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Fairytale Of New York Debate Reignited As Christmas Approaches

by : Cameron Frew on : 05 Dec 2021 14:53
Fairytale Of New York Debate Reignited As Christmas ApproachesAlamy/ThePoguesOfficial/YouTube

It’s nearly Christmas, so you know what that means: people are still arguing about Fairytale Of New York

The classic track, performed by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, tops ‘best of’ lists every year, echoing in pubs, shops and homes across the UK. There’s no doubt about it: it’s one of the best Christmas songs of all time.

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Alas, every year without fail, contention over the original lyrics makes headlines in some way, whether it’s radio stations debating which version to use or online discussion over whether it’s an acceptable song to play at all. Are you tired? Because I certainly am. 

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If you search the song on Twitter, you’ll find hundreds of tweets either contributing to the debate or simply fearing its arrival on social media altogether. ‘It’s nearly time again where Twitter has to have a 12 day debate about The Pogues Fairytale of New York because it’s too offensive,’ one user wrote.

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‘I hate Fairytale of New York discourse, as a queer I need my emotional support bitter Christmas song, if you’re straight just f*ck off and stop ruining it by insisting on saying the slur,’ another wrote. ‘Words cannot explain how uncomfortable that song made me growing up as a closeted gay man to be surrounded by straight people drunkenly screaming the lyrics,’ a third tweeted.

The original version of the song notably features a homophobic slur – however, in an edited version of the song (which first emerged in the 1990s), the lyrics are changed to: ‘You’re cheap and you’re haggard.’

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Both MacColl, prior to her death, and The Pogues have publicly supported the revised track. When BBC Radio 1 announced it would play an ‘alternative’ version of the song, Laurence Fox ridiculously called for the broadcasting corporation to be defunded, to which the band said, ‘F*ck off you little herrenvolk sh*te.’

Yet, some people still feel strangely passionate about hearing and singing the slur at the top of their lungs. Is it really worth it? You can play whichever version you like in your car, house or earphones, and it’s not an infringement on your human rights if the edited version is played on the radio to make people feel more comfortable. Just… get a grip.

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Cameron Frew

Entertainment Editor at UNILAD. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best film ever made, and Warrior is better than Rocky. That's all you need to know.

Topics: Music, Christmas