Robert in Lockdown – 24.12.20

The things you have to do when you release a Christmas video!

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It is always the case, isn’t it? You think you’re all ready for Christmas; but you ultimately end up in a mad rush to finish something off before the festivities begin.

Sometimes it’s shopping; sometimes it’s work. Usually it’s my Oban Times article!

This year, for Tide Lines, it was an EP. Our Lockdown Mixtape, to give it its Sunday name. Some weeks ago, we began re-recording a few pop covers we had filmed for social media away back in the spring. The idea was to package them as a stream-only, free, festive release: essentially a ‘thank you’ to everyone who has followed us virtually in 2020 and supported us throughout a challenging year.

It all seemed fairly straight forward. We’re fortunate that all four of us have the ability to record in our flats in Glasgow, so we can remotely produce tracks fairly quickly. Before too long, we had pulled together new lockdown versions of Deacon Blue’s Dignity, Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi, and (surely the song of 2020) that massive TikTok dance anthem, Blinding Lights. If you haven’t heard of this song, ask your kids or your grandkids!

It was all a bit of a laugh and not something we were taking too seriously. At some point during the process, we decided we should attempt a Christmas song to add to the collection. We chatted through some covers over a Zoom meeting but nothing jumped out at us. Around this time, a melody and some lyrics started coming into my head for an original. I put pen to paper and came up with a new song called This Christmas Time. The only problem was – we had just over two full days to record it, mix it, and master it before the looming deadline for submitting to Spotify.

With a Christmas rush surpassed only in Lapland, we put the track together, sent it off, and thankfully, managed to release it (with a hastily filmed video) last Friday. I had originally intended a good old-fashioned, happy clappy, let’s kiss below the mistletoe, Christmas song. Sticking to the plan, however, has never been a particular strong point of mine. What transpired was a bit slower paced and more reflective.

December (for me and I imagine for most Highlanders or islanders) is always an emotional month as we spend most of it dreaming of getting home to family and friends. This seems particularly true this year when travelling home or being with loved ones will not be possible for a lot of people. That is the basis of This Christmas Time.

Perhaps somebody somewhere will listen on Christmas Day and it will help remind them that, while they may not be around all the people they love, they are certainly not alone.

Perhaps not. Either way – it was a good adrenaline rush trying to finish it in time for Christmas! Wherever you are, and whoever you’re spending time with, take care of yourselves and have a lovely Christmas.

To listen to This Christmas Time, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zxgs4e8DrBM