Pogues frontman responds to calls to ban 'Fairytale of New York' over its homophobic slur

Rock News 10/12/2018

From Newshub's Dan Satherley:

Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan says he's fine with radio stations bleeping out a slur in his band's Christmas song 'Fairytale of New York'.

There have been growing calls in the Pogues' native Ireland to ban the festive classic over its use of the word f****t, now considered a highly offensive homophobic slur.

National broadcaster RTÉ last week said it was considering censoring a line in the song in which singer Kirsty MacColl spits the line "you scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy f****t". Two of its broadcasters publicly objected to the lyric.

"The fact this song is a classic isn't a strong enough defence to not at least censor it," said DJ Eoghan McDermott, after speaking to gay colleagues.

The news sparked debate in Ireland, with one music critic saying it was time to "relocate 'Fairytale of New York' to that dark room reserved for things that were once acceptable but no longer are".

RTÉ eventually decided to keep the song intact, but MacGowan - who co-wrote it with bandmate Jem Finer - said he wouldn't mind if it was bleeped, but defended using the slur.

"The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character," he told Virgin Media TV.

"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."

He said the line wasn't meant to offend, but be "as accurate as I could make it".

She is just supposed to be an authentic character and not all characters in songs and stories are angels or even decent and respectable, sometimes characters in songs and stories have to be evil or nasty in order to tell the story effectively.

He added that he didn't want to get into an argument about it.

'Fairytale of New York' often tops lists of the best Christmas songs ever made.