Author Archives: kjacks

The shocking truth about “Father Christmas”

 Written by Deborah Marinkovic

The classic animated film of “Father Christmas” based on the beautifully illustrated books by Raymond Briggs, is an annual festive TV special which appeals to the child in everyone. It has been popular Christmas fare since it first aired in 1991.

In the film, Father Christmas is not the cheery paternal stereotype but a rather grumpy character instead. Oddly, even though he’s an international archetype, when the film was exported to the United States it was censored. Father Christmas was re-voiced by a very jolly William Dennis Hunt instead of the dour Mel Smith. In addition, the word “blooming” was replaced with “merry” and Father Christmas no longer got sozzled, so he didn’t have to endure a hangover. He   wasn’t a glutton either, nor did he dance with any chorus girls. Any scenes showing his intergluteal cleft in the original were air-brushed out too but strangely, he could gamble at Nero’s Palace in Las Vegas. These mores were a cultural no-no in the US so it seems that even the innocence of Father Christmas is not immune to censorship. In the same way “Alice in Wonderland” was banned in China in 1931. Then, the censor General Ho Chien reasoned that anthropomorphized animals were an insult to humans and that children would believe animals and humans had equal status which would have “disastrous” ramifications for society.

Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

There’s an interesting exhibition called the “Story of Phi: Restricted Books” exhibition, on at Blackwell Hall in the Weston Library until 13 January 2019 , which analyses censorship and is well worth a visit. The Bodleian’s status as a Legal Deposit library meant that, due to the sensibilities of the Victorian age all controversial books had to be catalogued separately. The librarians created the Phi shelf-mark based on the Greek letter Φ and access was restricted from 1882 until quite recently.

Not only is “Father Christmas” challenging censorship mores, our hero is worryingly unaware of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which was introduced in May 2018. In one scene he returns from his holidays to find a pile of children’s begging letters containing their addresses, blocking his front door, later another pile is just left outside. As Father Christmas delivers his presents throughout Europe, he must be vigilant about protecting this information. If he wants to find out more about the GDPR he will need to visit the Law Library before the 21st December when it closes or come back on the 2nd January when it reopens. If he wants a physical resource he can do a search on our newly revamped SOLO site which would bring up “EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): an implementation and compliance guide” KM209.P7.ITG 2017, he could also find “Guide to the general data protection regulation: a companion to data protection law and practice (4th edition)” by R. Jay; Euro Comm 510 J42.5a. By selecting “Relevance”, the drop-down menu will allow him to find the newest resources. If he was, understandably too busy to visit, he could access the many online holdings by using his Oxford Single Sign On to find journals such as “European data protection law review” which he could access via HeinOnline .

Finally, if Father Christmas is worried about trespassing, it is mostly a civil rather than criminal matter, so he won’t be nicked; although when there’s a sign inviting him in together with the promise of mince pies and a warming drink it does imply that he is welcome. Of course, if his reindeer and sleigh were to damage the roof when they landed or took off that would be another matter. He would be wise to consult one of the very helpful Oxford LibGuides written by Dr Elizabeth Wells, the Foreign, Comparative, and International Law Librarian, . He could then research the subject of liability in far greater depth.

If you do get the chance to see this charming animated film over the Christmas break, it might shock you to discover how culpable Father Christmas really is!

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas

1. Attribution at the bottom

It’s that time of year again when our intrepid writers here in the Law Library brush off their pens for the annual Law Bod Christmas blog series.  For those new to the blog this is where we spend the lead up to Christmas coming up with numerous posts based upon our ‘theme’ for the year.

When we sat down to think of our theme this year we realised that we had covered an awful lot in the previous 6 years.  Our past efforts include the following:

2012 – 12 (Legal) Days of Christmas

2013 – Christmas Carols

2014 – Christmas Traditions

2015 – Christmas Films

2016 – Christmas No 1’s

2017 – Board Games



Television is like the invention of indoor plumbing. It didn’t change people’s habits. It just kept them inside the house. Alfred Hitchcock

It took a while to come up with a theme that we had not touched upon before but inspired by cosy nights in by the fire (and probably a few too many hours glued to our screens) we all agreed upon Christmas TV Specials.


