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It's Going to Be an Awkward Christmas, Darling

by Helen Arney

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    One family’s uncomfortably suburban December 25th, perfectly captured in 11 original songs. Stories of holiday disasters, endless games of Monopoly, traditional family arguments and an irrational fear of snowmen all conspire to make your Winterval sound wonderful. Pay what you want for everything!
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LYRICS - Christmas 1994 Every family has one gory legend of a Christmas past More drama than a Dickens story, I will tell you ours… Remember Christmas 1994 We had just BBC, ITV, and Channel 4, But Christmas Day 1994 We watched nothing at all Father knew the night before, when the video spat out its shiny tape all on the floor He wanted to record Match of the Day, but ended up with just magnetic tinsel on display Our Radio Times marked up with what to watch and what to tape The schedule set in stone after weeks of tough debate Christmas day will be a mess Without a working VHS Oh the Horror of Christmas ‘94 Having to agree on watching one thing on TV Disastermas 1994 Will it be ITV, Channel Four or BBC? One Foot In The Grave or the Christmas special Heartbeat, Keeping Up Appearances or Coronation Street? Mum craves Sleeping Beauty, Son is mad for Robin Hood, Dad’s all for Sinatra, Grandpa wants Victoria Wood, Forget about the turkey, and the unwrapped Christmas socks Everyone’s dissatisfied with what is on the box But one thing we all agree on We’ll definitely watch the Queen on… Christmas Day 1994 Before iPlayer, ITV online, no 4OD Traumatic Xmas 1994 Today a broken video – will destroy the family Mum is in hysterics, Uncle Jerry screams out loud, Grandpa’s had a drink or 2, he’s starting to get mad Son wants his own way and tries to hijack the remote, Dad leaps across the coffee table, grabs him by the throat, The noise is so intense that the neighbours call in the police, Grandpa take it all too far, throws a punch, that knocks a lamp, which hits chair, that bumps a frame, that throws a picture of the happy family right into the centre of the TV screen… That was Christmas 1994 Officially cautioned for disturbing the peace Horrendousmas 1994 On Boxing Day we all went out and bought our own TVs Heinous Christmas 94 Before iPlayer, ITV online, no 4OD Atrociousmas 1994 The day a broken video almost destroyed our family.
LYRICS - Never Built A Snowman David’s heart was beating fast, listening to the day’s forecast First white flakes of this millennium – younger ones have never felt them Land on lips and tongues and noses Scream delight but no-one knows his pain When he was 5 years old, A snowman knocked him out cold He’ll never know how good it feels to build a snowman He’ll never shape a human body from just powder and his mittened hands Five decades have gone by But he still can’t look one in the eye Little David raced into the street, to where his friends said they would meet A snowman twice as tall as him, with carrot nose and twiggy limb Surveyed his land Broom in hand David stepped another nervous pace, towards this kindly frozen face Suddenly a ball of dirty white, flashed into poor David’s sight A snowman’s fist A chilling kiss Confusion flew through David’s mind He couldn’t see his friends behind He’ll never shake the first impression A snowman gave him concussion He’ll never know how good it feels to build a snowman He’ll never decorate with pipe, top hat and wrap a checkered scarf around Half a century’s gone by But he still can’t look one in the frozen evil dirty coal black eye Snowflakes fall and smiles rise, David hides behind closed eyes Family call but he won’t answer, pretends to sleep in his old armchair Still has nightmares, he’s been known To wake up screaming words from Aled Jones’ ‘Walking In The Air’ A song that he can’t bear He’ll always be the boy who never built a snowman
LYRICS - It's going to be an awkward Christmas, darling - part 1 Family’s out, house to himself They’re worshipping at the only open supermarket – emptying every Shelf of reduced to clear canapés Broken crackers, chocolate calendars, and half price cranberry puree Peace and quiet, carol singers on the telly Feet on the sofa, scratching his belly Waiting for the feast, With a sense of relief cos Last week on the phone he broke up with his girlfriend, He thinks that’s what he did, it was hard to define Through all of the tears from her end of the line He said “the distance between us has ruined it for me Life’s not always like Gavin and Stacey” He’s proud to say he’s a Christmas Single today. Out of the blue a doorbell rings She’s there carrying presents for her and presents for him Drove 300 miles just to bring them and say hello Now she’s shivering on the doorstep in the snow Family roll up, delighted to see her Offer her a discount mince pie flavoured mini pizza Glad she made it She’s their favourite In a heartbeat they’re pretending that everything’s fine Standing holding hands in awful Christmas sweaters Lovingly knitted by her barmy Auntie Greta, She’s so happy to pretend she never got dumped He don’t wanna upset his mum So they go with the flow, like a family panto It’s going to be an awkward Christmas darling December 25 will be uncomfortable, honey It’s going to be an awkward Christmas darling, The Queen’s speech will be unbearable, baby
