• Carmen Marie Fabio

Christmas music


Besides serving the purpose its namesake implies, the ‘Christmas Wish List’ that gets hung up in my home early each December is also a remarkable indicator of how quickly time passes, as reflected by what my kids have written upon it.

What started out, seemingly yesterday, with carefully printed crayon letters indicating visions of Lego, cartoon DVDs, and myriad other stalwarts of childhood, has evolved, at least in the case of my 16-year-old, to a list of CDs bearing band names including Mayhem, Extreme Noise Terror, Cannibal Corpse, and Culte des Ghoules.

“I think they’re from France.” he said of the latter. “They’re really good.”

Armed with a list of his musical preferences, I found myself in the downtown Montreal HMV music store outlet wandering around the ‘Metal’ section, too embarrassed to ask for help after realizing that a) I couldn’t locate any of the band names he was looking for and b) I didn’t have my reading glasses with me. Middle-age and metal don’t really mix.

Throwing that moment of Christmas morning surprise and wonderment out the window, I phoned home seeking guidance. “I can’t find the bands you want,” I told him. “How about Through the Eyes of the Dead?”

“Never heard of them.”

“Five Finger Death Punch?”

“Nah, they’re too hard rock,” he answered, describing the subtle and nuanced differences between the many sub-genres of rock and metal. “I personally prefer more distortion.”

“Ooh, how about Cattle Decapitation?” I asked, impressed by the amount of creativity exercised by these angry young people in arriving at band names.

“Do they have their album ‘Monolith of Inhumanity’?” he asked, his interest mildly piqued.

Alas, without my glasses, the impossibly-tiny lettering made it difficult to differentiate one title from the other, leaving me to resort to describing the colourful cover artwork in order to find the coveted title. In deference to my publisher and in light of the season, I’ll refrain from actually writing about it.

With my hard-earned booty finally in hand, I made my way to the cash, satisfied in knowing I could still bring a degree of happiness to the little red-headed toddler who’d somehow morphed overnight into a hulking metal aficionado with a skull-headed wardrobe but who still gives his mom hugs.

I presented my purchases at the cash to the young man with the gouged ear lobes and neck and knuckle tattoos who asked if I would like a gift receipt.

“No,” I told him with a straight face. “They’re for me.”

He completed the transaction with what I like to think was an air of respect and a nod of approval at my musical choices before imparting a wish for a happy holiday season.

“Try to act surprised on Christmas morning,” I said when I arrived home to my taller-than-I son who just yesterday was crawling into my lap for story time.

“Love you Mom,” he answered.