Eggnog

by tinsel time

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about

Every bird has to leave the nest, even when that nest is in a World Heritage area. And when some dumb airport gets proposed in that same region, and both the Liberals and the Labors decide to agree for the first time ever, well, that bird is going to flap its wings with extra gusto.

Two young lads, driven out of the Blue Mountains by hitherto-unheard-of-political-agreement, left their families behind and moved into a share house with two other friends in Sydney’s Inner West. Even in the lead-up to moving, it was difficult not to anticipate the nostalgia they would one day feel about this period of freedom, fun, and future identity formation. One day, when they would each be stuck in loveless marriages, going through the motions, making that dollar and growing that family, their minds would flicker back to their time in Summer Hill. They would look back with immeasurable fondness on their times staying up late playing video games, spending too much money on takeaway coffees despite owning an expensive coffee machine, and trying to outdo each other in making the least nutritionally beneficial dinners possible. And once they moved in, it played out just as they had anticipated. And things were good.

But happiness has a way of slipping away from the party unnoticed. One of the housemates, having been smitten with the same woman since the very first day of Kindergarten, finally proposed in October, and the two were engaged to be married. Initially, celebrations were rife in the household: champagne from the previous year’s work Christmas bonus was popped open, hugs were had, and fists were pumped. All three of the unengaged housemates were unabashedly congratulatory, even going so far as to take the engagement photo that would do the rounds on Facebook and the such. Despite the initially positive response, a different mood—engendered by a thinly veiled jealousy of finding one’s soulmate—began to slowly take shape within the house. Whenever the newly engaged couple were around, a miasma of bitterness filled the air: whichever room they entered soon emptied, their TV rights were somehow taken away, and they were never offered cups of tea. Eventually, the resentment grew to be too much.

When Christmas neared, the couple purchased a towering Christmas tree for the boys’ house, as well as a neat tree stand that cost $45 alone. The two of them spent all afternoon fitting it and the living room out with bunting, baubles, and other hangable banalities. But that night, when all was a-hush and not a creature was stirring, the tree toppled over. It went unheard, but could not stay unseen, for if a tree falls in the night, and no one is around to see it, it’s still there in the morning. When the four lads awoke to see the pine needles and baubles splashed across the floor, the past month’s pent-up antagonism broke out among them, each blaming the others for just about any defect ever accommodated by this miserable world.

A relentless spray of acrimonious words hurtled back and forth between each of them, until insults ran dry and the slow fog of regret began to descend upon the room. Anger being no easily expendable resource, they each wearily collapsed back onto the couch without further utterance, and sat silently in each other’s company for a few minutes. But silence, like fine china, is destined to break, and it was soon broken by a mindless chatter, tinged with a soft embarrassment that hinted at a mutual longing for an immediate but unspoken reconciliation.

Inevitably, this chatter soon led to an impromptu a cappella rendition of Sufjan’s Angels We Have Heard On High. This made way for the spontaneous creation of five original Christmas songs, borne of a dark period but signifying a beautiful new place. Upon breathlessly composing and recording them, all done within thirty-five minutes, the four young men exhaled in unison, eager to make the most of the five months they had until the wedding. Though jealousy had threatened, Christmas had prevailed.

credits

released December 21, 2016

All songs by Miles Elkington and Garth Travers, except Track 3 by Thom Davies
Female vocals by Kathleen Travers
Cello by Sam Buckingham-Jones
Album artwork by Emily Travers

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Track Name: Mr & Mrs Claus
Nobody ever knew an elf
That could keep a secret to himself
I’ve been hearing rumours flying
That a marriage might be dying

I guess that it gets awful cold
Up there in the Northern Pole
But we got to heat those hearts up

It’s time to get this couple back on course

Mr and Mrs Claus
Don’t get a divorce
Because goodness knows
There’s enough of those
Your marriage is bigger than
Love between a woman and a man
So Mr and Mrs Claus
Stay together of course!

As far as institutions go
You could do a whole lot worse you know
So it shouldn’t be disparaged
Why not stick with marriage

Nobody said it would be bliss
Because home is where the heartache is
But we gotta heat those hearts up

‘cause divorce is the worst present of all


Say ‘you do’
See it through


Nobody ever knew an elf
That could keep a secret to himself
I’ve been hearing rumours flying
That this marriage might be dying

But having problems ain’t a sin
And don’t tell me you don’t feel a thing when
She’s at the table crying
She says, “You’re not even trying"
He says "Look into my eyes now
And find the one you fell for all those years ago.”

