Kiss off: the hit too rude for the ra­dio

The Guardian - G2 - - Passnotes | Shorcuts - Peter Robin­son

These days it’s eas­ily repli­cated by ac­ci­den­tally leav­ing two tabs open in your browser win­dow, but 30 years ago it fell to Chicago house prac­ti­tioner Lil’ Louis to col­lide wob­bly techno and or­gas­mic moan­ing, and in do­ing so he landed an in­ter­na­tional hit with the acid house bel­ter French Kiss.

The track was played on ra­dio at the time, but if you’re a DJ think­ing of drop­ping it in 2018: don’t. This week, the mu­sic blog Chart Watch UK pointed out that Of­com cen­sured the Lon­don dig­i­tal sta­tion 883 Cen­tre­force af­ter a com­plaint about “sex­ual noises” in a mid­day show broad­cast dur­ing the school sum­mer hol­i­days.

As well as French Kiss, the seg­ment had in­cluded a Frankie Knuck­les track fea­tur­ing sex noises, which may have been the cause of the com­plaint. But the long and short of it is that French Kiss, which was rou­tinely broad­cast unedited on the ra­dio in the late 80s, is deemed no longer ac­cept­able for day­time ra­dio. Does Of­com’s rul­ing rep­re­sent a step back for pop; a re­gres­sive move that sug­gests prud­ish­ness has won out?

As ra­dio sta­tions switch to their fes­tive playlists, we are be­ing treated to the very mod­ern Christ­mas tra­di­tion that is the an­nual de­bate over another song from three decades ago – the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s Fairy­tale of New York. De­fend­ers say the song’s pe­jo­ra­tive use of the word “fag­got” was fine in the good old days and should there­fore be fine now, too, even if by “the good old days” they mean that point in the 80s when sec­tion 28 and Aids hys­te­ria led to de­mon­i­sa­tion of the gay com­mu­nity. In any case, you would strug­gle to find an unedited ver­sion of the song be­ing played on the ra­dio in 2018.

It does seem silly that the once-per­mit­ted sound of a lady en­joy­ing her­self is tac­itly banned from day­time ra­dio, and it’s plainly wrong to view that as com­pa­ra­ble to lan­guage that mod­ern au­di­ences gen­er­ally agree is ho­mo­pho­bic. But re­assess­ing pop cul­ture is an im­por­tant part of pop cul­ture pro­gress­ing, and in­vok­ing what those in the le­gal pro­fes­sion re­fer to as the Calvin Har­ris de­fence (“it was ac­cept­able in the 80s!”) is no de­fence at all.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.