After two decades of airplay, the BBC just noticed that the Pogues’ classic Christmas jam “Fairytale Of New York” has a naughty word tucked into it–you know, the one singer Kirsty MacColl rhymes with “maggot”–and has excised it in order to keep its audience from fainting or getting the vapors or whatever uptight British people do when aghast. Naturally, many of the song’s millions of fans think the Beeb is being a bit silly, including the late MacColl’s mum, who pulled out the Mark Knopfler defense to put Radio 1 on blast.
“Radio 1 are playing an edited version of the Fairytale of New York that does not include the world ‘faggot’ as this is a word that members of our audience would find offensive,” the BBC said in a statement…
But MacColl’s mother Jean, speaking on the BBC Radio 5 Live, called the ban “too ridiculous”.
“These are a couple of characters,” she said, referring to the characters in the song.
“Today we have a lot of a gratuitous vulgarity and … whatever from people all over which I think is quite unnecessary. These are characters and they speak like that.”
As to Radio 1′s defense, a rep makes the all-important distinction that the offending slur is being “faded down” rather than bleeped. God, does this mean we need to add a “fadewatch” category now?