Malcolm Goldie creates a humorous short story and film for a Creative Boom festive treat

On a quiet street in South West London, there is a shop named Crescent Express. It is much like any other mini supermarket except for one thing - Crescent Express has an in-house DJ who plays music over the shop speakers seven days a week, 364 days a year. The DJ's name is Tone. DJ Tone.

DJ Tone lives above the shop, but when he is working, he operates from a small, untidy table in the corner of the store. From late November he plays only Christmas music – Wham, Slade, you know the songs, we all know the songs. In between tracks, he talks and encourages shoppers to take advantage of various festive offers.

"Right now you can buy THREE tubs of whipped cream for the price of TWO!" announces Tone enticingly, knowing full well that no one can use that much-whipped cream before it goes off (well, no one apart from pensioners Simon and Sandra who buy six tubs a week and were once caught snogging in the drinks aisle).

"You're listening to DJ Tone on Radio Crescent, where the festive fun is going up, and the price of sprouts going down."

For the residents, DJ Tone was the sound of Christmas. But for Tone, Christmas wasn't supposed to sound like this.

Thirty years ago when Tony was 14, he dreamed of being a superstar DJ in the exciting rave scene he had watched on the news. Tony asked for an 'Acid House' record for Christmas, and his sister Katie pleaded for a pet puppy. Thankfully Santa provided, and Christmas Day became a soundtrack of untrammelled sonic mayhem.

Tony played his new record at near speaker destroying volume, imagining himself as 'DJ Tone' at an all-night rave.

Katie laughed in red-faced hysteria at her new puppy 'Ballsy' who barked joyously until he passed out in a dehydrated heap and had to be revived with a frozen sprout.

Their Scottish dad played the piano as he did every Christmas Day – like he was having a drunken fight with it. He didn't understand 'Acid House' music, so he settled for punching random notes into dazed submission.

Tony's mother had consumed nearly a whole pint of sherry and was shouting filthy jokes at the James Bond film on the telly "Oi 007! You can Roger my Moore anytime you sexy beast!"

That was the sound of Christmas. Christmas 1989.

Thirty years later, DJ Tone was at his dinner table enjoying his one day off a year. Katie was there too with her dog Ballsy, who was by now probably the oldest pooch in Britain.

"I'm stuffed Tony," said Katie with a grimace. "Shall we sit in the front room and put a Christmas record on?"

"No, thanks," replied Tony quietly "I've had quite enough of that sort of thing."

"But you're DJ Tone! Come on, take us on a musical journey!" Katie giggled and gave him a gentle prod on the shoulder.

"I'm not a real DJ" Tony sighed "It didn't really work out, did it? Remember that Christmas when you got Ballsy? And I was DJ Tone Superstar DJ?! Yeah right... playing records to punters in a corner shop, what sort of DJ is that Katie? Simon and Sandra are my audience, 'the cream perverts', my fans."

"Oh, Tone, come on, who wants to be famous? And they gave you that nice box of chocolate fingers, what other DJ gets a present from their fans at Christmas?"

"That's got to be some sort of swingers' code," said Tone.

"And what about Ballsy?" continued Katie, ignoring the suggestion, "he's just happy to be alive for another day, and you should be too."

Under the table Ballsy stirred, let out an extended asthmatic wheeze followed by an audible staccato puff from below his tail.

Tony paused, he lent down, patted Ballsy on the head and smiled. A farting dog might not be music, but it was the sound of Christmas 2019, and that was ok by him.


This short story and soundtrack was brought to you by sound artist and composer Malcolm Goldie with moving image by Paul Plowman.