1999: What the fuck is going on?
(1st December 1999)

So Cliff's made another abysmal record to celebrate the joys of Christmas, then. Big deal. He's been producing an annual slice of turkey for a decade and he hasn't made a song that didn't pong like your adolescent younger brother's kecks since "Devil woman" and, let's face it, there was plenty of chod prior to that as well. The difference this time is that the potential sound of the, ahem, unlikely pairing of the Lord's Prayer and "Auld Lang Syne" is so mind-bogglingly atrocious that the actual sound is almost immaterial. Which might explain why no-one's actually heard it.

But step back for a minute. Ask yourself what the vulture-like hordes of critics currently hovering over Cliff's undoubtedly well-preserved but barely twitching musical corpse would have made of the same record under the subversive banner of The KLiF. Suddenly, the simultaneous dismemberment of a cornerstone of the Christian faith and a tune that's as entrenched in British culture as school custard and that's going to be slurred all across the world in a little under a month to celebrate the eve of a new millennium (for what that's worth) becomes a situationist prank of the highest order. Getting to number 1 without radio play is a masterstroke of hype manipulation and making the bastard unlistenable is the subversive icing on the conceptual cake that beats several shades of mistletoe and wine out of wooden spoon Turner prizes (surely no coincidence that the award for "modern art" is made this week too) and the apparent ashes of a million quid.

Sadly, of course, none of this is the case. Mr. Cauty and Mr. Drummond have been nowhere near this piece of plastic, there's no subtext, no prank, no guile and no way that Cliff's doing anything other than what he thinks is a GOOD THING. And this is perhaps the most beautiful irony of the whole sorry episode. Although the single is at the top of the charts most of the records sold are probably destined for Granny's stocking on Christmas Eve and are currently residing, unplayed, in cupboards around the country. Ho Ho Ho.


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