male Voice Choir.

2 AllIWantForChristmasIsSomeEnglishFood

3. Tim & Glyn - Wishing on a Silver Lining
We played with quite a few ideas but finally settled on trying to record a happy song! Hopefully you'll get the style we were aiming for when you listen to it. This would definitely not have passed last month's 5 instrument test. Instrumentation was usual mix of keyboards, miked-up-amp guitar and bass guitar. Glyn wrote the lyrics and vocal parts and we were helped out by Simon's girlfriend, Clarice on backing vocals. 
3 Wishing on a Silver Lining

4. Michael Gosling - Everybody’s Here
It's a family Christmas at the Gosling household. There's never enough chairs to go around; Bev and I seem to spend most of the time in the kitchen and yes, the central heating seems to have its annual hiccup around about Christmas Eve. But it's all part of the fun of Christmas - please singalong for maximum enjoyment of the song!

Thanks to Karl for drumming duties, tambourine and ,of course, the sleigh bells!

4 Everybody's_Here

5. Michael Gosling - Christmas Candle
This song celebrates the Christmas tradition of lighting a candle in the window of your house to welcome travellers at Christmas. There is also an Irish tradition that during the English persecution of the Catholics, people would leave three lit candles (the trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit) in the window to signify to the priest that a Christmas service could be held in the house.

Musically, it started with some simple piano chords and then headed back to the eighties with the addition of the drum loops. Karl had some extra drum ideas which we ran out of time to record - so that's Karl playing air drums.

5 Christmas_Candle

6. Patrick Duffin - Johnny Agnetha and Snow
For some reason, the christmas of 1976 is the benchmark to which all others are measured, when Johnny Mathis and Abba bestrode the charts like pop collosus. Johnny is still touring believe it or not. Agnetha less so. Happy Christmas everyone.
6 Johnny,Agnetha and snow

7. Tim Warner - Christmas Millionaire
This is based on a memory I have of my dad but, having talked to the rest of my family, it seems it's another false memory to add to the pile. I'm beginning to wonder if my picture of him is based on anything that I haven't invented myself.

Christmas is about children and the shine came off it a little when the kids stopped believing in Father Christmas so, we tried to keep that going for as long as possible (oddly, I was rather pleased when the kids stopped believing in God. Logic: who needs it?).

Many thanks to Joseph Watts for his vocal performance. He was a dream to work with and I love him dearly. Don't worry, his belief in Father Christmas was not damaged in the making of this record!

7 Christmas Millionaire

8. Eddie Custard - Shiver
Some children are frightened by clowns and others are frightened by Father Christmas, so I decided to write through the eyes of a child who would rather avoid Santa Claus, but is put under pressure by adults to head to the grotto. It may have turned out a bit sinister. Festive greetings to all.
8 Shiver

9. Phil Sanderson - Welcome to the Dawn
9 Welcome the Dawn v2

10. Phil Sanderson - Santa’s Got it Coming

10 Santa's Got it Coming v1

11. Phil Sanderson - (At Christmas Time) I’m Travelling Home
Two of the songs were recorded using 12 string guitar, synth and software synth bass and drumloops.  I've experimented with vocals a bit more this month, and decided to maintain the limited instrumentation on these two tracks: Welcome the Dawn just has two guitars and vocals, and 'Travelling' has just one acoustic 12 string and one electrified 12 string on top of the bass and drums ( and vocals )  I struggled with drumloops in 3/4 or 6/8 for this song, and ended up chopping some Brazilian beats from 4/4 into  3/4.
11 ( At Christmas Time )I'm Travelling Home v1

12. Rob Warner - Christmas with Frandy ‘King’ Ellingcomo (Remember this Wonderful Christmas time)
Like Santa coming down the chimney after partaking in the left-out Christmas pies, this has been a struggle! My Christmas memories are very warm and cosy; sitting in our lounge listening to Andy Williams or Nat ‘King’ Cole (or the Tijuana Brass Christmas album!) eating and playing with our toys. Though the innocence of Christmas has now gone, the songs I used to listen to remain and I make a point of reloading my iPod with those Christmas songs that I love every year. So it was from this stand-point that I started. I wanted to produce a homage to Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Bing Crosby and the rest. Having attempted it, I have new-found respect for the people who put those albums together. They are/were serious musicians with amazing talent. Lyrically, I am all over the place! I wanted it to be a journey through the years from my childhood to the adult days before the children to the days when my kids were young. However, it’s turned into a sort of stream-of-Christmas-consciousness!! I made the title a combination of the names of all of the most popular crooners and band leaders from my childhood. Thankfully, it’s mercifully short. After all this, I still believe in Father Christmas. Seasons Greetings.
12 Christmas with Frandy King Ellingcomo