Tuesday, December 18, 2007 

Scumbags, maggots, cheap lousy faggots.

Bemusement seems to be the right word to describe Radio 1's original decision to censor, of all songs, the Pogues' seminal Fairytale of New York. I long ceased listening to the station with its terrible playlist mixture of shitty indie and the very worst that rap/hip-hop has to offer, combined with the most egregiously annoying DJs since the Hairy Cornflake was forced into hanging up his mike, with the ghastly Chris Moyles, airheaded calamity Edith Bowman and irritant Scott Mills. Mark and Lard's departure was the final straw. Not that Radio 2 or any other station is any better.

The decision to censor "faggot" and "slut", whether out of an attempt not to offend anyone or not, shows a complete ignorance of the song. It's about a rowing couple in the drunk tank on Christmas Eve for Christ sake - and the exchanging of insults is the high point of the song. It's been playing on the radio uncensored for years, with I suspect no one except the most meddlesome and easily disgusted complaining. The only person the BBC could find to defend the original decision was Peter Tatchell - a respectable activist, but not one to turn to whenever anything even in the slightest bit disrespectful of gays is up for discussion. It's not even as if it's aimed at someone as a gratuitous insult rather than as part of an argument, where you might at least be able to see their point.

Surely though it ought to have been seen as sacrilege to alter it in the first place. It's both critically and popularly the greatest Christmas song of all time, mainly because it isn't slushy, sentimental, by Cliff Richard or really about the actual event other than it takes place on the day. It also reflects the oldest Christmas tradition - the inevitable argument. It'd be nice if after this everyone attempted to get it to number one instead of the habitual, hackneyed and revolting crap from the X-Factor that'll be sitting there come the weekend, but that is probably beyond even the collective power of the "blogosphere".

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