Around this time each year I like to trawl through some of my old Peel Festive 50 tapes. It's the one activity that most makes me start to feel festive - probably because of the seasonal between-song banter and annecdotes and memories of taping them during Christmas week. Reading through most of the end-of-year polls, it's impossible not to speculate what tunes Peel listeners would've voted for this year.
Half Man Half Biscuit (sadly missing from all other countdowns) produced a veritable treasure trove of Festive 50-friendly cuts this year. Messrs E Smith and Gedge also pitched in with reliable, if not astonishing, new records that would've provided around 10% of all chart placings. Other 'perennial Peel faves' like country singer Laura Cantrell and pop-culture sampling novelty loons The Cuban Boys returned strong this year. The doom-laden sounds of Technical Itch style post-grime could well have provided the obligatory 3 or 4 'electro' entries.
Anyway, this is possibly how I imagine the top 5 could well've probably may have looked this year. This is not based on science.
1. The thing I like best about him is his girlfriend - The Wedding Present.
The allure of David Gedge reuniting with Steve Albini would've been too difficult to resist for Peel listeners. And behold, this track has a quirky title, increasing the possibility of reaching the top spot.
2. Guilty pleasure - Manda Rin.
There's always one curveball in the top 10. Often it's an artist who's been associated with The Peel wingding in the past and have returned un-noticed, with little fanfare or critical success. This tasteful electro single from the former Bis yelper could well have provided 2008's big surprise.
3. Garageband - Helen Love.
Previous form in the Festive 50, the Welsh lo-fi gabba punkpoppers increased their stock by releasing a record on the none-more-Peel uber-indie Spanish label Elefant this year. This cut is a sure-fire high entry since it references Peel-fave surf guitar legend Dick Dale and John himself gets a mention in the chorus.
4. Rock that sh1t - CLSM vs Billy Bunter.
The obligatory happy hardcore top 10 entry could have been this. It could've been any number of tunes this year, but this one in particular rocked the floors at Bonkers nights in Doncaster and Hull during 2008. It would've registered on the Peel team's radar.
5. Godzilla vs the island of Manhattan with you and I somewhere in-between - Ballboy.
Always there or there abouts, Ballboy returned this year with a more measured and introspective record. Any number of the americana-tinged songs could've made the Festive 50 but, on account of the silly title, this would probably be the highest placed.