May 15, 2021
News

‘Not all characters in songs are angels’ – Shane responds to Fairytale controversy

SHANE MacGowan has responded to criticism of the use of a word which is considered offensive to the gay community in his Christmas classic, Fairytale of New York.

The Pogues frontman issued a statement in response to calls from two RTÉ 2FM DJs to have the word censored when it is played on air.

Presenters Eoghan McDermott and Stephen Byrne both took to Twitter in recent days to object to the fact that the word is not censored. McDermott condemned the word as a “slur” and “insult”.

However, McGowan, who wrote the song in 1987, and who sang it with the late Kirsty MacColl, explained that the word was only used by a character in the song “because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character”.

His statement added: “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.

“Her dialogue is as accurate as I could make it but she is not intended to offend!  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.”

MacGowan stressed that he does not want to get into an argument about the song and has no problem with it being censored during radio airplay.

“If people don’t understand that I was trying to accurately portray the character as authentically as possible then I am absolutely fine with them bleeping the word but I don’t want to get into an argument,” he concluded.

RTÉ has confirmed that the Christmas classic will continue to be played uncensored on RTÉ radio as it has for the past 30 years.

 

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