And Finally Artist News

Shelter to benefit as Jarvis Cocker emerges a late contender for sweary Christmas number one

By | Published on Wednesday 18 December 2019

Jarvis Cocker

Rough Trade Records has confirmed that proceeds from any sales of Jarvis Cocker’s ‘Running The World’ record this week will be donated to Shelter.

That announcement comes as a result of Cocker’s 2006 track – with its festive chorus of “cunts are still running the world” – emerging as a late-in-the-day contender for Christmas number one. A turn of events mainly caused by a social media campaign that has started to gain momentum this week.

The track first enjoyed a new flurry of plays on the streaming services in the wake of last week’s UK General Election, in which the Conservative Party inexplicably* won a sizable majority of seats in the House Of Commons. The campaign to get it to number one for Christmas time was then boosted in the traditional way – via a Facebook group.

The man behind that Facebook group, Michael Hall, tells Clash: “We started talking about the perfect song to soundtrack this coming Christmas – this came up, humorously of course, and we decided we’d start a Facebook group to see if anyone else was interested in doing something to show solidarity on the left after such a disastrous election result. The one thing all reasonable human beings can agree on is the sentiment of this song”.

Obviously there is a political statement to be made by attempting to get this track to number one, similar to that campaign to boost sales of ‘Ding! Dong! The Witch Is Dead’ in the week after Margaret Thatcher died. But the announcement that Cocker will hand all the proceeds from this week’s sales to Shelter has also given the venture a charitable dimension too.

However, there is another reason to back this particular Christmas number one campaign. Regular listeners to our Setlist podcast will be aware of the puerile joy it brings me to press play on a Christmas Number Ones playlist each Christmas Day and then wait for ‘Killing In The Name’ to come on. The year it tore through my family’s post-lunch nap is one of the top three highlights of all the many festive seasons I have now lived through.

Rage Against The Machine topped the Christmas charts back in 2009, of course, because of another social media campaign, back when such things were still novel. That time the campaign was more about music industry politics, trying to stop ‘X Factor’ from always grabbing the number one spot in the UK’s Christmas charts.

Now, I realise that this time round ‘Running The World’ is a real outsider, fighting against some very stronger sellers. And while the Official Charts Company has insisted it’s now “a contender” for Christmas number one in a news story, it hasn’t actually released any sales figures. But please let me have this. Please let this become a Christmas song. It’s got a sort of festive lilt to it already. Stick some sleigh bells on there and you’d never know the difference. Except for all the swearing.

So, if everyone reading this now goes and buys the track on iTunes – or wherever – well, that still won’t be nearly enough. But it’ll be something. It’ll be another step towards having Christmas Day made slightly more awkward forever more. Nothing would make me happier.

Sure, maybe you find it offensive for a variety of reasons. But I’ve seen social media, I know how much you like being offended. So this will improve your Christmas too. Buy it. Stream it. Then buy it and stream it again.

Get started with the lyric video here:

*Don’t write in, I know you can explain it