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Jake: What was the most unique Christmas gift you’ve ever received, and from whom?
Paul: I think it’s a silly one! When I was a kid, my Uncle Joe built me a fort. It was like a little den, where I could play with my tin soldiers. And I really loved it. It was like a major, major gift. It was made of wood; he was a plumber, so he was a kind of tradesman. And yeah, he just made this little fort with a little castle. I think it was most unique because in your childhood, you know, things just seem more amazing. And so one Christmas morning, this arrived. So it was my little fort.
PM.com: Was that inside or outside the house?
PM.com: Like a doll’s house?
Paul: It was like a boy’s dollhouse. Exactly. That’s what it was!
Katrina from Russia asks: What do you put on top of the Christmas tree? A star? An angel? Or something else?
Paul: An angel. We have a few things that we’ve had for a long time, so there is an angel that always goes on the top. And then we have a few special things, as I say, that have come through the years. It’s like, “Oh! I remember that one!” There’s a little thing Mary made when she was at school, which still comes out every year. And then we buy some new ones to sort of fill it in. Nancy and I bought some lovely ones in New York that are now regular fixtures. But in answer to your question – an angel!
Christiana from Milton Keynes asks: Do you sing with the family around the piano during holiday gatherings? And if so, which songs?
Paul: I don’t really, that was more my Dad’s thing. I made a record when the kids were little, because I realised it was very hard to buy a record that just had the Christmas songs. You would either get Nat King Cole sings Christmas or Phil Spector’s Christmas record – which I’ve got and we use – but I just wanted straight forward Christmas songs [sings ‘Jingle Bells’ to us]. So I went into my studio and made loads of tracks. I have a little CD actually, called ‘Christmas Songs,’ and it’s just all stuff I’ve made up. I multi-tracked them all in the studio and they’re kind of nice! So rather than sitting around a piano, normally we would play that CD while everyone’s cooking. It’s a nice little CD actually, it’s got a sort of sentimental value because all the kids have grown up with it.
PM.com: That must hold amazing memories for the kids?
Paul: Yeah, I think so. You know, it’s like, “Oh! Here’s that one again!” But I think they like it. I like it, it’s nice. It means the Christmas season is here! In New York there’s a Christmas radio station that we put on. But no, our equivalent of around a piano would be this little Christmas record I made, which has slightly more than a dozen or so Christmas favourites.
PM.com: Did you record that in the 70s?
Paul: Yes I did, and I just add one or two a year.
PM.com: You know next year, you’ll have to answer, “What are the tracks on this CD? When are you going to release it?”
Paul: I have often thought… It’s a fun thing. Anyway, we’ll get into that. Cut! You’re opening Pandora’s box!