The Darkness : Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)

In WW1 they stopped shooting each other on Christmas Day to play football. In the same spirit, The Darkness are single of the week

It starts with the sound of every pomp-laden [a]Queen[/a] climax distilled into one glass of milky eggnog, knocked back with gusto, and then vomited up in a towering, brussel sprout-coloured jet of pyrotechnic, guitar-wanking majesty. It features sleigh bells, the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College Choir, and the lyric “Feigning joy and surprise!/At the gifts we despise!”, delivered in a timbre shrill enough to shatter baubles. It is, lest you have missed it, all built around a thinly disguised knob-gag. Yes, it can only be the Christmas single from The Darkness. And at the close of 2003, it bestrides the UK Top 40 like a codpiece-clad colossus, guffawing loudly, gurning like the village idiot’s slow brother, and picking off anaemic Pop Idol balladeers with volley upon volley of Fender Strat buckshot. Not just content in its buffoonery, but justified, vindicated, triumphant.

Oh, it’s easy to be suspicious of The Darkness. The way they rose from the ranks of the UK indie scene, yet betray its central tenets – willful underachievement, dogged adherence to ill-thought-out underground ‘ethics’, the chasing of ephemeral cool – in favour of a clear desire to wrestle the Great British Public to the floor and goose them silly. But we ask you, did they call Wizzard’s ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ a novelty turn? Did they hear ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ and call [a][/a] a bunch of old Brummie c—s? Well, yes, they probably did. But they were wrong. Because just like these songs, ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’ exists in a universe beyond shame, a magical All Tomorrow’s Christmases, where snow never turns to sludge, presents buy themselves, and the pubs are always open. And thanks to The Darkness, this Christmas Eve, you’ll be able to get up on the table, kick over the pints, and play air guitar like you’re Brian fucking May on Buckingham Palace. You’ll look like an absolute c—. Trust us, it’ll be great.

Louis Patterson