Christmas Lyric Banned After 20 Years

Radio 1 has relented on a decision to censor a word in a 20-year-old lyric from a widely played Christmas song.

In a move that was branded as "pathetic", radio station executives decided to censor the re-release of the song Fairytale of New York by the late Kirsty MacColl and The Pogues star Shane MacGowan.

Yesterday, MacColl's mother, Jean, hit out at the station's decision to bleep out the word in the lyrics, after Radio 1 had been playing the full song - uncensored - for the past 20 years.

She said in a radio interview: "I think it's pathetic, I really do. It's absolute nonsense. Really, this is too ridiculous."

Yesterday, a Radio 1 spokesman said: "We are playing an edited version. It is a word members of our audience would find offensive."

The banned word 'Faggot' used on some occasions to refer to homosexuals, is used in Fairytale Of New York, which was first released in 1987 and reached number two in the charts.

The BBC censored the Christmas single because of the offending line: "You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap, lousy faggot", and Radio 1 is now playing it with the word "faggot" digitally removed. The reason is said to be a noble one - it might offend gay people - but this gesture has been branded as misplaced sensitivity in the media.

The song takes place "in the drunk tank", where people do not always address each other in politically correct terms.

In the same verse, McGowan calls MacColl "an old slut on junk". The ugliness of this section is considered vital to the song's narrative of desperation and hope.


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