A ghost of Christmas past : Things Fall Apart by Cristina Monet

I’m really not sure what made me think of this, but I thought of it as I was trying to find an appropriate Christmas song to post on here, mainly, admittedly, because I’m too busy to write anything worth reading.  It’s a Christmas song from 1981, and makes me wonder at quite how much I’ve changed since I was, I suppose, 20 going on on 21 and spent a lot of that Christmas holiday listening to it.  What on earth must my poor parents have thought?

It’s by Cristina Monet, whose music had helped to soundtrack a fair bit of my student life. For those who don’t remember her, she was married to the Mothercare heir Michael Zilkha who had founded the ZE record label.  She had recorded an album (for, oddly enough, the ZE label) which was produced and largely written by Augustus Darnell and a version of Lieber and Stoller’s “Is that all there is?” that was such a radical reinterpretation that its authors demanded it be withdrawn.  This was her Christmas single for 1981, and was also included on “A Ze Christmas Album”, alongside such delights as “Christmas With Satan” by James White and the Blacks (or possibly James Chance and the Contortions – I can’t remember what they were calling themselves by that stage).  This LP also contained “Christmas Rapping” by the Waitresses, and I think it’s quite encouraging that this charming and optimistic little song is the one that I hear over the Tannoy when I go into the Harborough branch of the Kristmas Kard Kabin (or whatever it’s called), rather than some of the more jaded and nihilistic offerings from that same LP.

I would once have asked what had happened to Cristina Monet, but thanks to the wonders of Google, I can easily find out.  She retired from singing in 1984 and became a housewife in Texas.  She was divorced from Michael Zilkha in 1990 and is now writing articles for various journals (including the TLS) under her full name of Cristina Monet-Palaci and living with a debilitating (ME-style) illness.  Many of the online commentators make the point that it might have been better if Cristina, rather than Madonna – who must have been moving in similar circles at the time – had become the Intergalactic Megastar, and I don’t think I’d argue with that line of reasoning.  

Anyway, here it is – “Things Fall Apart”.  The visuals are rudimentary, I’m afraid.


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