Written by Arianit Ajdini
Ah, Christmas, the time of happiness, gifts, a depressing EastEnders episode and now protests Christmas classics; we really do live in the best of times.
Even though I don’t celebrate the holiday I do love the Christmas music, it’s some of the happiest music you will find and they are absolute classics that we all know and love and that make people like Mariah Carey filthy rich around this time of year, and although some of these songs have been played every Christmas for decades, people want to ruin Christmas and ban a few Christmas classics for reasons that they are offended.
“Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl (1987)
The best way to describe this song would be to say it’s an Irish version of an EastEnders Christmas episode, you got a drunk person and a couple fighting about how they hate each other and how he ruined her life. The best quality of this song is the back and forth the two have with each as they talk about dreams, the future and betrayal, it’s not that happiest Christmas song but we all seem to love, well not all at the moment.
Yeah, people have caused a riot lately about a certain word that Kirsty MacColl uses to describe the man singing in the famous fifth verse “You scumbag, you maggot / You cheap lousy f****t / Happy Christmas your arse / I pray God it’s our last.” and you could maybe tell which word has got people upset. The F-word has many connotations to it, it is used as a harmful insult towards the gay community but that word also has a completely different meaning. The F word is also an old Irish slang word for a lazy person or a waster.
This song is based on Irish people who emigrated to America in the 20th century in hope of making it as entertainers in New York and we have the harsh language come from the woman as the songwriter of the song, Shane MacGowan, explained:
“The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character. She is not supposed to be a nice person or even a wholesome person. She is a woman of a certain generation at a certain time in history and she is down on her luck and desperate”
However, this isn’t the first time the song was targeted due to its lyrical content. For years, radio stations have been censoring multiple words in the song and the reaction has been mixed. In 2007, Radio 1 announced it was going to edit the song to “avoid offence.” However, this received major backlash from fans, MacColl’s mother called the decision “too ridiculous”, while The Pogues said they found it “amusing.” Due to this, later that day BBC backtracked and listened to its viewers who said to leave the song remain as it is, and other radio stations proceeded to play the original version as well; although MTV did remove the swear words from the song. Fast-forward to 2018, and people are annoyed; some annoyed for the song for having the F-word and others annoyed at the people for disputing the song.
However, all this controversy has not had an impact on the songs chart success. It’s been streamed 116m times on Spotify and has entered the UK Top 10 for its 6th time, making it 16 weeks in the Top 10, it peaked at No.2 in 1987.
How do I feel about this situation? Personally, this is my favourite Christmas song of all time, and context is everything especially for this song. I believe the song is NOT homophobic and for those who may not know what the song is about the lyrics may just be lost in translation, the song is a classic that will be played for years to come. Do I think this is the last we will be hearing about this debate? Absolutely Not, but that’s a problem for another time.
What is your opinion on this song? Are you in support of the song or should it be banned?
Here are my Top 10 favourite Christmas Songs:
- Fairytale of New York by The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl
- All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey
- Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee
- Underneath The Tree by Kelly Clarkson
- Let It, Snow, Let It, Snow, Let It Snow by Dean Martin
- It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year by Andy Williams
- Santa Tell Me by Ariana Grande
- Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Dean Martin
- It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas by Michael Bublé
- Have Yourself A Merry Christmas by Sabrina Carpenter