‘You scumbag, you maggot /
You cheap lousy faggot /
Happy Christmas your arse /
I pray God it’s our last.’
Prudes at the achingly stiff BBC Radio 1 have censored The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York. Words deemed too strong for the Beeb’s youth audience have been purged. This is of course marvellous news for The Pogues because there is no surer way to blunt the once edgy and hip than to have it endorsed by the BBC. Ban it. And ban it good. The kids will seek it out.
Listeners to Radio 1 will not hear Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan sing “faggot” and “slut”. Instead it’s “haggard’ and “slut” gets beeped out. Oddly, BBC Radio 2 will air the full version and in a sop to further management cowardice 6 Music will allow its DJs to choose the version they wish to play. So if you want to hear the uncensored version, kids, tune into the station once reserved for middle-aged roadkill.
The BBC says: “We know the song is considered a Christmas classic and we will continue to play it this year, with our radio stations choosing the version of the song most relevant for their audience.”
So there it is. The young must be protected from hearing bad words and so remain on the ‘right side of history’. Meanwhile… here’s on Radio 1 is a song about Cardi B’s vagina: