East Grinstead songwriter’s Christmas single has a ‘vintage’ feel

Jon McDevitt
Jon McDevitt

East Grinstead’s Jon McDevitt teams up with musicians from Horsham, Crawley and East Grinstead for a Christmas single full of meaning.

‘Father Christmas’ offers listeners the chance to interpret it in any number of ways. You can catch it on Youtube.

“My writing partner Dominic and I have always written things,” Jon says, “and Dominic (Hudson) was just toying around with a lyric about Father Christmas. It came about mainly because we thought there have not been many Christmas songs recently that have stuck around. I am in my mid-40s, and I don’t think there have been any Christmas singles I have really liked for years.

“The song was coming together well, and the chorus gets stuck in your head, and we thought we should really go for it properly. We did it, and then it snowballed, and now it is the single. It is a lot of hard work, and it is very difficult to get anything heard these days, but it is catchy and it is reflective. I think your modern Christmas single is very glossy and over-produced. This is much more of a vintage single.”

And it offers plenty to think about, with a chorus line “I am Father Christmas. Will you miss me?”

“You think: ‘Is it like a goodbye to childhood as the children grow up?’ Or is it basically about Christmas drowning in commercialism? Or is it more about the loss of Christmas spirit? There was an interesting programme where they had a family try out different Christmases from different eras. They did like a ’50s Christmas, a ’60s Christmas up to the ’90s. It was mum and dad and two kids, and they concluded at the end that the 1970s Christmas was the favourite one. It was the right mix of togetherness and you had toys and games that everybody could play. You had TV that everyone was watching together. Morecambe & Wise would get 30 million viewers at Christmas, and there was a sense of something special about ’70s Christmas. I was a child in the ’70s. The ’50s was still a little bit too austere, and then ’80s and ’90s were all about excess, too much food and increasingly computer games that tended to isolate people in their rooms as soon as they had unwrapped them, and that has followed through to today where everything is on demand and nobody gets together again anymore.”

But as Jon stresses, that’s simply his own take on the single. Dominic has another.

“For him it is about him struggling down Oxford Street with all the Christmas presents thinking ‘I am bl**** Father Christmas!’”

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