We have finally reached saturation point over Fairytale of New York debate

A world dominated by tedious partisan culture wars is of no benefit to anyone

Shane MacGowan of the Pogues with Kirsty MacColl: debating the lyrical impropriety of their song has become an annual tradition.

Shane MacGowan of the Pogues with Kirsty MacColl: debating the lyrical impropriety of their song has become an annual tradition.

It seems to come round faster every year, doesn’t it? One moment we are navigating the transition from summer into autumn, and then, all of a sudden, lights are hung on Grafton Street; wreaths appear on our neighbours’ doors; and we are caught in the throes of December’s most well-worn tradition: debating the lyrical impropriety of Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.

This year the BBC has led the charge over this well-flogged and very dead horse. BBC Radio 1 announced last week that it won’t play the original version of the song, replete with a homophobic slur – instead opting to broadcast a cleaner version with amended lyrics.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.