David Knight - 19th Dec 2007

How about this for some festive cheer...

Tom Haines received a call from Ryan Oxley at Full Time Hobby a couple of weeks ago with the news that the label were making a late (and arguably ironic) bid on the Christmas No 1 slot with Malcolm Middleton's We're All Gonna Die, and they desperately needed a video. As he had done a grand job with Middleton's video for A Brighter Beat earlier this year, could he make something at rather short notice Oh, and Malcolm didn't want to be in it.

Okay then, says Tom. And with a sum total of one day's preparation, a Bolex camera, 10 rolls of 16mm film, the services of comedian Kim Noble and a Father Christmas suit, he came up with this: arguably the best and funniest Christmas video since... Wham's Last Christmas

Kim Noble - half of Perrier Award-winning double act Noble and Silver - lurches around London West End as drunk Santa: a pathetic yet sympathetic and identifiable figure. Remove the red suit and he could be any one of us, struggling through the physical and emotional minefield that is the festive season. There by the grace of god...

"I knew Kim in a round-the-houses sort of way, so I sent him an email asking if he was busy the next day," explains Tom. "He got back saying 'I'll juggle things around'. And it so happens he has a beard and does look a bit like Malcolm - it was serendipity. We just suited him up and made it up on the spot."

Ironically Tom found the best place to shoot was in quite possibly the busiest place on earth in early December, on Oxford Street. "There were so many people around that you can get away with things."

But he dispensed with some more extreme ideas. Having done a lot of street filming in his former life as a BBC cameraman he knows it can be a hassle if you draw unnecessary attention to yourself. "I bottled it to be honest," he says, "Kim did get stopped by the police because they thought he was drunk, but he talked his way out of it."

Frankly it was an easy mistake for the coppers to make, because it's a great drunk-like performance by Noble. And it hits exactly the right note for Malcolm Middelton's welcome (and utterly catchy) antidote to endless, countless renditions of bloody Merry Christmas Everybody.

You really should buy it at the weekend to give the X Factor boy a run for his money...

David Knight - 19th Dec 2007

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