From Doctor Who to the Queen’s Speech, University Challenge to Only Fools and Horses, spend the next few weeks with us as we reminisce about childhood’s (and ‘adulthood’s’) spent with our favourite TV Characters.  We will try (often in the most tenuous ways) to use our small screen heroes to illustrate services and resources here in the Law Library. Feel free to comment with your favourites!


  1. Bing Crosby, On Television, “White Christmas” (1954), by Classic Film. Taken from Flickr and reproduced under the Creative Commons Licence by-nc 2.0
  2. Vintage Christmas by Roadsidepictures.  Taken from Flickr and reproduced under the Creative Commons Licence by-nc 2.0


Cards against Humanity

I do not agree with what you have to say but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it (Evelyn Beatrice Hall)*


Cards against Humanity, a relatively new game that we were not over familiar with, but it was one that featured in the top ten and so we felt obliged to do some research.

Cards against humanity by justgrimes reproduced under Creative Commons licence

The game revolves around getting people to come up with the most offensive things to say depending on the cards that they have.  It sort of acts as a legitimate way of being politically incorrect with the excuse that you are just reading what is said on the card.  Possibly not to everyone’s tastes in fact there has been some push back from various critics, but it seems like it is popular.

So where can we go with this without digging ourselves into all sorts of offensive holes.  Quite possibly the obvious choice would be looking at resources around the freedom of speech or freedom of expression (not that the two are exactly interchangeable).

For those that are hosting  a Christmas/Holiday get-together in the next 2 weeks it is the sort of topic that can either spark a healthy and robust debate or cause a minor war to break out in your household with Aunty Peggy refusing to speak (or more importantly to pass the cranberry sauce).

There are so many resources on freedom of speech (SOLO alone comes back with 910 hits) it would be hard to mention more than a handful.  One good place to start in order to bring calm and reason would be Barendt, Freedom of Speech (OUP 2019) (available as an eresource to OU Members).  You could also take a look at Human Rights Watch’s page on free speech.

Freedom of expression of course is enshrined in many a human rights document.  It is article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, as well as being part of the US Constitution.  Information on human rights resources can be found on our Libguide.  At Oxford we also have the Oxford Human Rights Hub as well as the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights.

Of course with rights come responsibilities and there are some caveats to most of the legislation around this issue (clear and present danger in the US for example).  We will leave the debate with you (and Aunty Peggy) as you grapple with issues around censorship and other such minefields.

* This is often attributed to Voltaire and there are some conflicting accounts of the exact wording.

Connecting 4 floors of the Law Bod

Connect 4 by WinsconKow used under Creative Commons Licence (click to see)

Connect 4, a game not of luck but mainly skill, there have even been studies done to work out the 9 main strategies to win the game.  For us at the Law Bod it is mainly about putting coloured plastic discs in a grid to try to make a line of 4 before your opponent.  The game, also know as captain’s mistress (we thought it wise not to use that name as the links may not have been as appropriate), is a staple of many a household game stash as it is quick and easy.  It also shouldn’t result in accusations of cheating (it is a game that is said to have ‘perfect information’ in that you and your opponent have all the information in front of them).

So talking of perfect information and connecting 4 we thought we would take this post to talk about the 4 different levels of the Bodleian Law Library.  You may have your favourite corner of the Library but there are 4 floors full of exciting resources and facilities.

So lets start from the ground up …

Ground Floor

This quiet area of the Library has lots to offer but can sometimes be missed by readers as it sits 2 floors down from the entrance floor.  This is where you will find not one but two IT rooms,  the larger one seats 24 and is often where you will find us teaching about the many resources we have.  The second one is tucked around the corner and is smaller. Imaginatively called the ‘Small Computer Room’  it seats 7 so offers a quiet space for you to work at one of our PC’s.  There are also 3 discussion rooms situated here,  there are 2 that accommodate 3 people and 1 larger one that seats up to 6 (but probably more like 5 if you all have laptops!).  Two of the rooms have audio-visual equipment (with connectors and remotes available from the enquiry desk).  These rooms can be used by anybody but it is best to book unless you don’t mind moving for those that have.  The Graduate Reading Room is also on this floor and so if you are one of our postgraduates then please come and take a look as a possibility for a study space.  As well as these areas there are also some desks, soft seating and a photocopier/printer/scanner.

The ground floor does not only have study space, it also houses a number of important collections.  It is the home of the Official Papers Collection, which is an an excellent collection of parliamentary and non-parliamentary British official papers. The whole collection is on open shelf, making it the only collection in the country to have a full set of House of Lords and Commons papers immediately accessible to readers. The papers of the devolved assemblies and governments and Ireland are also held within the collection as well as a strong international collection.  If you need help with searching you can always ask one of our Official Papers Team.

First Floor

Moving up one floor we have Floor 1.  This is a smaller floor but one which could offer a number of study alternatives.  There are some main desks located as you come through the door and this tends to be quieter (maybe due to the fact that laptops cannot be plugged in).  As well as this you can also find the Seminar Room.  This room (also bookable through the same system as the discussion rooms) can seat up to 15 round a lovely round table.  It has a projector screen (we can provide a projector if needed) and a white board and is a good space for larger groups.


Second Floor

This is the first floor you see when you enter the Law Bod and as such it is often referred to as the ‘main floor’.  It has seats for over 230 people, a number of terminals to quick search the catalogue and PCs, a soft seating areas next to the new journals display and a room with 3 photocopiers/printers/scanners.  It is also where you will find help if you are struggling with anything.  There are usually 2 members of staff stationed on the enquiry desk which is just by the entrance.  We are not just there to scan out ‘reserve books’, we can help with resource questions, directions and photocopying problems.  If we can’t help you ourselves we will go on a hunt for someone who can so please don’t be shy your questions will not be ‘silly’.

The collections on this floor consist of the main UK collection, General monographs, Roman monographs, Jurisprudence monographs.  The main monograph collection on this floor not only has UK monographs but includes monographs from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US within the same run. This is due to the major Moys project which happened over the Summer, more information on this can be found in this blog post.

Third Floor

This is a floor you would probably only visit if you were wanting to use the collections as it does not have seating for general use, however, if you are one of our research postgraduates you may have made your ‘home’ at one of the research desks there.  The collections consist of the resources for individual European countries, the EU collection (Euro Comm), the international (public and private) law collections, the US law collection (apart from monographs) and Criminology.

Connecting the 4 floors are 1 lift and 2 staircases, one is the main staircase and the other is one of the smaller ‘hidden’ staircases in the opposite corner.  There are other smaller staircases throughout although these only ‘connect’ 2/3 floors so be careful about getting lost!  Maps to our collections can be found on our website so you can plan before you come but remember to come and ask if you are struggling.


A quick reminder

By Paul Iwancio used under creative commons licence

As an addition to the Christmas blog series, we would just like to remind those leaving Oxford in the vacation to make sure you know how to access materials from outside the Oxford network.  We know that you are most likely going to be busy with festivities but if you do decide to take a break from the indulgences to make a head start on academic work then remember that you need to access the resources from SOLO and to sign in using your Single Sign On in the top right.  Even the things that you may usually access without any password at all (e.g. HeinOnline).


There are also a few resources that, due to security, you need to access within Oxford the first time you use them for example Lexis360 and Tax Notes.  It is definitely worth accessing items you know you will need before you leave just to make sure there are no issues.

