The Ghosts Of Oxford Street

Title: The Ghosts Of Oxford Street
Format: LP
Label: RCA
Year: 1991

Side A - Charles Brown - Merry Christmas Baby / Malcolm McLaren Featuring Alison Limerick - Theme From 'The Ghosts Of Oxford Street' / Malcolm McLaren Introducing John Pickard - Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two / Tom Jones - Money / Tom Jones - Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out / Rebel MC Featuring Little T And D.J. Ron - Rich Ah Getting Richer

Side B - The Happy Mondays - Staying Alive / Sinéad O'Connor - Silent Night / Pogues Featuring Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale Of New York / The Academy Of St Martin In The Fields - Dance Of The Hours

Silent Night

Oxford Street will be consumerist chaos right now as the desperate and clueless spill out of tube stations to do a last minute dash round the shops.

It wasn't always that way though as Malcolm McLaren's TV documentary The Ghosts Of Oxford Street points out. First shown on Channel 4, Christmas 1991, it charts the street's history from country road to elongated shopping mall like a mash up of Time Team and The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle. Thanks to 4oD you can still view it here.

It's a festive insight into the darker things that fired up the fantasies of a young McLaren with tales of pickpockets and courtesans intertwined with a loose but pretty cool soundtrack. My favourite bit is when he recounts a late Sixties prank that saw him enter Selfridges disguised as Santa and dish out their stock to some very grateful kids.

Sinéad O'Connor makes a brief cameo as the young prostitute who obsesses a laudanum crazed Thomas De Quincey with this spectral version of Silent Night. The track was produced by Peter Gabriel (who additionally provides the barely there synths) and also slipped out as a shortened single although it's never made any of her compilations.

I'm not sure he really believed it nor do I agree but as McLaren says provocatively in the opening "Christmas was meant to be great but it's horrible..."