2 Shades of Grey

Songs from the soundtrack of your life


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Xmas shopping aided & abetted by Xmas songs!

Looking forward to another round of Jingle Bell Rock or White Christmas?

A clinical psychologist has warned of the effects of continuous Xmas music on your mental health. “because music goes right to our emotions immediately and bypasses rationality” says Linda Blair (no connection with the Blair Witch project although you might wonder if she’s related to the Grinch).

She goes on to say “it might make us feel trapped – it’ a reminder that we have to buy presents, cater for people, organise celebrations”. Or it might be that the music is so annoying we can’t wait to get out of the shop?

She thinks shop staff are most at risk and have to tune out the music otherwise “you spend all your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing”.

So what are the big stores actually doing this year (apart from churning out increasingly irrelevant Xmas ads which are so PC)?

Marks and Spencer will be a music-free zone but Asda will only have one hour a day free from christmas tunes and will even let staff become DJs for the day!

Asda perceptively said “we love the arm and fuzzy feeling that the festive season brings but for many Brits the novelty starts to wear off in December“.

So why do you have to start selling Xmas stuff so early?

John Lewis is having christmas music for the first time this year. In the past they have invited small groups of musicians or choirs to play and sing to create more atmosphere. And that’s fine, 2 Shades has done that in Tesco in the past. “The music at the Christmas Shop is a new addition”.  Yippee, more piped music!

Sainsbury‘s is also expanding its musical reach. Usually only played in its cafés it will be played throughout the stores this year.

Not everyone is happy Pipedown, a pressure group for silence in public spaces, said “It was estimated some years ago that department store workers on the shop floor will have been forced to listen to Jingle Bells up to 300 times in the run-up to Christmas“.

Marks and Spencer was probably the first store to stop playing piped music and there is evidence the public don’t like it so it’s a bit disturbing to see that some stores have turned up the volume as it were just for Christmas.


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A Lithuanian folk song for Christmas

Man patinka Lietuva

Sigita, my Lithuanian teacher at VDU in Kaunas, sent me this at Christmas a couple of years ago before I started this blog.

So now I want to share it with you, my Lithuanian friends and colleagues and followers of my blog. It’s a song from the Dzukija region performed by a collaboration between Donis and Kūlgrinda.

Donis is a Lithuanian ambient, neofolk and experimental music project created by the Klaipėda multi-instrumentalist Donatas Bielkauskas.

Kūlgrinda is a neofolk/pagan folk band from Vilnius, Lithuania, established in 1990 by Inja and Jonas Trinkūnas. The band owes its name to kūlgrinda – a secret Samogitian underwater causeway.

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Chris Rea sings about Xmas

SCAN0099Chris Rea, singer and blues/slide guitarist, has recorded 24 albums, released 70 odd singles and had over 30 UK hits.

He’s also written many memorable songs including “On the Beach” “Stainsbury Girls” and “Road to Hell“. Plus a few songs about Christmas.

This one,  “Winter Song“, was recorded in 1991 and it reached No 27 in the UK charts.

This particular copy of the 7” 45 rpm  vinyl is unusual in that the cover has been produced as an Advent Calendar.

SCAN0100The back of the sleeve shows a miniature shot of the cover of the Auberge album from which it was taken.

There were two other tracks on the record; “Footprints in the snow” and “Tell me there’s a heaven“, so quite a Christmas/religious theme to this particular release.

Here’s the song taken from Youtube