For those staying in Oxford over the vacation just to remind you that the Law Library will be closing on Thursday 21st December and will reopen again on Tuesday 2nd of January.


Have a good vacation whatever your plans!

Board this Christmas

It’s that time of year again where we do our best to entertain you with a ‘countdown to Christmas’ blog series.  This year the Law Bod staff have stood on their tiptoes, looked on top of their wardrobes and brushed off the dust from their stash of board games.

Although board games are not wholly related to Christmas, it tends to be the time where people can coerce the recommended 2-6 players to finish off their 5th mince pie and gather round a table to push around figures/cheeses/counters in a vain attempt to wear the family crown for another year.  Join us if you can bear the memories of overly competitive aunties, cheating siblings or the realisation that, despite being advised to do so, trying to buy all the stations on the Monopoly board and ignoring everything else is only going to lead to heartbreak (#stillbitter).

Over the next few weeks we will attempt to link our knowledge of legal resources and library services to some well-known board games.  Hopefully the series will bring back some nostalgia in the form of games you love or introduce some new ones, oh, as well as highlighting some of the great resources we have in the Law Bod.

In the tradition of the annual Law Bod Christmas Blog Series some of the links are so tenuous as to be practically non-existent and so to save you from wondering what is going on we recommend looking at some of the previous series for a taster of what to expect.  You can either search on the right hand side for Christmas 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 or go to some of the links below.

Picture Attribution

  1. Christmas Baubles taken from Flickr and created by Lip Jin Lee, used under Creative Commons Licence.
  2. Board Games taken from Flickr and created by cjhuang, used under Creative Commons Licence.
  3. This is Board Games Studies Colloquium XIV taken from Flickr and created by Bo Jorgensen, used under Creative Commons Licence.

Reclassification of part of the collection

Reclassification Update

This summer library staff are completing Phase Three of the Moys Reclassification Project.  Staff will be reorganising books currently held in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.  This is part of the long-term Moys re-classification project that has been underway since 2006.  All the books will be fully accessible to our readers but please come and ask a member of staff for help in finding them.

The work will not be noisy but the staff will be working in the Reading Room as we need plenty of space to re-arrange the books.  The ground floor, floor 1, and floor 3 will be available to readers.

This move will create a subject arrangement of law for predominately common law jurisdictions, for example KN94 is the Moys number for environmental law and within K94 you will be able to find books on this topic from different jurisdictions:











Tied to this project is a book move.  The book move involves the move of UK and Irish legislation from the Reading Room to Floor 1 to allow for growth space for the collection.  We will be keeping Halsbury’s Statutes and Current Law Statutes Annotated in the Reading Room.  The UK journals and Law Reports sections in the Reading Room will be moved and re-spaced.  If you have any problems in finding materials, please do ask staff for help.


This is phase three of a project to improve the arrangement and “browsability” of our collection. Phase One, which involved the textbooks for the jurisdiction UK/England & Wales, was completed in 2009.  Phase Two which dealt with Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man completed in 2012.  There has been a delay in completing Phase Three due to the large-scale refurbishment of the Library.

Is this the real life?

“Mama … just killed a man”*

queen_group_bohemian_rhapsody by Peter Pham used under Creative Commons Library

queen_group_bohemian_rhapsody by Peter Pham used under Creative Commons Library

Not the happiest start to a Christmas blog post but nevertheless it is the striking line (after the preamble of course) to the only song to have been number 1 at Christmas twice and given that this is the last post in the series, it seems fitting to end with it.  Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is a classic that is not really remembered for its Christmas flavour but it was indeed number one in 1975 and then again in 1991 (due to the death of its writer and Queen singer Freddie Mercury).

The song itself has been studied by academics and amateur music fans alike with the lyrics in particular being debated as being a metaphor for the complicated life of the front man to just a made up drama to fit the unusual composition of the music.

So given that the song, at least on the face of it, sounds like a man admitting to murder and his consequential hand wringing over his crime and his fate we naturally turn to looking at crime and criminal law.  So far not very festive, we will try our best later we promise!

Of course given the vastness of the subject we could do a whole series on the resources we have on criminal law.  But given that this could take up a lot of space and time we will refer you instead to our Criminal Law & Justice Guide .

“Too late my time has come”*

We could also look at the death penalty and the related human rights aspects but this has already been covered in our previous blog post about the ‘Green Green Grass of Home’ (it does seem in retrospect that there has been many a depressing Christmas No 1!).

“Easy come, easy go, will you let me go”*

Guilty or not guilty? When thinking of criminal trials our mind may turn to the Old Bailey – the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales.

If you are looking for historical proceedings (whether looking for inspiration for your hit single or for more academic purposes) then you may be interested to know that there is a fully searchable digitized database of Old Bailey proceedings from 1674-1913.    The search interface is quite useful with the ability to search by keyword, by name or offence/punishment.

Old bailey database

There is also an ability to search by verdict (a rundown of all the meanings can be found here) and there are a lot more options that guilty or not guilty.  The verdict of ‘guilty – chance medley’ may have a musical ring to it but just means that although the death was the result of the defendant’s actions it was deemed accidental or without evil intent (rather than you accidentally singing a compilation of Queen songs very badly).

There is no doubt of course in Bohemian Rhapsody with the line “put a gun against his head, pulled the trigger now he’s dead”* that this would not be seen as ‘chance medley” although there is perhaps a case for insanity, temporary or otherwise.  Given that we don’t know the circumstances of the crime we can only speculate what the verdict would have been in the Old Bailey, the song itself leaves us hanging.

A great guide to searching the proceedings can be found here and goes through the information you get and some of the background to the project.

search resultsCrime (especially murder) and notorious criminals seem to inspire many a successful songwriter (see the many songs about Jesse James, Dick Turpin and even Delilah by Tom Jones) and so if you were looking for material to write about this may be your database.  However a search for Bohemian comes up with 8 cases, 3 to do with theft, then the rest to do with libel, forgery, deception, fraud and arson.  A search for rhapsody comes back with no results and so even if the database was around when Freddie Mercury wrote the song it seems unlikely that he used it to inspire the title.

Vintage Christmas by Roadsidepictures used under Creative Commons licence

Vintage Christmas by Roadsidepictures used under Creative Commons licence

So where is this festive cheer we promised earlier? We are not going to find it in the lyrics of the song (and we did look really hard).  We look instead to the artist’s name ‘Queen’ and the annual tradition of Her Majesty’s Christmas day message.  Whether the ideal opportunity for a snooze or an inspiration for the coming year the speech has been a Christmas day staple since 1932 (obviously then done by the King) when it was broadcast over radio. The messages for when Bohemian Rhapsody was number one can be found on the Royal Family’s website here 1975 and 1991.  Other years can be found on the site as well.



For the republicans reading perhaps a picture of Christmas cracker will do the trick.

Christmas Crackers by

Christmas Crackers by

So that is the end of this year’s Christmas blog series, we hoped you enjoyed it.  Have a good Christmas break and we hope that 2017 is consistently optimistic and not (in the words of Freddie Mercury and many others) “Anyway the wind blows”*.

* Lyrics taken from Bohemian Rhapsody written by Freddie Mercury

Terms of the creative commons licence used for the pictures.

Give me a C for Christmas

For the second post of our Christmas 2016 blog series we are going to take a look at an old and relatively unknown Christmas classic ‘Christmas Alphabet’ by Dickie Valentine (number one in 1955) and run through of some of the lesser known databases we subscribe to (or are free) in the Bodleian Law Library.


Having first thought that it was going to be the whole alphabet and worrying that we didn’t have anything in our list of legal databases for Q,X &Y, it was a little bit of a relief to hear that Dickie runs through just the letters in the word ‘Christmas’ highlighting his favourite parts of Christmas.  Of course that means that we couldn’t bring in Queen Victoria’s Journal and the fact that she did, at least on one occasion, read Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (Feb 13, 1836, pages 177-178). However it does mean a shorter blog post to read and so let’s carry on and have a look.