And we'll sing it until we're hoarse
Stay together of course!
Track Name: Hoping Yule Be Mine
Christmas party, fairy lights
She came drifting into sight
But I can’t make bold moves

Frozen legs but heart’s ablaze
I can feel her tender gaze
From across the room

Christmas bells jingle
Our glances intermingle
A girl just caught my eye
This Christmas time
Before this evening gets away
I wanna just go right up and say
I’m hoping you’ll be mine
This Christmas time

Christmas party, crowded room
He came drifting into view
Bit of a surprise

Bashful smile, kinda shy
I guess I should say hi
And get to know those eyes

Christmas bells jingle
Our glances intermingle
A boy just caught my eye
This Christmas time
Before this evening gets away
I’d better just go right up and say
I’m hoping you’ll be mine
This Christmas time
(I’m hoping you’ll be mine)

—She’s coming over
—I’m going over
—Do I look nervous?
—He looks so nervous
—(Both) And suddenly we’re both so near
—We get to talking
—We get to talking
—Words are flying
—Words are flying
—(Both) Christmas is the best time of the year

Christmas bells jingle
Our voices intermingle
You just caught my eye
This Christmas time
Before this evening got away
I’m glad I got the chance to say
I’m hoping you’ll be mine
This Christmas time
Track Name: Two Parts Rum, One Part Nog
Sugar high sugar low
Don’t where to go from here
If you stay I’m gonna go
Don’t know how to control my fear

I should’ve treated you nice
Even when you burnt the rice
You were the only one who stayed by my side

There’s no one at home because my life turned out a mess
I watch TV alone and sitting in my Sunday best
And if I just reached out to my neighbours once or twice
I wouldn’t drink my nog alone this Christmas night

Stripping down, the air con’s broken, like the jolly folk next door
They’re keeping me up, they’re popping the bons, I see them smiling through the door
I fold the invitation they left on my front pavement
Because they don’t want the likes of me
Sitting beneath their Christmas tree

There’s no one at home because my life turned out a mess
I watch TV alone and sitting in my Sunday best
And if I just reached out to my neighbours once or twice
I wouldn’t drink my nog alone this Christmas night

Was I like this as a kid?
Disappointing life I’ve lived
Cold, cold house when I was young
Never dreamt of what I could become

Maybe it’s time to go out and get in a fight
Maybe it’s time to see these Christmas lights up

Everything is going wrong
And everything at once
How could I not overcome something that I've done?
Roll my sleeves up, start again
So my loss stays strong

Forget about the first attempt
When I was young

There’s no one at home but that’ll change, just give me time
Don’t know why you think I’ve got to tell you I’m always fine
I dust myself right down and I walk up to your front porch
I know it’s late but can you handle just one more?
Track Name: January
Mama always told me
Have a grateful heart
But I’m sorry ma
This year has just been too damn hard

Work’s been such a drag
And my man ran off
So I’ve had enough
But I might have better luck (when it's)

January
Won’t you come back to me
Don’t you go leaving me under the Christmas tree

And I always hear
That every year’s a gift
But I don’t remember
This heartache on my Christmas list

So take your fairy lights
And your mistletoe
I don’t want to know
I just want another go (when it's)

January
Won't you come back to me
Don't you go leaving me under the Christmas tree

As one year ends
I’ve got my wounds to tend
So hurry home sweet, sweet January

Time goes by
Every day
I don’t want to wish
Any more away

But I’ll fall apart
Without a fresh start
So I’m waiting for the day in
Track Name: Double Time and a Half
Double time and a half
Well that’s a lot of pay
But sorry boss, it’s not enough
To work on Christmas Day

I know we need hotels
As much as we need jingle bells
But roster someone else on
I don’t think a hotel’s an
Appropriate Christmas stay

I know we need fast food
For people who spatially intrude
But please Mr Ronald
Don’t let your McDonalds
Take my Christmas away

Two hundo fifty percent
Of my standard pay
But you wont a-get me to consent
To working on a-Christmas Day

I know we need service stations
To reach our destinations
But hours behind a counter
Will never quite amounter
Sufficient Christmas pay

You know you need your family
No matter how insane they might be
So go enjoy that rowdy mob
Quit your useless job
So you couldn’t—even if you somehow wanted to—work on Christmas Day

(It’s a big) N/A
N/A
N/A
On Christmas Day