Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour Christmas Special

Excellent! It looks like ABC Radio – like BBC 6 – is carrying some of Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour shows from XM.

On December 24 and 25 they’ll be playing his special Christmas show. Check out this playlist:

‘Swinging For Christmas (Boppin’ For Santa)’ – Tom Archia (1948)
‘Christmas Is A-Coming (Chicken Crowns At Midnight)’ – Leadbelly (194?)
‘A Party For Santa’ – Lord Nelson (1963)
‘Sock It To Me Santa’ – Bob Seger & The Last Heard (1966)
‘Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas’ – The Staple Singers (1970)
‘Please Come Home For Christmas’ – Charles Brown (1960)
‘Jingle Bells’ – Johnny Paycheck (1967)
‘It Must Be Christmas’ – Gerry Mulligan & Judy Holliday (1980)
‘Christmas Morning’ – Titus Turner (1952)
‘Poor Old Rudolph’ – The BellRays (2001)
‘Blue Xmas’ – Bob Dorough & Miles Davis (1962)
‘Far Away Christmas Blues’ – Little Esther with Johnny Otis Orchestra (1950)
‘Beatnik’s Wish’ – Patsy Raye & The Beatniks (1959)
‘Don’t Believe In Christmas’ – The Sonics (1965)
‘Christmas Tree’ – King Stitt (1969)
‘Silent Night’ – Huey ‘Piano’ Smith & the Clowns (1962)
‘Must Be Santa’ – Brave Combo (1991)
‘Mambo Santa Mambo’ – The Enchanters (1957)
‘Fiesta De Navidad’ – Celia Cruz Y La Sonora Matancera (1961)
‘Merry Christmas Darling’ – Hop Wilson & His Buddies (1960)
‘Merry Merry Christmas’ – Alton Ellis & The Lipsticks (1972)
‘The Merriest’ – June Christy (1961)
‘Truckin’ Trees For Christmas’ – Red Simpson (1973)
‘Christmas In Jail’ – The Youngsters (1956)
‘I Want A Casting Couch For Christmas’ – Kay Martin & Her Body Guards (1962)
‘Santa Claus’ – Sonny Boy Williamson II (1960)
‘Hello Mr New Year’ – Cool Breezers ( ?)
‘Happy Christmas, Happy New Year’ – Mabel Mafuya (1958)
‘Christmas To New Years’ – The Larks (1951)
‘What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve’ – Nancy Wilson (1965)
‘Auld Lang Syne’ – traditional

‘Tis the season

Our neighbours had a Christmas party, which was a lot of fun. I met a physicist from Minnesota.

We’re putting the finishing touches on our Christmas shopping this weekend, too. Luckily, we’ve been able to avoid any serious crowds by making use of the internet and focused, specific gift acquisition missions.

Okay, NOW I’m feeling festive

I met up with a couple of pals for a fun time in east London last night. We went to Spitalfield’s Market for their “Merry Different Christmas” celebration. It was a bizarre but joyous alternative service, free for anyone who wanted to cast off the tedium of over-the-top light displays and socks that no one wants.

Events were officiated by the sherry-fueled Reverend Duncan Pritchard from festival mainstay Big Love Inflatable Church. We saw a hillbilly band, Spitalfields Residents’ Association boss and Sinatra-crooner Mike Myers, a recital of Jabberwocky, Santa getting a cheeky dance from burlesque duoLilywhiteass, a big entrance from The Masters of the Kazooniverse (who did a ripping version of “Seven Nations Army”), and the Helium Choir (yes, they inhale helium from balloons to sing their songs squeaky-voiced; they led us in a shambolic but well-intentioned “12 Days of Christmas”). We got free mine pies and mulled wine, too. Finally Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank turned on the single (and energy-saving!) Christmas light bulb atop the sock-amnesty tree. It was moving, I can tell you. We didn’t stay for the dance party.

Afterwards we found a pretty good Italian restaurant called Osteria Appenninojust steps away from Liverpool Street station (although we took the long way to get there), as well as a bar (the Bull) across the street that served up some wicked drinks.


About a third of the way through our Xmas holiday, my digital camera gave up the ghost. It’s only about 18 months old. It still works in playback mode, and I can retrieve the pictures I took in the first few days (but they’re all of family, so I’m not posting any of them here except this one I rather like: it’s the hallway and sunroom at my parents’ place, plus my brother’s dog). But the switch on the back that toggles it to picture-taking mode is gone. A camera that won’t go into picture-taking mode isn’t much use.

Holiday snap

Now to see what options I have. I’ve got a feeling that the warranty was just a year. And although my home insurance covers contents taken away, there’s a £100 excess (deductible), so I’m not sure whether it’s really worth it. Something to worry about after our ski trip. Which you won’t be getting any pictures of, by the way.

EDIT: Luckily, it looks like there’s a 24-month warranty.


It was another family night out last night, this time with SWMNBN’s side. We hit Gio, a hot new restaurant in Halifax’s Prince George hotel. Another very swish place to know in the city. It was a very good time.

Now we’re back on the farm for a final 30 hours or so. We’re packing so much in that it feels like we’ve been holidaying for weeks.

Tomorrow – new year’s eve – we fly out.

works, meet spanner

Well, we made it to Canada just fine. Smooth flight. Got our hire car at the airport and hit the road to the family homestead.

Thirty minutes down the highway, the car shudders. Hard. We soon pull over, and the automatic transmission slips out of gear. And won’t go back in.

We’re broken down. In the rain.

A tow truck and a replacement car are on the way. But it’ll be 90 minutes. They say.

The fog is lifting (metaphorically)

I’m less worried about the fog messing with our Canada departure now than I was yesterday. Although they continue to cancel many flights, all the Air Canada flights to Halifax have been going each day. In fact, they’re mostly canceling domestic British Airways flights, with just a few short BA flights to other parts of Europe canceled.

The reason is because the fog doesn’t stop planes from taking off: it just reduces the frequency with which planes can do so. Normally, there’s a flight leaving Heathrow every 100 seconds or so. In bad visibility, that minimum time between planes increases. This means they can’t send out as many planes in a day; there’s just not enough time. So they cancel domestic flights, where people might have a chance of other arrangements via car or bus or train, but let the long-haul international departures take off.

So, all indications are that our flight tomorrow will take off on time, just like it has for the last couple of days.