Monday, December 5, 2011

A Not So Dark Horse

If you're familiar with the film Love Actually you might know something of the obsession that afflicts Britain this time each year: the coveted place wherein a musical single, usually performed by some good-looking youthful quartet, tops the charts at Christmas time. Playing an aging rock star intent on a comeback of sorts, Bill Nighy muses, in one of the more sublime moments of the film, during a radio interview, "Wouldn't it be great if number one this Christmas wasn't some smug teenager but an old ex-heroin addict searching for a comeback at any price?" Wonder of wonders (spoilers!), he achieves his Christmas number one, in spite of himself.

This Christmas another group is attempting much the same sort of takeover for the Christmas spot: the Military Wives choir. If you've seen this series you will know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, well, you've missed some seriously brilliant television and I advise you to get yourself to it immediately. I'm a fervently devoted fan of Gareth Malone, the boyish choirmaster who likes to take on decidedly unmusical situations, so when I saw his latest series - The Choir: Military Wives - I watched with some interest. It was every bit as riveting as his other efforts; there is something charming about a man who believes, in this age of endless tweeting and too-much-information-via-Facebook, that the simple act of singing can change people's lives for the better.

This single was compiled from snippets of the letters to and from these military wives, women whose husbands were largely in Afghanistan, and put to music. They performed it in November at the Royal Albert Hall, then recorded it professionally in a studio, as you can see yourself in this YouTube clip. If you're as soppy as me, you'll need at least one kleenex. Then make a little wish that this group can get their number one single this Christmas, just like Billy did on Love Actually.

No comments: