The impromptu talking tour that has grown, to my surprise, out of my Slate piece from last week asking why it’s been a generation since we admitted any new songs to the Christmas pop canon, marches on. I was on HuffPost Live earlier today for about 20 minutes, part of a webcam panel hosted by Nancy Redd that included Huffington Post social media fellow Ryan Kristobak and — this was exciting — Walter Afanasieff, the man who co-wrote “All I Want for Christmas Is You” with Mariah Carey.
The video doesn’t seem to be embeddable, but you can watch the segment here. You’ll see my head bobbing around distractingly — useful in boxing, less so in on-camera interviews. You’ll also get a nice look at my girlfriend’s mom’s spoon collection in the background.
Webcam conferences are always a little dicey. You’re contending with wildly variable video and audio quality, unpredictable transmission delays that create awkward pauses in the conversation and make it difficult to tell when the other party or parties have finished speaking, and frequently, unsynchronized sound and image. Allowing for all that, I think this went reasonably well.
Walter had just finished a point about the incongruity of sunny Los Angeles Christmases when Nancy called the segment to a close. Bad timing! I’d read only yesterday in Jody Rosen‘s terrific book White Christmas about how Irving Berlin‘s eponymous Christmas song, the most popular of all time, has originally opened with a verse about that very thing — Christmas in Beverly Hills — that Berlin ordered removed from the sheet music after Bing Crosby‘s chorus-only version in the 1942 film Holiday Inn proved to be definitive. Walter teed up the perfect opportunity for me to share this fascinating story, but the bit ended before I could.
I’ve got another handful of radio and podcast appearances coming up between now and Christmas Eve. I’m grateful for all the practice I’m getting forming sentences in real time. I’ll try not to repeat myself too much.