New research on negative moods suggests that people who are angry or in a bad mood are more logical, persuasive, and evidence-oriented than happy people. This doesn’t square with my personal experience, but it’s an interesting claim.

So here’s a rather ambivalent Christmas song by Tracey Thorn, author of Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star


When someone very dear
Calls you with the words everything’s all clear
That’s what you want to hear
But you know it might be different in the New Year

That’s why, that’s why we hang the lights so high
Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy,
You loved it as a kid, and now you need it more than you ever did
It’s because of the dark; we see the beauty in the spark
That’s why, that’s why the carols make you cry
Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy

Tinsel on the tree, yes I see
The holly on the door, like before
The candles in the gloom, light the room
the Sally Army band, yes I understand

So light the winds of fire,
and watch as the flames grow higher
well gather up our fears
And face down all the coming years
All that they destroy
And in their face we throw our
Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy

Tracey Thorn doesn’t seem like a happy girl, but I haven’t read her memoir. Carols make you cry and we’re throwing our joy in people’s faces, so this is not your straightforward joyful song, but it’s rather pretty.