Musical Monday #26 - Fairytale of New York

While struggling to decide which song to do for my late as hell slighty off-sync Musical Monday, I was told I should do something Xmassy.

I was about to reject such a suggestion out of hand when it popped into my head that this song is Christmassy with insults in it, PLUS it's topical too! From The Guardian today, the end of the article might be correct, in that it's a big ol' PR thing to keep some reality shite off the Xmas #1 spot. Which would be soooo nice.

Radio 1 censors Fairytale of New York

One of the great Christmas singles of all time is back on Radio 1. But not in its entirety after the word "faggot" was bleeped out.

Twenty years after it was released, the classic Christmas single Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl has suddenly become offensive. At least, Radio 1 thinks it has.

Station bosses have cut the word "faggot" from the duet because it is a word its audience might find offensive.

MacColl's mother Jean said the decision was "pathetic". "It's absolute nonsense. Really, this is too ridiculous," she told Radio Five Live.

"Shane has written the most beautiful song and these characters live, they really live, and you have such sympathy for them.

"These are a couple of characters who are not in the first flush of youth, I wouldn't have thought. They are what they are, this is the way they speak... It's like a play and it's very amusing and sad, and it's a great song."

It certainly is a great song. As far as the "f-word" is concerned - that's "faggot" - context is everything, coming as it does in the middle of a terrific trade of insults between MacColl, who died seven years ago, and the Pogues' Shane MacGowan.

"You scumbag, you maggot you cheap lousy faggot," sings MacColl. "Happy Christmas your arse I pray God It's our last." Ooh, she said arse. Are you offended by that too?

Quite apart from whether I find that offensive or not - I don't - it seems bizarre to censor the song 20 years after it first came out. It has been played every Christmas since then, and the world has continued to spin on its axis, there have been no riots on the streets. So why now?

Perhaps the BBC is over-compensating after it came under fire from gay rights groups last year after it rejected a complaint about Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles' use of the word "gay" to mean "rubbish". (He was talking about a ringtone, in case you don't remember).

But Moyles is unimpressed by the Pogues' edit, saying it is "ridiculous".

I can't help but agree. Forgive the phrase - and you might want to check the top of your screen in case you have accidentally logged onto the Daily Mail - but isn't this political correctness gone mad? Richard Littlejohn, it's over to you.

Still, there might be an upside. With all this publicity, Fairytale of New York might get to number one and keep The X Factor single off the top of the charts. In which case we should all thank Radio 1 for a PR masterstroke.
Of course, Kirsty MacColl was killed several years back, and her mother has spoken to Sky News about the censorship:
Fairytale Of New York Censored

The mother of late singer Kirsty MacColl has branded Radio 1 "pathetic" for banning the word "faggot" from her hit Fairytale Of New York.

The words appear in a verse where she and co-star Shane MacGowan insult each other.

"You're a bum, you're a punk, you're an old slut on junk, lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed," he says.

"You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot, Happy Christmas your arse, I pray God it's our last," she replies.

MacColl's duet with the Pogues star is heading up the charts again this Christmas.

But Radio 1 has decided to bleep out the word "faggot" because it might offend listeners - sparking outrage from MacColl's mother, Jean.

She told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast the move was "pathetic" because the language reflected the characters it describes.

"Today we have a lot of gratuitous vulgarity and 'f****** and whatever' from people all over, which I think is quite unnecessary. But these are characters and they speak like that," she said.

"It's like a play and it's very amusing and sad, and it's a great song."

Founder of gay rights group OutRage Peter Tatchell told Sky News online that it was all a "bit of a storm in a teacup".

"Obviously the song was not intended as a major hate campaign against the gay community," he said.

But Mr Tatchell pointed out that the BBC would have bleeped out a racial insult and so had taken the right decision.

Fairytale Of New York has been covered by more than 10 different bands since it first hit top spot in Ireland in 1987.

In 2000, Ronan Keating and Maire Brennan caused controversy when they changed the sentence "you cheap lousy faggot" to "you're cheap and you're haggard" in their cover version.

MacColl died at the age of 41 the same year when she was hit by a speedboat while diving during a holiday in Mexico.
Anyways, pretty much everyone knows this song, even if they claim not to. They usually say something silly like "ooooh THAT song..." and sing along...

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2 Responses to “Musical Monday #26 - Fairytale of New York”

Posh Totty said...

Better late than never

The Random One said...

I loathe censorship...

and forgot yesterday was Monday!!