Thursday 8 December 2016

Kim Bielenberg: You scumbag, you maggot - how Fairytale of New York has stood the test of time

Published 12/12/2012 | 13:54

GATHER around by the tree, children, and we’ll sing the words of Britain and Ireland’s favourite Christmas song: "You scumbag, you maggot. You cheap lousy faggot, Happy Christmas your arse, I pray God it’s our last."

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When it was released 25 years ago, the lyrics of the Pogues song Fairytale of New York did not make it an obvious candidate to become a classic, sung at Christmas parties and played ad nauseam at supermarket tills.

BBC Radio 1 dubbed out the words “faggot” and “slut” from the song’s broadcasts on its release, because they were deemed offensive. The opening line hardly seemed destined to inspire festive cheer: “It was Christmas Eve, babe, in the drunk tank…”

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