My family and I spoke to my mother on the other side of the world over Christmas. Amongst the typical Christmas chit chat, I asked her who her favourite carol singer was and she said that David Hobson was the best singer she had heard at Christmas carols.
I spent much of my youth watching carols at XMAS since that’s what happens in Australia. There wasn’t virtual golf back then. My mother is a very decent singer in her own right and my grandmother was an exceptional classical pianist. I take my mother’s opinion about music quite seriously. So naturally, I was wonderfully taken back to hear her opinion and I mentioned that David Hobson’s rendition of ‘Holy Night’ was the greatest performance I had heard at a Christmas carols. Moreover, I don’t feel the need to agree with people and thankfully they often disagree with me, but somehow – this time, this night, ‘our intuitive agreement’ on such a thing made my Christmas feel more ‘whole’.
My son then proceeded to listen to my mother’s earlier phone message on our answering machine at least 15 times as though he had a compulsion to hear her be right near him. Given my son speaks another language, it was a a beautiful thing to witness – my son’s obsession to know his grandmother who he has never met.
Routine christmas gifts and frivilous seasons greetings don’t compare to such small things.
So once again David Hobson’s masterful version and further below Patti Smith’s unique version of Holy Night at the Vatican which caused the Pope to ask her back again. I saw Patti open for Bob Dylan in Sydney in 1998 and she was in a word, ‘impressive’: