Virtual Musical Advent Calendar, December 26: St. Stephen’s Day Murders

Julaftonen_by_Carl_Larsson_1904_edit

And, at last, we come to the end.

Most Advent calendars stop at Christmas Day, of course, but to me this always seemed incomplete. The holiday is jolly, to be sure, but after a month of constant and incessant jolliness one feels the need for a kind of jolliness antacid. That’s why every December 26th, I make a point of listening to Elvis Costello and Paddy Maloney’s St. Stephen’s Day Murders.

Like Boxing Day, St. Stephen’s Day is a holiday that is celebrated the day after Christmas; it is especially celebrated in Ireland. The guilty joy of Costello and Maloney’s song lies in its declaration that, after a yuletide  spent in such close proximity to your family, the urge to kill them sometimes feels overpowering.

I should hasten to say that I do not feel this way about my own family; still, I can relate to the emetic delight in finally regurgitating out all of the holiday’s saccharine frivolity. If you know of what I speak, then maybe you will find St. Stephen’s Day Murders as cathartic as I do.

The lyrics, for those unable to listen to the video, are as follows:

I knew of two sisters whose name it was Christmas
And one was named Dawn of course, the other one was named Eve
I wonder if they grew up hating the season
Of the good will that lasts till the Feast of St. Stephen

For that is the time to eat, drink and be merry
‘Til the beer is all spilled and the whiskey is flowed
And the whole family tree you neglected to bury
Are feeding their faces until they explode

There’ll be laughter and tears over Tia Marias
Mixed up with that drink made from girders
And it’s all we’ve got left as they draw their last breath
And it’s nice for the kids as you finally get rid of them
In the St Stephen’s Day Murders

Uncle is garglin’ a heart-breaking aire
While the babe in his arms pulls out all that remains of his hair
And we’re not drunk enough yet to dare criticize
The great big kipper tie he’s about to baptize

His gin-flavoured whispers and kisses of sherry
His best crimble shirt slung out over the shop
While the lights from the Christmas tree blow up the telly
His face closes in like an old cold pork chop

And the carcass of the beast left over from the feast
May still be found haunting the kitchen
And there’s life in it yet we may live to regret
When the ones that we poisoned stop twitchin’

There’ll be laughter and tears over Tia Marias
Mixed up with that drink made from girders
And it’s all we’ve got left as they draw their last breath
And it’s nice for the kids as you finally get rid of them (rid of them!)
In the St Stephen’s Day Murders

Happy St. Stephens Day, everyone!

 

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