Gay slur in ‘Fairytale’ was to make char­ac­ter au­then­tic – Mac­Gowan

Irish Independent - - News - Aoife Kelly

SINGER Shane Mac­Gowan has re­sponded to re­cent crit­i­cism of the use of a word which is of­fen­sive to the gay com­mu­nity in his clas­sic Christ­mas song ‘Fairytale of New York’.

A de­bate about the use of the word ‘fag­got’ emerged af­ter a stu­dent news­pa­per ed­i­tor in Lon­don called for it to be bleeped out.

There were also calls from two 2fm DJs to have the lyrics cen­sored. Pre­sen­ter Eoghan McDer­mott took to Twit­ter this week to ob­ject to the word which he con­demned as a “slur” and “in­sult”, while pre­sen­ter Stephen Byrne re­vealed how he felt when he heard it played in a club.

“I stood in a room as over 200 peo­ple screamed a word that’s been used to make me feel like an out­sider, with such joy and cheer,” he said.

RTÉ later con­firmed it would not cen­sor The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s fes­tive hit.

The Pogues front­man is­sued a state­ment to Vir­gin Me­dia Tele­vi­sion’s ‘The Tonight Show’ in re­sponse to calls from the DJs to have the word cen­sored.

Mac­Gowan, who wrote the song in 1987, ex­plained why he in­cluded the word.

“The word was used by the char­ac­ter be­cause it fit­ted with the way she would speak and with her char­ac­ter,” he wrote.

“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 con­tin­ued: “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 went on to say 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.

‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ star Rory Cowan said the song did not need to be cen­sored.

“Non­sense is­sues dis­tract from real ones,” he said.

The de­bate comes days af­ter a US ra­dio sta­tion re­vealed that it had dropped ‘Baby It’s Cold Out­side’ due to a lyric which it per­ceives as out of step with the #MeToo move­ment.

Con­tro­versy: The Pogues singer Shane Mac­Gowan with Kirsty MacColl back in 1987

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