‘Tis the festive season of advent calendars and countdowns to Christmas. To mark the occasion, what better way than to have a completely non-festive A-Z of Medway songs.
Only, in this case, the song for the day is actually just a little bit festive. Well, it’s called ‘Decembered’ and it’s got a flurry of bells appearing in it. If it worked for East 17…
Brigadier Ambrose’s single, ‘Decembered’ came out on 10 December 2007. To be honest, apart from its title, its release date and the aforementioned chimes, there is little in the way of Christmas about the song.
But what it lacks in chestnuts – or Cliff Richard – roasting on open fires, it more than makes up for in bile and frustration with everyday mundanity. It is, in fact, a gloriously typical Brigadier Ambrose song.
Among the gripes which lead singer David Goggin sneers and snipes about (in the best of ways) are: the correct way to eat brie when you’re having trouble removing the rind (“it’s bad etiquette to cut off the nose/so I’m told”), the perils of living in a hard water area and the social discomfort of being near someone who is visibly upset (“you sit alone in your pants and you sob and sob/I’ll shy away and get on with my things”).
The frenetic, chaotic nature of the song is just one of its many charms – a psychedelic trip of the most warped kind. There can be little wonder why this – and other Brigadier Ambrose songs found such critical acclaim.
Stuart Maconie was a particular fan, playing them on both Radio 2, with Mark Radcliffe, and also on his 6 Music show, The Freak Zone. There were also outings on XFM, a flirtation with the Mercury Music Prize with their album Fuzzo and, of course, a death defying trip to appear at Latitude.
Find out more about this and other Medway bands and artists with my book, Do it Yourself: a History of Music in Medway.
Further reading: Brigadier Ambrose: ‘Jambon Dandy’ review.