LYRICS - Christmas Dinner Microwave Meal for One Jeremy Green wakes up with the sun, Christmas day has come His wife is nowhere to be seen, she must be out in the conservatory His head hurts like hell but can’t remember why, so he carefully Places silk pajama-ed feet on golden carpet with a 1-inch pile What a perfect life What a perfect wife What a perfect Christmas Walks through the hall to their fabulous kitchen, modelled on a magazine feature Years of overtime, he’s paid his dues, to keep his wife in shoes Past the bathroom, marble sinks, gold taps, designer curtains Makes a New Years resolution to be sure to get that shower working He’s been trying to fix it Since 2006 but Then reality hits, and It all comes flooding back to him Christmas eve, working late again By the empty bottle he sees the note and then Reads the words his beloved wrote – it said: “Dear Jeremy I’ve met someone His name is Bond, James Bond He’s a plumber from Basildon He’s my very own Basildon Bond He can give me what I need His power shower brings me to my knees. But I haven’t left you alone Over there by the stove For Christmas day on your own” Slice of turkey in a bag Roast potatoes looking equally sad Brussell sprouts, but not enough for two Chestnut stuffing in there too She was his reason He did everything for her but now she’s gone His soul won’t be restored with a Christmas Dinner microwave meal for one Head spinning, his heart exploding, Thinks he can’t go on, stumbles, weeping through the house but then, Sees the Christmas card, from them The family he said he’d never see again – and thinks: Shove your turkey in a bag Lonely potatoes won’t be making me sad Flush those Brussels down the loo Stuff your stuffing, yeah stuff you His sister’s family, they all love him but they’re really quite bizarre Hopes they won’t be weird ’94 was a flop They had to call in the cops It was a bit of a shock, but… Jumps in his silver coupe Registration JE22A Windows down pumping Wizzard and Slade Change the ending to this Christmas day Dashing through the snow In his 240 horse power open-topped Ferrari sleigh Watch uncle Jerry go To his family’s lair No microwave there Just people to share Their family meal plus one Head full of Christmas tunes he’s humming (Let’s hope no-one mentions plumbing)
LYRICS - Only Monopoly Darling, lunch won’t be ready for ages Sweetheart, get a board game, that’ll fill the day But Dearest, you always beat me whatever the game is My love, that’s exactly why I want to play… It’s only Monopoly Don’t look at me stroppily In our relationship you’ve always had the upper hand You wanna play Monopoly To get one up on me Don’t think I’ll let you win just because you are my man Darling, I’m not normally competitive But this is our relationship’s ultimate test Please don’t hold it against me if I make an ill-judged joke about community chest In this game I took a Chance and now I’m doing pretty well I’ve got Bow Street, Trafalgar Square and Marylebone Straight away you landed up in Jail The only house you own is on the Old Kent Road Ha ha it’s only Monopoly But you’re getting all your parking for free This was my idea, I can’t complain It’s only Monopoly But I’m playing it properly Yes I think I’ll have another hotel, on my Park Lane My love I’m not enjoying your smirks This isn’t how I wanted it to be Last year you lost and turned on the water works Now you own both utilities Sweetheart, I’m only doing what you asked Why all this rancour? For once I’m having an absolute blast But you’re behaving like a proper little banker It’s only Monopoly But I wish it would stop-oly She just screamed and punched the air It’s only Monopoly A silly little game with paper money Now you owe me two thousand pounds for landing on Mayfair (tapdancing boot solo) It’s only Monopoly – I know it’s only Monopoly But I can’t afford any more rent You own it all from Pall Mall to Piccadilly My love and my money are almost spent You’re right, my dear, it’s only Monopoly I’ll still love you even after you’ve lost But I can’t help smiling at your imminent bankruptcy Now your top hat has landed on my Kings Cross It’s more than Monopoly Much more than Monopoly We call it Monopoly But actual-opoly It’s war
LYRICS - It's going to be an awkward Christmas, darling - part 2 Tensions high, they’re still faking He looks stressed, on the verge of breaking Down, mum asks when they’re gonna hear the sound of wedding bells, he’s trembling like a gazelle, Mum says “you owe us an apology Is this just because she beat you at Monopoly? It’s still snowing She’s not going” He storms out of the flat, and tripping over the doormat Still wearing a jumper three sizes too small This is not the Christmas he was hoping for Without him they tuck into their turkey meal He sits in his car, head on the steering wheel Flicks the radio on, it’s playing this song: “It’s going to be an awkward Christmas darling…”
LYRICS - The only way to spend Christmas day Mum’s had a great idea Gonna have Christmas away this year No stress, no presents, no cooking, just once Let’s take the whole family to the south of France All of the flights were 99p Plus airport taxes and booking fee But we’re having second thoughts now it’s 3am And we’re driving to Luton in the fog and rain… Let’s go away On holiday What a wonderful way To spend Christmas day Seatbelts on and we’re holding tight Mum still says we’re gonna be alright I hope Granddad’s gonna be OK He got lost in a fight at the departure gate Don’t go away On holiday It’s a terrible way To spend Christmas day Strap back into the aeroplane Next year we’re going back to normal again Mum’s already planning a 20-course meal And a nervous breakdown by the Christmas tree Scramble back into the terminal Fetch grandpa from the left luggage carousel Christmas at home is a terrible bore But we’ll never complain about it any more Let’s always stay At home all day It’s the only way To spend Christmas day Don’t go away It’s a terrible way To spend Christmas day To spend Christmas day To spend Christmas day…
