As I limber up on the asymetric bars for the equally unbalanced, yet obligatory, End Of Year Piece, I thought that I'd give you my little gift of festive music now.
I don't know whether this song was intended to be relevant to the season, mind; all I know it that I have always associated it with this time of year.
This is why.
It is 1981. The time: about five to December. I am nineteen years old, and coming to the end of my first term at Uni, wondering whether it had been that good an idea, given that I had become thoroughly bored with the education system as a whole long before that point.
I am sitting in my ground-floor room in Pantycelyn listening to Radio Nova beaming across the waves from Dublin (see my piece at Transdiffusion - about half-way down - for a bit more on this). I hear a song which grabs me from the off.
I could tell who the vocalist was straight away. My sixth-form years (extended from two years to three by the ennui to which I referred above) had given me sufficient exposure to the music of Yes for me instantly to recognise the voice of Jon Anderson. And it didn't take me long to suss out who was providing the music: it could only be his occasional partner Vangelis, with whom he had already had one big hit with I Hear You Now a couple of years before.
In contrast to the tracks I had previously associated both performers with (I have often, for example, had a cheap and unworthy snigger at Yes' great track The Gates Of Delirium, where about three minutes of complex and portentous music is followed by Anderson - having not yet entirely shucked off his Lancashire accent - coming in with the lines, "Stand an' faght wee du considerrr", like a prog George Formby), there was very little in the way of bombast in this song.
It had an atmosphere which completely matched my mood at the time, as did some of the lyrics. The title itself meshed with a form of mild homesickness which hadn't dissipated after some eight weeks away, and the lines at the start of the third verse, "Your friend is close by your side/And speaks in far ancient tongue" reminded me of my old chum Alex, who was going through a similar, indeed more severe, crisis in Manchester Uni at that time.
Ever since, I have associated this song with the approaching Solstice, and perhaps now you will too. May your own "Season's wish" come true and, even it it doesn't, I hope that at least you too will find your way home...