You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy haggard! ……. Wait, a moment, that doesn’t sound right, does it?
Well, it appears that all is not well in the world of the Christmas song, as one of the world’s favourite festive musical offerings has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons.
Fairytale of New York, the 1987, classic anti-christmas tune, written by Shane MacGowan of The Pogues, features him and the late Kirsty MacColl, trading insults over a folky backtrack.
Now an argument is raging amongst radio stations, on whether to censor the word ‘faggot’, sung by Kirsty in the famous line, “You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap, lousy faggot.
Irish DJ, Eoghan MacDermott, reckons the word should be censored, saying, “‘This debate rolls around again. I asked the two gay members of my team how they feel since f****t is their N-word. If people want to slur the gay community, this is their most powerful weapon. One favours censoring, the other outright not playing it.
“We censor shit, f**k, ass, weed and loads of other comparatively benign words in songs. It’s not a big ask.”
Hitting back, writer MacGowan, defending the lyrics, said, “‘Her dialogue is as accurate as I could make it but she is not intended to offend!”, adding he would be fine with the censoring of the song, adding, “If people don’t understand that I was trying to accurately portray the character as authentically as possible then I am absolutely fine with them bleeping the word but I don’t want to get into an argument.”
In recent years, BBC Radio 1 has censored the slur, while a cover version of Fairytale Of New York by Ronan Keating heard him replace the word with ‘haggard’.
I’m with Shane on this one I think, it’s ok to censor the song for radio, so as not to offend, as long as no one stops us, screaming the word at the top of our voices at the staff Christmas party.