20100226-c-by-chris-plascikC is for Carilaw, our database for Caribbean primary materials but also for Current Legal Research Topics Database.  If you are interested in finding out what topics are currently being researched by M.Phil and D.Phil students in the UK then the CLRTD is the place to start.  It is a free database produced by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and ” aims to be a comprehensive listing of research for higher degrees in law”.  More information about the database can be found on the website.

h46-by-karyn-christnerH is for HeinOnline (subscription).  This is not one of the more unknown databases (as promised earlier) however you may be surprised with some of the collections it has on there (it is definitely more than journals, US primary materials, and UN material). There is the History of International Law collection, the Harvard Research In International Law (both of course beginning with ‘H’ as well). There is a  fairly new collection called Slavery in America and the World as well as Selden Society Publications.  To have a look at all the different collections if you go to the homepage of HeinOnline they are listed there.

r-by-duncan-cR is for Refworld.  Refworld is a collection of material collected by the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) to aid decisions on refugee status.  The site pulls together the laws, jurisprudence/case law and has information by country.  It also has the latest news which can be subscribed to via RSS feed and a special feature section which allows for thematic research.  The site is free and can be found at

letter-i-by-nsubI is for Investor State Law Guide (subscription).  As you would imagine there are a large number of databases that begin with ‘I’.  As the database itself says “Investor-State LawGuide enables you to utilize a methodical approach when researching investment treaty arbitration jurisprudence and provides an efficient means to improve the comprehensiveness of your research”.  It has the texts of the treaties and rules that allows you to browse, there are search facilities that allow you to search by word or phrase or full text and there are various citators and links to dispute documents.

s-by-karyn-christnerS is for Supreme Court Cases (India) a must if you are doing any Indian legal research. It also stands for Social Science Research Network.  This is a collection of research papers in the Social Sciences.  It includes the Legal Scholarship Network which has over 233,000 papers included within sub-series such as Law School Research Network  – Law & Economics, LSRN – Legal Studies, and LSRN – Public Law & Legal Theory.  It also has a blog you can subscribe to.

red-silk-alphabet-t-by-thorT is for Transnational Dispute Management (subscription).  This is a peer-reviewed online journal which publishes articles on international arbitration with a particular focus on investment.  As well as the journal itself there is also access to regulatory and legal documents from various jurisdictions and these can be browsed by country  or by category  (such as Cases, Contracts and Agreements, Guidelines, Codes & Standards).  There are parts of the database that are more restricted and so if you are interested contact us at the Library.

m-by-canadian-familyM is for Making of Modern Law (subscription) which looks at legal treatises from 1800-1926.  There are the usual options to search or browse as you would expect.  It has a whole range of interesting documents from Abraham Lincoln’s address in Edinburgh to The Sailor’s Log (1905), from the Sale of Good Act 1983 to a delightful commentary called Gallows and the Lash: An Enquiry into the Necessity of Capital and Corporal Punishment (1897).  The database itself is a little cumbersome to navigate and the scans of the documents can sometimes be quite hard on the eyes but still a useful and interesting resource.

a-by-tim-knapenA is for Armed Conflict Database (subscription). The ACD (from the International Institute for Strategic Studies) covers the world’s international, internal and terrorist conflicts, whether active, subject to a ceasefire, or halted by a peace accord. Users can generate reports and download data as well as browse year-by-year analyses and fact sheets.  It has a useful function which allows the user to look at the conflicts in a timeline as well as a list of non-state armed groups with information about how active each group is, what their strength is (number of members) and where they operate.

tile-s-by-nsub1S is for Sabinet Reference (or Law Collection) and Sabinet Netlaw.  Both cover South African Law but Reference has journals that cover the whole of Africa (not just South Africa) and Netlaw covers South African legislation including Acts, Rules and Legislation from 1910 to the present day with the exception of provincial legislation.  If you are interested in South African legal resources we also have the All South African Law Reports and we have a guide to South African legal resources.

