Friday, December 28, 2018

Un-Sainted Nicks: Christmas At The Airport

Nick Lowe: Christmas At The Airport

I’m sort of doctrinaire about the creeping expansion of holidays. I’ve accepted President’s Day in lieu of Lincoln and Washington’s Birthdays but reject the concept of “Presidents’ Month,” which seems to be the creation of car companies. Seeing Halloween candy in the stores in August is wrong. Christmas decorating and the like should start after Thanksgiving, and your decorations should be stored away not too long after New Year’s Day. And although I am happy to listen to holiday music in December, after the gifts are opened, it is basically time to move back to secular tunes.

But Un-Sainted Nicks is our holiday theme, so I’m going to ask you to disregard my guidelines, and listen to one more Christmas song, the amusing, original “Christmas At The Airport” by Nick Lowe.

If any musical Nick should be considered for sainthood, I’d suggest that Mr. Lowe could be the one. He’s already performed a number of miracles—writing “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding,” which has been magically transformed into an Elvis Costello song, producing, among other things, said Costello’s first five albums and Graham Parker’s first three, being part of Rockpile, whose best work was released without their name on the albums, and still became legendary, and having a late-career transmogrification into a pop crooner. And if that isn’t enough, his first, incredible, solo album was named Jesus of Cool. At least in England, originally.

“Christmas At The Airport” was inspired by Lowe’s experience, waiting in an airport in Geneva, nursing a hangover from a long night drinking with Mavis Staples’ staff and band—not the American treasure herself, as Lowe is quick to declare. He thought that a jaunty pop song about someone snowed into the airport at the holidays would be interesting. You can hear him discuss this story here.

The video for the song, above, is also a gift. It tells the story of an elf’s thwarted attempts to get to the North Pole in time for Christmas, and includes most of the typical indignities that air travelers must endure, including the forced removal of shoes, having your bags rifled through, and sitting on the floor to charge your phone, along with a few particular to magical creatures. But it ends with the promise of an airport romance. And a snowman being decapitated.

Although the animation styles (and studios) are different, the video reminded me of Bojack Horseman, which as you may know, I love. Not only does the video include humans with elves, snowmen, and what may or not be human/animal hybrids, the airport stores have amusing names that would not be out of place in Bojack’s Hollywoo, such as Snakes For Your Plane Petshop, or Downward Spinal Massage.

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