Classic Rock’s Christmas Tale
Happy Christmas from everyone at Classic Rock! Now stop opening those presents and gnawing on that turkey bone, and come inside for a seasonal story…
IT COULD BE A WONDERFUL LIFE…
…If it wasn’t for Simon Cowell. In his annual festive tale, BP Perry (the man who brought you Pete Doherty’s Christmas Carol and Gene Simmons as The Grinch) ends his seasonal, um, trilogy with a re-imagining of Christmas classic It’s A Wonderful Life, starring Simon Cowell. Season’s greetings to ya…
“Rage Against The Machine?” Simon Cowell roared, incredulously. “Rage Against The Machine? Who the bloody hell are Rage Against The Machine?”
Willoughby, Cowell’s long-suffering assistant, checked through his notes. “It says here that they’re an American rock band from off of the 90s, sir.”
“The 90s?” Cowell bellowed, smashing his fists into the table and gnashing his teeth. “Who in the name of suffering shit listens to anything from the 90s? Jesus! I don’t even know who was around in the 90s!”
“Well,” Willoughby replied, “there was Robson and Jerome, sir.”
“Robson and Jerome? You signed ‘em up in the 90s?”
“Sang a version of Unchained Melody? Looked like a pair of dock hands? One of them didn’t have a nose, technically speaking?”
“Not ringing any bells…”
“Made you a fortune?”
“Ah! Got ‘em!” Cowell rubbed his chin, thoughtfully. “So… these Rage Against The Machine characters think they can steal the Christmas number one from me, eh?”
“Well they didn’t actually steal it from you, sir, they just sold more records than your fella did.”
“Theft wears many disguises, Willoughby!” Cowell muttered. “Just because it looks like this band of ruffians got my Christmas number one fair and square, it don’t make it so, not in my world. I think I’ll take a wander over to the BBC to see what Mark Goodyear has to say about this…”
“Mark Goodyear, sir?”
“Yes, Mark Goodyear. He’s still in charge of the Hit Parade, isn’t he?”
“I’m not sure…” Willoughby thumbed through his notes, frowning. “Erm… Is he the one that says ‘alright’ a lot?”
“‘Hello, alright, I’m Mark Goodyear and this is the charts, alright, not ‘arf, in at number ten it’s Cliff Richard and the Shad…’ Oh, hang on, that was Alan Freeman, wasn’t it?”
“The Australian with the limp?”
“Or was that Jimmy Savile…?”
[Some time later…]
“Bloody snow!” Cowell thundered, tripping over for the umpteenth time on his way to the BBC. “Since when has it snowed at Christmas, eh? You don’t get snow at Christmas, not in Britain! I’ve a mind to ring this God chap up and…”
His phone rang. “Simon Cowell!” he barked into the receiver.
“It’s me, sir, Willoughby,” said Willoughby.
“What the hell do you want?”
“I just wanted to remind you you have a meeting with your songwriters at four, sir. They’ve got this new one they want to run by you about being lifted up by the love of a…”
“Spare me the fucking details, Willoughby,” Cowell interrupted, feeling sick. “Tell ‘em I’ll be back by five at the latest. And if they start moaning about being kept waiting, remind ‘em there’s an army of songwriters out there who can write shit just as insipid at they can.”
“Will do, sir… oh!” In the background, the bells of a local church chimed the hour.
“What is it, Willoughby?”
“The bells, sir,” the assistant replied. “They say that when a bell tolls, an angel gets its wi-”
“Oh, fuck off,” snapped Cowell, slamming shut his phone.
The bridge was icy as Cowell made his way across it. Flurries of snow were coming down hard, making it nigh-on impossible for the record mogul to see his hands in front of his face, let alone the A to Z iPhone application he was trying to use to find the BBC. Suddenly, a blast of wind sent him slipping across the pavement and careening into the bridge’s barrier, almost toppling him into the freezing waters of the Thames beneath. Winded, Cowell stopped to catch his breath.
“Why the hell didn’t I take the car?” he muttered to himself. “I always take the car. I’m famous for my cars, me. Mercedes, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, that one I drove fast on Top Gear last-”
“WHOA THERE!” came a voice from behind him. Cowell looked round and beheld the silhouette of a man emerging from the gloom. “Stop, for the love of all that’s holy, stop!” cried the man. “Don’t do it, young man! There’s so much to live for!”
