Dear Friends


I sign off for Christmas this year in giving Jason our hymns for our next service, that is our Hello 2023 Service on 8th January 2023 with soprano Clara Orif, and in writing this. I’l write again Bewixtmas, before the New Year. I hope you enjoy the links below meantime.

I’ll miss our not coming together for a few weeks, but my having covered all but a few of the services last year and there only being a few of us around over Christmas and New Year, a little break will do us all good. I’m sure our Warden Stephen travels the farthest; he’s off to Canada. Amanda and Julian are probably the next farthest travellers, off to Scotland. Our having caught-up with folks in Yorkshire last week, Andrew and I shall be in Great Wakering, Essex with Andrew’s family. Most of you will, I understand, be busy in London and Sussex. Wherever we are, our thoughts will, of course, be with the those injured and killed at the Brixton O2 Academy crush and their families. What a very sad Christmas for Brixton this is.

I’d like to think we’ve done our best at Chapel to prepare ourselves and others for Christmas. The Advent service and meal at Prix Fixe, Soho, and the carols service with soprano Lucy Peek (solo on the Coventry Carol, Gaudete and Jesus Christ the Apple Tree) were memorable; and again, who would have thought at the beginning of the year we’d be strong enough by Christmas to sing a carol in male and female parts?! Special thanks go to Jason and Ricky on the music front, to Andrew for our enchanting Christmas decorations and delicious hotdogs at the carols service, and to Jodi for supplying plentiful mulled cider for the after carols service party. Thanks also to our district minister, Rev Jim Corrigall, for joining us, who has written to say how much he enjoyed himself and to wish us all a happy Christmas and New Year.


I know many of you will have been shocked and saddened to hear that Terry Hall of The Specials and Funboy Three has died aged only 63. Here’s The Specials haunting ‘Ghost Town’ from 1981, which takes us powerfully back to the hard years of Thatcherism and the first Brixton riot. Not very uplifting for Christmas, you might think, but there’s a serious side to Christmas too as we heard in Lullay Lullay at the carols service (which remembers Herod’s killing of the first-born) and Terry’s death calls us to remember the powerful voice he gave to difficult times for Brixton and elsewhere.

Now for a rather polished and sentimental take on ‘Angels from the Realms of Glory’ (especially the video) for all our tastes I suspect, but when a job’s well done …, and it’s a fitting tribute to our living angels now passed who are so vivid in our memories during this season.

Funking things up again, here’s Erasure’s fabulous rendition of ‘Gaudete.’

And thinking of our great city …

The vestry shelves are full of books on London. It’s testament to our love for, and fascination with, the Metropolis. I’ve recently filled-in a gap in our collection, by buying Geoffrey Fletcher’s off-beat portrayal ‘The London Nobody Knows’ (1962), focussing on ‘the tawdry, extravagant and eccentric’. The quirky clip below is taken from the 1967 film of the same name, narrated by the velvet-voiced Yorkshire actor and long-time London resident, James Mason, now re-released on DVD.


May something of the beauty, mystery, and promise of the lovely story that is Christmas, fall like silver rain upon the broken dreams, the hates and fears of all. Once again may we pause, look up, and in the far off distances hear that old, old, music; the music of hope, brotherhood, sisterhood, and blessed peace. Amen.

(A S Cole, Adapted)

5 thoughts on “A CHRISTMAS 2022 CRACKER”

  1. Thank you Julian and Merry Christmas to you & Andrew. Sorry again I could not be at the Carol Service which I am sure was excellent. Thanks also to Jason for music and the concerts he organised.

  2. I’ve often thought of getting the book ‘The London Nobody Knows’ but I have the film with James Mason on DVD and watched it again recently on TPTV. It is a strange and fascinating film featuring a London that in many cases has disappeared I would guess.

    But have a good Christmas and best wishes to everyone at Brixton for the new year.

    • Good to hear from you David. I’m glad you’re familiar with the quirky film. Thank you for the seasonal greetings from Ulster.

      There’s something else on the vestry shelves which would interest you, that is two or three volumes of London walks from the 19th Century, many if not most lost to the Luftwaffe and 20th Century redevelopment . It’s excellent, being bought for me by my bookworm friend Jennie Long, and being highly approved by our Eng Lit expert and blue badge guide Eddie.

      Here’s hoping you and yours had a good Christmas, and you’ll all have a fantastic New Year.


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