By Aggeliki Tzola (A class)


In the early 1980s, a glib advertising campaign began to appear before every Christmas. It featured a beautifully wrapped album and the slogan “Give the Gift of Music”.


The implication was that buying your friends or relations a record was the obvious answer to the annual present-choosing dilemma. But as anybody who has spent the weeks up to Christmas desperately trying to fathom the musical preferences of a cousin or sister-in-law can tell you, that is simply not true. Buy someone the right album, and you could enrich their life. Buy someone the wrong album and it is hard not to notice the look of disappointment as they lift the wrapping paper.


There are two rules about buying albums as a Christmas present. First, steer clear of the novelty purchase and second, avoid anything too difficult. Such albums will get played twice, laughed at once then never touched again. Christmas is about easy-access entertainment, not challenging art. Other than that is a minefield. The truth is that people’s tastes are personal and frequently difficult to guess.