All Together Now

1. Irony 101

(Author’s note: this is the earnest, teacher-y part of the post.)

Irony is one of the literary devices I teach my 6th graders, and I keep it to pretty obvious examples: a “no smoking” sign in a cigarette factory, getting run over by an ambulance, etc.

Last year I added to our repertoire this British ad, commissioned for the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce:

I showed students the clip with no introduction, then read passages from Jim Murphy’s Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting, then we watched the clip once more.

Next week we’ll do it again. We’ll also listen to this episode of BBC’s Witness, which aired last Christmas Eve.


2: Nobody Beats the Wiz! (Except the Pogues and the Waitresses and some others as well)

Having spent quite possibly years of my life listening to the radio, I was surprised to hear of a popular Christmas song I’d never heard, or even heard of: “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” by Wizzard.  Nick Lowe mentioned it in an interview, saying it’s on heavy rotation over there.

My Christmas #1 alternates, depending on mood, between “Fairytale of New York” and “Christmas Wrapping,” but I could easily make room in the top ten for this one. And the video is certainly a, uh, treat for the eyes:


PS speaking of Yuletide eyestrain, in the course of writing this post I had occasion to view the video for “All Together Now,” a song I remember dimly from high school, also about the Christmas Truce. (The song, I mean. High school was about unremitting trench warfare.) The video is slightly horrifying, and not in the way you’d perhaps expect, given the subject: