It's been a hectic month at the Sunderland Empire so it was a great help to have someone on a work experience placement when panto season really began to hot up. Here is Lauren Dickinson's account of her week working at the Sunderland Empire...
The 15th- 19th December has been the busiest week! I decided in May that I would like to do some work experience at the Sunderland Empire and believe me so much work goes on behind the scenes! I had something different to do everyday of the week and it is extremely hard work to keep up with everything these guys do!
From reviews of the panto to helping out with the crowds as a Front of House member of staff the week has been full of interesting lessons.
On my first day here I was asked to help out by choosing and moving costumes that will be used for next year's children's theatre programme. A lot of costumes had heaped up and it was very tiring work!
On Tuesday I managed to see the panto and it is fantastic! I then had to write a review of the whole performance for marketing but there weren't any words to describe how much I loved it! It is really funny and the cast are amazing! There really is something for everyone in this panto.
Wednesday was Front of House day when I managed to catch some more of the show and began to sing along quite happily- it is very catchy! Front of House is very active and there is a lot of standing up and moving around!
Box Office was mind boggling to put it bluntly! Trying to put together rotas for all of the staff begins to drive you mad! Working in groups is quite similar to box office but here I have been putting together seats to tell Front of House where groups are sitting so that seating arrangements can be done easily.
It has been a busy week here and finding your way round is like a maze but I've enjoyed the week here and would like to thank everyone for their help. I also want to say to everyone come and see Aladdin because its fab!!!!
This is so obviously the greatest Christmas song ever: not even hearing it countless times every December can dilute its worth.
In four minutes of sheer poetry that is also a fantastic bit of storytelling, Fairytale of New York moves from a drunk's Christmas Eve reverie about holidays past to the excitement of new lovers in New York, their bitter fall-out and finally the plaintive cry of the final verse: (MacGowan: "I could have been someone"; MacColl: "Well so could anyone/You took my dreams from me/When I first found you"; MacGowan: "I kept them with me babe/I put them with my own/Can't make it all alone/I've built my dreams around you.")
If you remain unaffected by that, I'd say you have a heart of stone
It doesn't sound that great an idea, but an EP of Christmas songs by a bunch of Mormons best known for playing very quietly contains what is very nearly my favourite Christmas song.
Just Like Christmas by Low has great sleighbells and a lovely tune that somehow captures all that is great about this time of year. It's simultaneously happy and sad and I absolutely love it.
I Was Born on Christmas Day isn't Saint Etienne's finest moment, but it's a damn fine tune nonetheless.
A duet with the Charlatans' Tim Burgess, the single didn't exactly set the charts alight when it was released in 1993, but it is a top tune and there's a real sense of melancholy in the lyrics ("Did you know they pulled the town hall down?/I don't think you'd recognise this town.")
As suggested by a couple of people in the office, Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses now means that I've got a Top Ten of festive songs (with the best three still to come!)
Originally released in 1981 as part of a Christmas holiday compilation by trendy American record label ZE Records, it has since been included on a number of Xmas compilations and was covered in 1998 by the Spice Girls, paying for songwriter Chris Butler's children's college education.
Waitresses' singer Patty Donahue sadly died in in 1996, so cherish this tune...
This one is so obscure that I can't find a version of it online!
Written by Euros Childs of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Christmas Eve was released on an album called It's a Cool, Cool Christmas that was put out by the London radio station XFM.
As such, I suppose, your chances of hearing it are fairly slim but if you get the chance, take it with both hands because it is a thing of some loveliness. The only thing wrong with this song is that it's too short...
Originally a B-side, the Pretenders' 2000 Miles is a nice little Christmas song.
The video, in which Chrissie Hynde plays a Salvation Army worshipper and messes around with a polar bear, is decidedly odd, mind...
Given away to members of the Pet Shop Boys Club as a Christmas gift in 1997, it combines a typically wry PSB lyric (Christmas is not all it's cracked up to be/Families fighting around a plastic tree/Nothing on the TV that you want to see) with a typically upbeat PSB tune.
It was performed on the last ever episode of TFI Friday and is well worth hunting out.
Like yesterday's entry, Last Christmas only just passes the "would you listen to it at any other time of the year?" test.
Wham's version of Last Christmas is OK, but hampered by the production values of the decade that music forgot. To really appreciate the tune, I would recommend a version that Manic Street Preachers' singer James Dean Bradfield did on TFI Friday a few years ago.
Band Aid only just meets my criterion of being a song you'd listen to other than at Christmas and so sneaks into my Festive Top 10.
(Here's a clue, it's not the one with Bros on it...)