Friday, December 09, 2005

What I want for Christmas this year -- something from the Damned! Here's the chain of thought that invoked this wish: 1) the neat article "The Mystery of the Green Menace" in the November issue of Wired, about a New Orleans chemist's use of a GC-MS to analyze a bottle of vintage Spanish Pernod Tarragonna absinthe and begin production of his own brand in France 2) that somehow started the Damned's song "Absinthe" from their last studio record, Grave Disorder, playing in my head, and 3) that was followed by a burst of mental fireworks of images of the winter season -- snowy landscapes, Christmas ghosts (like Jacob Marley), Victorian Yuletide, and fitting snugly into it all, those limey gravediggers, the Damned! Okay, maybe the Damned wouldn't be a part of your average Christmas, but what about, say an M.R. James Christmas? M.R. James wrote brilliant ghost stories that he read to his friends and colleagues each year on Christmas Eve at Cambridge. (BBC-TV is even televising an M.R. James special on Dec. 23rd; check it out at

Let me share with you an image, then, of an ideal pre-Christmas evening. You're sitting down in a leather club chair in front of a roaring fire with a large glass of heavily modified eggnog and a book of M.R. James stories, the moon is bright on the snow outside, and the Damned's Black Album is playing softly on the stereo. Are you with me? Anyhow, to get to the point, the band's website ( is touting a new single and says the fellas are back in the studio. Just knowing that the Damned are still alive and kicking is all the gift I need this blessed yuletide season.