Chimneyside Chats with Zadkiel

by - December 20, 2021

Graphic created by Lucas Seidel Design

Gather 'round the open fire for Chimneyside Chats - a monthly feature with holiday stories from our favorite artists. See what's in their stockings this year as they reminisce on Christmas memories, share their favorite recipe and more! Here's what Zadkiel lead vocalist Dan Heathcote had to say: 

My favourite Christmas film is probably Scrooged starring Bill Murray. It was made in 1988, and I remember growing up with it on television during that time. It's kind of an MTV hell thing that ends up being heaven on Earth.

Scrooged is an adaptation from the original A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and is set in corporate America during the Reagan era of Wall Street-esque’s 'Greed is Good'. Except that capitalist greed isn't good for us all (or the planet), even if it seems that presents are the only meaning of Christmas to most kids and some adults nowadays. Santa's sleigh is weighted down with an overabundance of trash and high-end products. I like Christmas and the spirit of peace to all on Earth is something we should aspire to all the time, not just towards the end of each year. Anyway, enough evangelising; I'm not religious but I'm not a rich capitalist either, nor would I want to be!

Bill Murray is brilliant in Scrooged. He’s totally misanthropic to begin with as a cruel TV exec; a soppy, happy hippy, glad-to-be-alive and a little drunk on Christmas Eve after several near death experiences. These are his encounters with the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, a la Charles Dickens classic supernatural tale of sin and redemption, each of whom shows him the error of his ways. The fairy of Christmas Present greets him by kicking him in the balls!

He treats his kind brother and his secretary like shit, sending towels as gifts, undermining his employees' hard work by saying their promo productions suck, and generally barks ‘bah humbug’ in that over-the-top Bill Murray way that he has. He is that much of an arsehole in this film that he tries to talk his ex-girlfriend he jilted out of working in a homeless shelter on Christmas Eve. 'Save yourself!’

In the end he finds a way back from this kind of tyranny against those who are financially struggling more than himself. After having been scared half to death by the ghost of Christmas Future, who resembles a cross between Skeletor and Darth Vader, he is shown his own funeral and realises he must change before it is too late. He missed the point about life, Christmas and getting to the top. It's about being kinder and more inclusive and not about yourself but giving of the self. Not expensive gifts, nor cheap towels, but love. He falls in love again with his ex-girlfriend, having been shown the best bits and the most cringeworthy moments of their relationship, and how he treated her (played warmly and coldly by Karen Allen of Raiders of the Lost Ark/Superman). SPOILER ALERT: They get back together and he finally gets the Christmas spirit.

Richard Donner, the director of Scrooged (who made Superman and The Goonies), died this year. He made a very prescient film (that I think will last the ages) about how we need to value each other rather than what we get from each other, or how we get one over each other. With the spectre of climate change and increased homelessness in the 2020s it speaks more directly and louder than ever. He did it in a fun way too, which of course is also what Christmas should be. We also, however, have to take a step back and think about how we can help those less fortunate than ourselves, particularly at this time of year when some people have nothing and no one. Maybe donate to the food bank or buy a homeless person a coffee if you can afford it?

Learn more about Zadkiel and listen to the song Dan chose for our Chimneyside Chats playlist!
"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" by John Lennon

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