If you are interested in seeing what other databases we have then you can look at our full list on our webpages and don’t forget if you are starting off your research you may find our guides useful.

Picture attribution

  1. C is 20100226-C by Chris Piascik used under the Creative Commons Licence
  2. H is h46 by Karyn Christner used under the Creative Commons Licence
  3. R is R by duncan c used under the Creative Commons Licence
  4. I  is  Letter I by nsub1 used under the Creative Commons Licence
  5. S  is S by Karyn Christner used under the Creative Commons Licence
  6. T  is Red Silk Alphabet T by THOR used under the Creative Commons Licence
  7. M is  M by Canadian Family used under the Creative Commons Licence
  8. A  is A by Tim Knapen used under the Creative Commons Licence
  9. S is Tile S by nsub1 under the Creative Commons Licence

Countdown to Christmas

It’s 8th week of Michaelmas Term which means only one thing on the Law Bod blog,  it’s time for our annual Christmas Blog Series!


Previous themes include, 12 (legal) days of Christmas, Christmas carols, Christmas traditions, and last year, Christmas films.  This year we have gone back to all things musical and decided on Christmas No. 1’s.  So for 15 days we are going to be jogging down memory lane to visit songs that have been number 1 on the 25th December and looking at all the possible links to the law and legal resources here at the Bodleian Law Library.  Of course when we say ‘links’ we will be asking you to stretch your imagination just a little bit (for those who are new to the series I would recommend looking at previous series to see just how tenuous the links can be!).

What are we talking about?

40-number-1-hits-by-badgreeb-recordsThe Christmas No. 1 tradition goes back 60 years.  It is based on the UK Official Charts and the successful song will be the one that is officially number 1 on the 25th December.  The charts are compiled in the UK by the Official Chart Company and it is based on sales, downloads and streaming data.  More information on how they are compiled can be found of the OCC website here.  Up until very recently the chart ran from Sunday to Saturday with the chart run down being broadcast on Radio 1 on a Sunday evening (4.30pm – 7.00pm).  Since July 2015 the chart now runs from Friday to Thursday and so if you are interested in the winner of this year’s race then you need to listen in on Friday 23rd December at 4.00pm.

This year’s contenders can be found here @ 2016 contenders.  Of course if you don’t like what you hear you can always have a go yourself, the Official UK Charts site offers this Guide to a getting a Christmas number 1.

A Modern Monopoly?

monopoly-by-william-warbyFor those who remember the days before X Factor, there was a time when the Christmas No. 1 spot was a fair fight between a number of popular and classic songs.  In fact in recent years there has a been a push back against the inevitability of another pop star hopeful reaching the coveted spot and the X Factor grip on the campaign has now been loosened.  Of course in reality they have never had a complete monopoly on the competition but the popularity of show had begun to dampen the occasion.  For those interested in learning what would actually constitute a monopoly or even a ‘dominant position’ (and whether it would be unfair under competition law) you can find information at the Competitions and Markets Authority. You may also want to consult Whish, Competition Law (8th edn, OUP, 2015) which can be found at the Law Reserve or as an ebook for members of Oxford University (and in the spirit of fair competition we must note that other textbooks on competition law are available and can be found on our catalogue!)

So please join us for 15 days of classic and not so classic songs.  For a sneak peek at some of the songs that may crop up see the list of Christmas No. 1’s taken from the official site.



Picture attribution

  1. Christmas Tree 2010 was taken by Rexness and used under the Creative Commons Licence
  2. 40 number 1 hits was taken by badgreeb RECORDS and used under the Creative Commons Licence
  3. Monopoly board was taken by William Warby  and used under the Creative Commons Licence