It’s Christmas 2013 | Q&A with Left with Pictures’ Stu Barter


Left with Pictures donated ‘The Coldest Night’ to our Christmas album this year. We ask Stu Barter about his idea of a perfect Christmas and the perils of too much Avocaat.

Left With Pictures

Can you tell us what inspired your song for the record?
When you’re young, there’s a lot of anticipation at Christmas time, so the song is about waiting for something exciting to arrive, whether it’s Santa, or a big life change. We tried to make the texture of the song sound cold, and icy, but resist the sleigh bells if possible!

What makes good Christmas music?
The best Christmas music (and the best pop music, for that matter), is joyful and optimistic, but with sadness and melancholy lingering beneath the surface. I also think Christmas songs can get away with being more sickly and sentimental than other songs. A touch of the sinister doesn’t hurt either….

What’s your favourite Christmas song? 
I’ve always had a soft spot for ‘Stop The Cavalry’ by Jona Lewie. It’s quite novelty on first listen – nothing wrong with that at Christmas – but his voice is very beautiful, I think. It’s almost like he’s talking to you.

What’s your favourite Christmas film?
Definitely, It’s a Wonderful Life. Makes me blub every time

What are your Christmas traditions?
I’ve spent every Christmas of my life with my family. We exchange presents, drink bucks fizz in the morning, play board games, set fire to a cake, eat ourselves into a coma… the usual things.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?
As a teenager I once wrote a song for a girlfriend as a birthday present. I recorded it and handed it over on a tape to her. The relationship ended a couple of weeks later. It was a great song, too… what a waste!

What would you like for Christmas this year?
Some new records. If you’re reading this, Mum, I’ll send you a list soon, please don’t try and guess what I’ll like.

What do you think the meaning of Christmas is?
I think it’s probably changed over the years. I think I see it as the time when you always go home – wherever or whatever that is.

What’s your top Christmas tip?
Steer clear of Advocaat. It can seem like a good idea on Christmas day – but it really isn’t.

Left With Pictures’ song The Coldest Night appears on our festive compilation album For Folk’s Sake It’s Christmas 2013 alongside songs from Dark Dark Dark, Alessi’s Ark, Laish, Stornoway, Joe Innes, The Pollyanna Band, Jessie Moncrieff, Emperor Yes, Patch & the Giant, Sophie Jamieson, Worry Dolls, Inti Rowland and Howard Carter.

You can buy For Folk’s Sake It’s Christmas 2013 on CD & MP3 from All proceeds go to Médecins Sans Frontières.