Chris de Burgh – A Spaceman Came Travelling

Okay, I know its a bit late, but this little bastard creapt up on me on Christmas day no less when I was cheering on the Nazi’s in The Sound Of Music (with the sound down of course). Squashy faced Irish pop prince in a not strictly canonical Christian story shocker. That enough I would have thought would be enough to have him strung up by his balls in County Limerick. But couple it with it being a ridiculous addition to the original far fetched tale and hideously smug, we have what can be considered one of the worst Christmas songs ever. And as you know, that’s saying something.

The plot of “A Spaceman Came Travelling” is that 2000 years ago, in a barn in Palestine and unmentioned mother is giving birth to an unmentioned child. De Burgh is not going to risk the wrath of the Catholic Church by saying exactly who this song stuffed with sleigh bells and released in December is about after all. Then along comes this spaceman – who comes travelling – who incidentally thinks that Light Years are a measurement of time. Rather than circle the globe looking for the most advanced civilisation (possibly the Chinese at the time, but Rome at a push) he just so happens to rock down by this barn. He gets out and does the “I come in peace, do not be afraid” schtick – though because it is set in Biblical times he says Afeard – like what they did back then. In Palestine. And then he goes:

“La la la la la la la la-di-dah,
La la la la la-di-dah”

This lyrically trite little ditty is the spacemans gift to the unnamed – but can you tell who he is yet – child. Mary – or whoever she is – is probably holding out for the wise man with the gold at this point. Nevertheless De Burgh tries to get across the transcendental beauty of this little tune by bigging it up in the following verse and saying that no-one on Earth will hear music of such brilliance for almost 2000 years. Not until they invent a Fairlight anyway. And the the spaceman fucks off. And we hear the rubbish gift tune again – as if to suggest that Chris De Burgh’s brilliance is so great that his music is only equal to that of a super advanced (but pretty stupid it would appear) alien lifeform.

Now I would agree that Chris has some of the looks of an alien life form and has the musical talent of that Martian algae that NASA never quite find on the Red Planet. Beyond that though I find his reinterpretation of a tale a bit like the Christmas one to be riddled with inconsitencies, dramatically flawed and – well just crap. Especially when you consider that with all this “do not be afeard” bollocks De Burgh is tying the alien in with the Archangel Gabriel. And then saying that the music made by Gabriel will not be bettered until some other almost godlike presence is given half an hour of studio time and an echo box.

Frankly I find it very difficult to believe that an advanced alien race would merely pop in to sing a song to a baby in a barn. I find the baby in a barn thing pretty difficult to believe, but not as hard to swallow as the idea that an advanced civilization would just nip in to sing a song. Harest of all though is the idea that such an advanced civilization would ever come about without destroying all music first.