Fairytale of New York

UPDATED – See below

BBC Radio 1 is missing the point by finding new ways to censor the Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.

In the olden days, they used to suppress the word arse in the verse:

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

Now they’ve decided that arse is OK, but faggot isn’t. It might seem like progress, but I’m not so sure.

I’ve always been rather fond of this song. It seems to me to capture that elusive something that I think must be what people are referring to when they speak of the true meaning of Christmas.

Radio 1 have got this one wrong. They let Chris Moyles away with using the word gay in a derogatory way. That mattered and he should have got his comeuppance. However, Shane MacGowan was using all words correctly and acceptably in this seasonal ditty in my view. It is describing a row between two ghastly people whom we already know are behaving unacceptably to one another.

The Fairytale of New York (which will surely soon be bowdlerized to The Tale of New York) is one of the things that I rather like to hear when out and about at this time of year. It contains one of the truely great moments in popular music – “I could have been someone – well so could anyone!”. This particular scumbag intends to keep on singing.

Join in now.


UPDATE – The BBC genuflects to the forces of bad taste and the threat that I would impersonate Shane MacGowan in Argyll Street and restores the original. Hurrah!