This week, The Annual offered Annual reader Chuck Moulder, retired community college professor, Rolling Stone subscriber and armchair musicologist, the opportunity to choose our The Christmas Song of the Week. We caught up with Chuck in his Frederick, Maryland home to listen to, and discuss his choice.
The Annual (Bill Shy): Chuck, I see you are in your armchair next to the Christmas tree-
Chuck Moulder: Yep. Got a Christmas beer here.
TA: Looks like part of a seasonal six pack, Chuck.
CM: Everybody gives ‘em to me. Holiday booze sets. My current wife. The kids. The neighbors. Friends. That one is Linda, my lovely wife’s present to me. The whiskey miniatures are Jude, my oldest. The stouts are Martha, my dear youngest. Rita and Michelle went in on the Sam Adams twinpack.
TA: Is everyone home for the holidays?
CM: Oh they’re doing their own thing.
TA: I see you have a beer in each hand.
CM: I’m ready. Shoot.
TA: Chuck, what Christmas Song would you like to select for The Annual’s Christmas Song of the Week?
CM: Let’s take it one line at a time.
TA: Oh. No, you can just-
CM: The moon is right!
TA: Ah, Paul McCartney’s ‘Wonderful-
CM: The moon is right!… Have you ever seen the moon, Bill?
TA: Well, yes, but-
CM: The moon is right! The question is: Is there a better first line to a Christmas song? The answer is: No. You don’t think of the sun at Christmastime, do you?
TA: Can’t say that I-
CM: The moon. Mother Mary’s womb. The halo of the Christchild like the very prenumbra of our lunar friend. The. Moon. Egg-like, a subtle reference to Paul’s relationship with the Eggman, John Lennon. Am I wrong?
CM: The moon is right!
TA: I’m worried, Chuck, a little concerned, that this interview is going to exceed my word limit if you go through the whole-
CM: The spirits up!
TA: If you go through line by-
CM: Don’t crowd me. I’m rolling here. I’m vibing on this, here, okay? Do you know the term ‘vibing’?
CM: The spirits up. Concise. Eloquent. A story in one line. Pure Paul. Good ol’ Paul, right there. Is it secular? Is it religious, this spirit? Yes and yes.
CM: We’re here tonight!
TA: I’ll put it on. I’ve got it on my phone-
CM: Not yet! We’re here tonight, Bill. You and me and Christmas. The wife? No. What’s she doin’? Something. Where are the kids? They’re grown, but they don’t call. We’re here tonight!
[The Annual Reporter mutters something indistinct]
[Editor’s Note: 35 minutes later]
[Sound of a bottle opening.]
CM: McCartney’s Christmas is everyone’s Christmas. The kids practicing some crap all year long, you don’t know what it is. They don’t know what it means. Ding dong! Doesn’t matter. It’s just that feeling, y’know? Y’know, the feeling? It’s indistinct. It’s simple.
CM: HAVING A WONDERFUL CHRISTMASTIME!
TA: Right, right. So, for you, this song distills what your Christmas is all about into-
CM: Oh Bill. Bill, Bill, Bill. Let’s go deep.
CM: Paul and I, I feel like I can call him Paul, y’know? Paul and I go way back.
TA: When was the first time you heard-
CM: It’s more than that Bill. Paul McCartney and I share so…so much.
TA: You haven’t actually…? Have you met-
CM: Have you had a one-legged woman break your heart and steal your money?
CM: Paul and I have. Mm, mm, mm. Paul and I have. Second wives man. We’re just simple men. SIMPLY HAVING A WONDERFUL CHRISTMASTIME! Then, she’s young, she has your kid; it’s better without that extra woman leg crowding the bed, am I right? Then: POW!
TA: Wait, what?
CM: Heather Mills and my second ex, Millie Herzberg! Let it wash over you. The haze. The Christmastime. What is it about? You can’t know. Lift a glass. Don’t look down. It’s good, you’ve gotta keep it light and hazy. That’s the best way to Chriss’miss [sic]. You’re alone. The choir of kids, where are they? Jingle them bells and don’t look down. LIFT A GLASS!
CM: We’re here tonight. And that’s enough.
TA: Thank you, Chuck. I think that is enough.
Interviewer: Bill Shy