“Things Fall Apart”

On the 15th of March 2005, starting at 08:03 AM, I started pestering the crowd over at the Steve Hoffman forums with a request. Although I can’t remember why, I spent the Christmas Eve of 1981 home alone and after midnight I tuned into an obscure Danish offshore or pirate program that catered to the late-night Christmas crowd. The tape that resulted from that (I taped and re-cut those night programs for my Sony Walkman) stayed with me for many years … until material fatigue tore it to shreds (and almost ruined said Walkman).The problem was that I could neither remember the title nor the artist. In fact, I remembered preciously little from that tune although I had heard it a million times.

This is what I posted on the forum that time, following their request guidelines:

“I’ve tried this on other boards without success. I’m going to try here as well. Around 1980, I heard a song (and taped it) that I really liked. Some really obscure radio station (offshore/pirate) played it on Christmas Eve and I listened to it for many years. Then the tape got busted up, then my tape deck went out the window, you know how it goes. I have VERY little info on this one (the radio guy also didn’t say anything about the title before or after playing it).

Type: “Christmas” song
Singer: female
Lyrics: Mostly spoken, very monotonous, very little, if any, singing (chorus, if at all)
Music: Monotonous
Special: There was a jackhammer (pneumatic hammer?) rattlin’ away in the back
Lyrics: Only line I remember is one about a Christmas tree, and it went something like this: “They dressed it up … and smothered it in tears” (sth like that).

Man, I tried virtually every Anne Clark CD (for some reason I thought it was her), every obscure female vocalist suggested to me, haunted the Internet for years … no success.
Can anyone help out?

Of, course, I got the usual nerdy answers, like “I’m gonna check out my ‘Bummed out Christmas’ collection for a ‘Christmas’ song, female, mostly spoken, very monotonous—pneumatic hammer?—rattlin’ away in the back of that one ‘kinda thingy‘” or lines like “Could it be “Wot” by Captain Sensible? It mentions a jack hammer and has female singers saying “Woo!” and I heard it once on Christmas… “, but already at 08:24, member 93curr had the answer: “[…] sounds like something that might well have been on the ‘Ze Records Christmas Album.’ Maybe a Cristina track? Maybe try there (remember, there were two different editions with different track lists).

At 08:47 AM, after I had hunted around the Internet for 93curr’s suggestion, I had the answer.

So, here it is then for you as well to enjoy, in all of its new wave and deconstructive glory.
For many many years, my favorite Christmas song.
Cristina’s “Things Fall Apart” (here from the 1981 ZE Records Christmas compilation).
Merry Christmas, everyone!

Posted by Volkher Hofmann

Volkher Hofmann (deus62) has been blogging on and off since the 1990s and deus62.com is all that is left. He loves music, literature, drumming and, most of all, real life. He thinks the open web is much more important than social networks, closed-in ecosystems and other severely commercialized online endeavors.

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