For some years, the Christmas no. 1 position has been most highly prized for some reason. Apparently this is a peculiarly British obsession - in other countries they couldn't care less who's topping the charts on the 25th day of the 12th month. This seems eminently sensible to me, but as we've seen, I'm the sort of person who refers to it as the Hit Parade, so what do I know about such things?
For the last couple of years the Christmas no. 1 has been occupied by various acts that have spewed forth from the Simon Cowell-run machine that is X-Factor. Last year we had the unedifying spectacle of a young innocent RnB singer crooning a Leonard Cohen number about the pain and agony of ecstatic love, all while we munched away at our mince pies.
And so the stage was set once again this year for a similar coronation - this time of a pleasant-enough chap who appeared to be rocking that whole rabbit-in-the-headlights look while delivering a range of granny pleasing ballads with all the character and passion of a photocopier.
Nothing wrong with it, if that's your thing. I'd rather light bamboo shoots and put them in my eyes than listen to it, but perhaps I'm funny that way.
A lot of people got very worked up about this and decided to try and get an alternative song to top the charts instead. And the one they chose? Those jolly funsters Rage Against the Machine's 1992 track 'Killing In The Name'. As is the case with all mass movements these days, there's even a Facebook group - this one with some 600,000 members.
Surely I would be a prime candidate to support this sort of thing? After all, I'm no fan of the sickly sweet saccharine balladeer cabaret-fodder shows like the X-Factor churn out week after week. And it does indeed give me a warm glow to think of a nation's grandmothers collectively spitting out their Brussels sprouts when Zack de la whatsisface delivers 'that' line.
However, for much of this week I've been ambivalent. First, I really couldn't give a tinker's cuss about the singles chart. Last time I checked, neither Peter Gabriel nor The Decemberists featured heavily. Hardly any of the songs feature a Mellotron. And second, it seemed a little like the music snobs ganging up on the poor innocent Joe. Bless him, he's in Cowell's clutches - unless he's massively successful he'll be an empty husk in six months, performing to the chicken in a basket crowd on a Scandinavian cruise ship somewhere. Let him have his fifteen minutes, I thought.
Then I saw this interview with him today:
"They can't be serious! I had no idea what it sounded like. It's dreadful and I hate it. How could anyone enjoy this? Can you imagine the grandmas hearing this over Christmas lunch?"Sod him. I'm off to Play.com right now.