The big night’s drawing ever closer – yes, there’s under a month to stock up on Hogmanay booze.
Before that though, the small matter of Xmas to endure.
Most serious music fans are pretty nihilistic, but at the same time always looking for ways to enhance their record collections, so embracing Santa and all his commercial ways may lead to that Velvet Underground acetate being shoved down your chimney come the 25th.
Of course, with the advent (ho ho ho) of the mp3, musical gifts are less tangible nowadays – you can’t even sign your name when sending that not-all-that-special someone their Adele download.
Fortunately you can combine music and alcohol, a twin-pronged attack to get you through Yule. Several acts have their own personalised wine – often from their own vineyards. Including AC/DC and the Grateful Dead – surely acts who are more familiar with Jack Daniels or similar. Though Simply Red and Olivia Newton-John are definitely (red red) wine bands. And you’d not be too surprised to learn that beardy miserablists Elbow have an ale named ‘Build a rocket boys!’ Conversely, Pharrel Williams’ ‘Qream’ is (or was) a liqueur, and definitely aimed at the laydeez…
Happily, vinyl is still on the up, as are T shirts, with quite a few bands bundling the two together. Perhaps The Ramones’ label might try this, so that anyone wearing a tee would actually get to hear the music first.
There are some items I can’t even mention in a family newspaper (Grimes, Rammstein and Tenacious D gifts are available under the counter). Similarly, musician-endorsed drug paraphernalia is so ubiquitous and obvious that I’ll leave you to sort that out for yourselves and instead suggest a Taylor Swift apron – a counter to Katy Perry’s pants. Similarly wholesome, have a grin like Harry Stiles with a One Direction toothbrush. Still in the bathroom, there’s a Prodigy toilet seat cover (furry), White Stripes soap, or, for that recently-disinterred look, Alice Cooper eyeliner.
The list goes on. Gwar have a hot sauce, while glam metallers Kiss put their name to everything from cologne to coffins. OK-Go offer air freshener, Flaming Lips have a fetus-shaped Christmas tree ornament (no, me neither) and Deadmaus sells cat headphones. Metallers Slayer do a nice chunky Xmas sweater, but with skulls instead of trees.
Top of my own list to Santa might be a Justin Beiber piñata – surely unofficial, it basically encourages you to beat the beyausus out of the wee pop gerbil with a big stick.
However, my personal favourite is a singing bottle-opener – twist off the cap and Aidan Moffat’s dulcet tones will kick in with ‘The Little Beer Song’. Inspired, perhaps, by Factory Records’ line in surreal branded goods – headed notepaper, a ‘menstrual egg timer’ and a lawsuit sit in the Manchester label’s catalogue alongside albums from New Order and Happy Mondays. Sadly, completing the ‘set’ for the Factory completist in your life is impossible as the Haçienda nightclub – Fac51 – has, like all good venues been turned into a block of flats.
But for something a bit more affordable, calendars are always a surefire gift. Last year, traditional top seller Cliff Richard wrestled with One Direction for the nation’s hearts. Actually, that didn’t come out like it was meant to…