Office Party 05:43
LYRICS - Office Party This time last year At the office Christmas party, down the Wetherspoons, I gave you my heart But it’s not like that song by Wham, no ma’am, I promise You could have given it away, the very next day And I wouldn’t mind You could have sneaked into my chest, made a cardiac arrest That would be fine It’s been a year And I’m still working here, even though I said I wouldn’t be, and my crush on you is crushing me And like the coke machine in the canteen, I’m empty inside Last week I asked to borrow your stapler Just to feel your hand in mine Tonight I’ll stop this charade, ask you to dance with me to Slade, And hope you’ll say... “Fine” And now the party’s here We’re standing with our beers by the pool table, and you’re holding hands with our manager even though your facebook status says that you’re single Why does the internet always lie? You’ve been given a promotion You don’t want my drink tokens I think my heart is broken I wish I had never spoken to you At last year’s office Christmas party
LYRICS - Traditional Family Christmas Argument Holly berries glisten in the snow Robins hop and chirp outside the window Stars light up the celestial firmament The real meaning of Christmas is a family argument On their best behaviour, no arguments all day yeah, Christmas Day’s been fraught, tempers running short Who’s going to burst, who’ll blow a fuse first? The lights on tree, or a member of the family? Holly berries glisten in the snow Robins hop and chirp outside the window Stars light up the celestial firmament The real meaning of Christmas is a good old traditional family argument Mother, father, uncle start a bet On when Grandpa will leave And let them get on with their Christmas day without him getting in the way They think that he’s dozing full of Eat Me Dates But he had one ear open to their sweepstake Grandpa says “I’ll put on a tenner, on me not leaving ‘til September” Holly berries glisten in the snow Robins hop and chirp outside the window Stars light up the celestial firmament The real meaning of Christmas is a good old traditional Unprovoked and all inclusive family argument Father mutters all he wants from Santa Claus, is a quick divorce (quick divorce) Mother sobs how could our Christmas bliss, have come to this? (come to this) Uncle Jerry says forget peace and goodwill, I’m gonna kill (gonna kill) Grandpa arms himself with mistletoe, thinks this’ll blow (this’ll blow) “At Christmas play and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year” (Thomas Tusser) Holly berries moulder in the snow Robins screech and peck outside the window Snow clouds hide the celestial firmament The real meaning of Christmas is A good old traditional Sherry-flowing, turkey-throwing Mind-bending, never ending Present wrapping, spirit sapping Carol singing, bauble flinging Deck the halls with confrontation Anger and recrimination Good old traditional Completely unconditional Unprovoked and all inclusive family argument
LYRICS - It's going to be an awkward Christmas, darling - part 3 He sits alone, in his Polo Christmas sucks when you’re do it solo. They weren’t exactly Romeo and Juliet but that’s good cos it means that no-one will end up dead Turns off the stereo, swallows his pride Reaches for the door but she’s there on the other side She slips in Sitting next to him She says “Let’s try starting all over again How did we get into this terrible mess? My sweater’s so big it’s more like a dress I’ll have to tell my auntie they fit us perfectly” They start to giggle uncontrollably Eyes a’ twinkling She says what they’re thinking: It’s going to be an awkward Christmas darling December 25 will be uncomfortable, honey It’s going to be an awkward Christmas darling The Queen’s speech will be unbearable It’s going to be an awkward Christmas darling December 25 will be uncomfortable, honey It’s going to be an awkward Christmas darling, Put this all aside until Boxing Day Happy Christmas


If Alan Bennett and Victoria Wood wrote a Christmas album, it would sound something like this… 11 original songs encapsulate holiday disasters, endless games of Monopoly, traditional family arguments and an irrational fear of snowmen, all conspiring to make your Winterval sound wonderful. Wry, humorous, lyrically intelligent and unashamedly poignant – it’s perfect for Christmas fanatics and Humbugs alike.

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released December 1, 2010

All songs written and performed by Helen Arney and Paul Richards, with Martin Randle. Recorded in three days in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, and produced by Martin Randle.
Kat Arney - harp (2, 10, 11)
Tom McDonnell - vocals (3, 6, 7, 11)
Terry Saunders (9)

Originally released by Cracking Tunes - crackingtunes.com
Illustration by Matt Corrall - coroflot.com/mattc


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Helen Arney London, UK

"Geek Songstress" Helen Arney is the UK's finest purveyor of comedy songs with a scientifically verified twist.

"Champion of musical whims" Evening Standard
**** ”Harnesses the spirit of Ben Folds & the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon… delightful” (Chortle)

Also one third of Festival of the Spoken Nerd and author of "The Element In The Room"
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