“Don’t do what exactly?” Cowell shouted at the approaching figure, and then, “Oh shit, my iPhone!” as it slipped from his grasp into the waters below. “Balls! I was still paying that bugger off on higher purchase!”
“Don’t throw y’self yonder into those rimy waters, boy!” cried the man. “You don’t know how much you’d be missed should you do it!”
Cowell looked the old man up and down and, by the looks of his shabby coat, crumpled hat and large red nose, concluded he must be either a journalist or a tramp. “I’m sorry,” say he, “but I don’t talk to members of the press. You’ll have to go through my PR company. Here’s his card… An oily piece of shit by the name of Max…”
“Nay! Stay, lad, stay,” the old man said. “I’m not who y’think I am!”
“Then who are you, exactly?”
“I’m an angel, lad!” cries the old fellow, whimsically blowing snow from his bulbous snout. “Sent this night from up on ‘igh Heaven to save poor wretches like y’self from making the worst of all mistakes. D’you see?”
“Mistake? What mistake? Going to the BBC to have a word about my bloody record getting to number two thanks to a pack of stinking…”
“Nay, m’boy, nay!”
“Then what, you blathering old fool?”
“Why, from tipping thyself over yon bridge, son! From submerging thy sorrows ‘neath the bubbling, merciless waters of that there raging river thither,” the man said, putting his arm around Cowell, all friendly-like. “From the ultimate sin, m’boy,” he continued, giving the full-on, fatherly gaze. “From KILLING thyself.”
“Killing…?” Cowell backed away, stunned. “You think I was trying to top myself? You blundering old bastard! I was knocked half fucking sideways by this sodding weather, that’s all! Damn near went arse over tit into the Thames! Killing myself, indeed! Why the hell would I want to do that?”
“Why indeed, lad, why indeed?” the angel asked, going all glassy-eyed. “Why would any of us want to throw away the precious gift of life when there’s so…”
“No!” thundered Cowell. “I mean, why the fuck would I want to top myself when my life’s so bloody great?”
“I’m rich, I’m successful, I’m handsome…”
“Well I wouldn’t go that-”
“…I’ve got loads of fancy cars, loads of big houses, a string of successful syndicated shows broadcast worldwide around the clock, fame and adoration beyond the dreams of most mortal men… Why? Why the hell would I want to throw all that away?”
The angel pulled out a pocket book and began rapidly thumbing through it.
“You don’t… Erm… have anything to do with painting and decorating, do you?”
“Painting and decorating? Do I look like the kind of person who paints walls for a living?”
“Right, yes, thought not. So… ahem… this place… it’s… it’s not Tower Bridge, by any chance?”
“Not as far as I’m aware, no.”
“Hmmm…” More rapid-fire thumbing. “Is thy name Barry Handley?”
“Barry Handley? No, it’s Simon Cowell!”
“Shit, I’ve got the wrong bridge…”
“Yes. So…” the angel began to back away, looking sheepish. “Sorry to have troubled you. I’ll just… I’ll… Yes …”
The old man turned and began to walk back into the gloom. After three paces, he stopped and wheeled round.
“Did you say thy name was Simon Cowell?”
“Yes,” replied Cowell, expecting the usual autograph request.
“The Simon Cowell?”
“Yes,” Cowell sighed, hunting in his pockets for a pen.
“The Simon Cowell that brought the world Robson and Jerome?”
“Apparently so, yes.”
“The Simon Cowell that gave us the Power Rangers novelty single? The Simon Cowell that gave us the Teletubbies single? The Simon bloody Cowell who’s infested the pop charts with a string of nondescript pap every December 25th, thus robbing us of new Christmas singles to rival the festive fun of your Slades, your Wizzards, your Muds, your Cliff Richards and your David Essexes?”
“The Simon Cowell who’s ripped the very heart and soul out of the music industry in the pursuit of money?”
The angel made his way back across the bridge. “Y’know, Simon,” he said. “I was sent down here today to save the life of a man whose premature death would bring untold misery to countless hundreds of ordinary folk. Indeed, Simon, my saving his life would have earned me my wings.”
A bell tolled in the distance.
“Ha!” the angel looked round at the sound. “They say that when a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. Have you heard that?”
“Get on with it,” Cowell said, impatiently.
“I’ve waited centuries to get my wings,” the angel continued, “but fuck it.”
And with that, he turfed Cowell into the river.
“Who needs wings,” the angel said, staring down into the turbulent water, “when you’ve got EasyJet?”
Tags: Simon Cowell