Thursday, 19 November 2020

Welcome!

 

Photo: Salisbury Cathedral - B.Blagg

Welcome to the home page for Billy Blagg's Annual Advent Calendar of Christmas Songs. Here you can find all the links to the individual calendars and enjoy again those golden chestnuts, rancid turkeys, beautifully-presented gifts and jaw-dropping, mouldy leftovers that you were sure you'd put in the bin but you'd apparently left out.

The concept of the Advent Calendar has it roots in an annual mixtape - remember them? - that my friends and I used to pass around every Christmas in the '80's. The original idea was just to swap Christmas songs, but this soon became a competition to unearth the worst ones we could find. In later years these became burned CD's and then with the advances in the Worldwide Web, they became mailed songs

With the growing popularity of social networking and, in particular MySpace, 2007 saw the launch of the first calendar on the web and I promoted it mainly on a West Ham FC website called the Ironworks (now WestHamOnline), and later - rather astonishingly in retrospect - a syndicated football page called Soccernet (later to become ESPN) as I contributed a weekly column to both sites. 

By this time I'd started trying to incorporate the good ones with the bad, and the first couple of calendars really involved me explaining what I was listening to and trying to encourage others to go out and find the tracks, but with the growing popularity of YouTube years later, I was eventually able to link the songs into the calendar. This continues today and - barring a few exceptions where the Artists have pulled the video from YouTube - every song now has an embedded video to watch. I check these every November to make sure they are up to date but otherwise the calendar stays the same as it was each year when I wrote it. 

In 2021, I added the calendar to Spotify and added a link to each year's calendar so you can now hear them all without having to click on YouTube links. Just select a year and click on the 'Listen on Spotify' button. Although I understand the benefits of this, I'd really appreciate it if you could visit the web site for the top badinage though and the Spotify pages won't have all the songs as, frankly, some are too obscure to find there.  

The calendar has gained a popularity (notoriety?) far beyond anything I expected when I started it in 2007 when I very tentatively titled it 'the first' - never really expecting to see the second. However, I now get emails and songs mailed from all over the world - sometimes in June which is very dispiriting - and all I try to do is get a good mix of songs, styles and genres and try to fashion it into a decent whole that anyone can dip into any December.

So here it is. If it's late November or December then feel free to luxuriate and indulge. If it's any other month then bookmark this and return later.

Oh! and Merry Christmas 

Photo: Covent Garden - B.Blagg

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