• Kate Clarke

Jewellery, Windows and Wine

If you don't get a Christmas card from me I can only apologise.

I have never sent one in my life. Terry did all of that stuff. He was the sentimentalist, the lover of shiny things, the rememberer of birthdays, the celebrator of all red letter days, big and small, and the careful keeper of addresses for the Christmas mail-out.

He was a long time lapsed in his religion - he was decorously old-fashioned but entirely corruptible, as I used to describe him when I was flirting - but he did have a soft spot for the idea of the baby Jesus and he liked to light a candle for people he loved.

He thought it was comical that the most Catholic lyric he ever sang, Mario Ferlito,

was written by me, an unbeliever. But then, I did have a lot of bible in my youth, and I can still quote a lot of it if the situation calls for some pallid poetry. Terry continued to like the jewellery, the windows, and the wine into adulthood. Particularly the wine.


He also liked those pagan wishing trees of Ireland, the Day of the Dead stuff from down in Mexico, the fat, funky angel made of tin I bought him, who sits on top of our tree every year, showing her underwear. He liked Louisiana voodoo, and the holy trinity of Luther Perkins, WS Holland and Marshall Grant. Terry was wired right.

If you mark it, then happy Christmas to you. If you don't, there's a lot of fine festive music out there to help you pass the season. Check out Rodney Crowell's little seasonal heartbreaker if you get the chance. However, as far as Terry was concerned, Christmas hadn't begun until Bobby Darin was singing Silent Night at Kteltowers.

Terry always wanted to cut a Christmas album. He really should have done that. He did write some memorable Christmas songs. He used to end his December gigs at the Rising Sun Arts Centre, in the hometown, by singing Silent Night. I wonder if anyone remembers that?


"Well I bet he still bets on the horses

he'd bet on two flies on the wall.

He'd bet on cigarettes, burning together

and then bet on the ashes that fall.

Well, the snow's falling down on Chicago

and it falls down on Michigan too.

It falls on the collar of her new fur coat

but its not as pretty as my son's eyes of blue." Terry Clarke, American Lipstick.


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