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Christmas with The View

A Christmas tree flashes in the corner, Santa hats lie across the floor, and The View are reminiscing about their days as carol singers.

The View take a break before playing in Edinburgh at Hogmanay to enjoy a festive lunch and reminisce about Christmases past, above. The band, whose album Cheeky For A Reason was voted Album of the Year at the Tartan Clef Awards, get into the party spirit, right, but aren't likely to be recording a Christmas single any time soon
The View take a break before playing in Edinburgh at Hogmanay to enjoy a festive lunch and reminisce about Christmases past, above. The band, whose album Cheeky For A Reason was voted Album of the Year at the Tartan Clef Awards, get into the party spirit, right, but aren't likely to be recording a Christmas single any time soon

This is not, to be clear, a direction the Dundonians intend to explore on their fifth album, but merely a trip down memory lane. Somewhat predictably, there is a dose of anarchy involved, even when discussing such festive occasions.

"I used to sing carols in the school choir but it freaked us out once, though, because the teacher fainted," explains the band's drummer, Steven "Mo" Morrison. "It was good fun to do, and it was always good to get out of class. It was really warm at some old folks' home, and she just keeled over. We're standing there going, 'That's the teacher – now what?' Everyone there was in wheelchairs, just looking at us and not doing anything. It was like singing the Bells Of St Mary, and then ARGH!"

It would be unfair to suggest that The View bring a sense of chaos and calamity to absolutely everything they touch ... but it's not far off it. They're not quite the reckless youths of their earliest days, forever dealing with headlines regarding drink and drugs, but seconds after meeting them in a Glasgow hotel, singer Kyle Falconer is desperately searching for a pair of socks to wear. He can't find them, so, of course, eventually ends up with a couple of stockings on his feet instead...

Then there's the time Morrison decided to get into the Christmas spirit to impress his kids. "I was with the mother of my children, and I snuck outside into a close," he says. "I dressed up as Santa and banged on the door to say hi to them, but they were really scared instead. I was having to go 'it's your da', and they were going 'no, it's not' and hiding behind their mum."

Thankfully, the band's musical career has shown more signs of stability. They haven't matched the chart success of their 2007 debut, Hats Off To The Buskers, but over the following three albums they've displayed a terrific understanding of how to write catchy guitar-pop tunes (Grace, 5Rebeccas and Sunday, for instance), while mixing in other elements when required (Gem Of A Bird, Double Yellow Lines, current single Tacky Tattoo).

This year's Cheeky For A Reason (recently named Album of the Year at the Tartan Clef Awards) suggested a band already at the peak of their powers. So, given their pop success, love of the festive season and liking for always writing fresh material, surely it's only a matter of time before The View gear up for a Christmas single of their own?

"The problem with doing a Christmas song is that you need to be quite organised, and with us, that's not always happening," says bassist Kieran Webster, dryly.

"We've tried to write one before, just messing around but never coming to anything," adds Falconer, pointing to touring keyboardist Darren Rennie. "You need sleigh bells to make a good Christmas song, though, that Jingle Bells style. We'd have snow coming down in the video. That Paul McCartney video is great, where it's a Christmas party [Wonderful Christmastime], that's a nice one. You do feel it at this time of year, just a really well done Christmas tune. We've done them a few times onstage. It usually just ends up as a riot, though."

Maybe a Santa-and-sleigh-bells single wouldn't be such a big event, then, especially given how the Christmas Number One slot has lost a lot of its lustre in recent years with The X Factor dominating it.

The appeal of Christmas television has never waned, however, and with Doctor Who set to be a key part of the BBC's schedules on December 25, what if Dryburgh's finest were deployed as time-travelling guest stars in it? This is a prospect that meets with immediate approval.

"We could go back to the 1960s, and then write all the Beatles' songs before they did," suggests Pete Reilly, the guitarist.

"Yeah, you could have a Dalek knocking on John Lennon's door, and threatening to exterminate him unless they get the Beatles' songs," adds Falconer, who's a fan of the programme and claims to have been blown away by the episode where the Doctor confronted the Devil. "I have thought about time travel, though, and that if you went back and stole the Beatles' songs, it still wouldn't be the same as the Beatles' tunes. Even if we wrote them exactly the same and I tried to sound like Lennon, it still wouldn't be the same."

Rewinding into The View's own past, however, brings back a variety of memories.

There was Webster's eventual delight at getting a bike after his dad initially handed him a tool box, only to reveal it contained things he could use on the two-wheeler. Reilly's favourite gift from Christmas past had a more direct impact on his future life.

"My first electric guitar was my best Christmas present: I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you if I hadn't got that," he says. "It was a black Fender Squier guitar knock-off, a bit rubbish, but that was what I wanted. I'd been playing an acoustic guitar that my mum had for a while before Christmas, so she realised I would like an electric one."

As for Falconer, his memories involve a combination of old presents and of being terrified of ending up on the dreaded naughty list. "You get that feeling when you're younger and you believe in Santa," he explains. "I kind of still believe in him actually ... but you've got that fear, you're scared of him. It's like God – a big authority figure over you. You're going 'I'm a good boy, I'm a good boy-'

''I got a Power Rangers suit when I was really young, stuff like that. I was a spoiled brat at Christmas time. I was fine the rest of the year, then at Christmas time I'd be like 'arggh' and get loads."

By this point, the turkey has nearly arrived for today's lunch. Once the actual Christmas dinner has been devoured on Tuesday, there is still plenty for The View to feast on in the coming months. Most immediately there's a Hogmanay appearance in Edinburgh alongside Simple Minds and The Maccabees, the first time they've have played the capital's winter festival. And despite releasing albums in 2011 and 2012, there's still little evidence of the group slowing down or taking a break once the bells ring out to see in 2013.

"We've just got plenty of ideas," explains Webster, who still writes the majority of their material with Falconer. "I think Lou Reed once said that bands are lazy unless they're bringing out four albums a year, and we're not there yet. So he probably thinks we're still lazy. We just write songs to stop getting bored."

They will, however, be able to enjoy a spot of relaxation on Christmas Day. With all the chaos stripped away, there's a clear true meaning behind the day, according to Morrison.

"Family. It should all be about family. It should be about getting the family together, having a few drinks and just having a good time with everyone."

Peace of a sort, then.

The View play Princes Street Gardens as part of Edinburgh's Hogmanay Festival on December 31.

The problem with doing a Christmas song is that you need to be quite organised, and with us, that's not always happening

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