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"You scumbag, you maggot / You cheap lousy *BEEP*"
December 21, 2007 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Fairytale of New York... censored! No, not now... Shane will make 50 this Christmas... Sadly not Kirsty.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (89 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dear Santa

I would like a well ending for this thread. Also a rocket-launched pony.

Timmy
Aged 3
posted by DU at 10:12 AM on December 21, 2007


Hurrah!

Play it properly or not at all.
posted by Artw at 10:14 AM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Greatest Christmas song ever. KT Tunstall just released a nice cover of it, too.
posted by jbickers at 10:15 AM on December 21, 2007


Nothing against KT, but covering this particular song seems wrong; it's so uniquely right as it is. Oh, and the article linked under the "Sadly not Kirsty" in the FPP contains the phrase "tunefully cocked a snook," which made me snicker at British people. You all talk funny.
posted by jonson at 10:16 AM on December 21, 2007


This is such a great song. I'm glad to see a post about it.
posted by OmieWise at 10:17 AM on December 21, 2007


The same thing happened in the 1980s with Money for Nothing. Dire Straits weren’t calling anybody a faggot, they were just singing a song about a character who was calling someone a faggot. There’s a difference, isn't there?
posted by bondcliff at 10:18 AM on December 21, 2007


Also, previously on this topic.
posted by jonson at 10:19 AM on December 21, 2007


Damn. Kirsty. I saw her at the El Mocambo years ago and didn't know it would be the last time ever. Her stage fright showed, but it was still an awesome night.
posted by maudlin at 10:20 AM on December 21, 2007


I listen to RTE (Irish) radio at work and have heard this song approximately 17 million times already this morning. Instead of bleeping out the naughty words I wish they'd outright ban the damn thing.
posted by jamesonandwater at 10:22 AM on December 21, 2007


Popjustice made a good stab at backing the original decision.

(plus they've appended the actual best Christmas record ever to the end)
posted by cillit bang at 10:23 AM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


From the Guardian article...

MacGowan's other claim to fame springs from his childhood in north-west Tipperary. He says his parents gave him Guinness and whiskey as a child because they believed those who are denied drink when young turn into alcoholic adults.

Heh... WHOOPS!
posted by BobFrapples at 10:23 AM on December 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is my favorite Christmas song.

And I didn't know Kirsty McColl was dead. Or I forgot it. Or thought I dreamt it. I am sad now.
posted by tkchrist at 10:24 AM on December 21, 2007


Shane will make 50 this Christmas, sadly not his teeth.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:24 AM on December 21, 2007


That song is the only good thing about Christmas.

/kicks a reindeer
posted by Brockles at 10:24 AM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Timmy
Aged 3


3 years old and knew to hyphenate the phrase "rocket-launched?"

Timmy is a genius. We should listen.
posted by tkchrist at 10:28 AM on December 21, 2007


And I didn't know Kirsty McColl was dead. Or I forgot it. Or thought I dreamt it. I am sad now.

Same here. Anyone who gets both David Gilmour and Johnny Marr to play together on her solo album has something going on. She was brilliant.

(And I feel like Claire Daines in U-Turn when she finds out that Patsy Cline is dead)
posted by The World Famous at 10:29 AM on December 21, 2007


n00bs always want rocket-lawnchairs.
posted by Artw at 10:31 AM on December 21, 2007


Man, I love the Pogues. I saw them for the first time last spring, a decision made mainly because it occurred to me that Shane MacGowan might be leaving us soon. I remain unconvinced that the man can be killed by any traditional means, but I'm pretty sure that one day in the near future, he's going to say "Well, enough of this. I'm offfram bamba blusghfrrrr mmmdrdm," and he'll stumble straight off to Hell.

The day before the show, I received word that due to a mishap onstage the night before, the first of their New York shows would be cancelled. My tickets were for the second show, however, so I was quite pleased to hear that they would go on as scheduled. When the band took the stage, MacGowan didn't walk on with the rest of them; at the mercy of his injured legs and lord knows how many painkillers, he was wheeled on in a chair.

Far from being pitiable, or decrepit, the image of MacGowan in the wheelchair seemed entirely fitting. In the center of the stage, sitting, singing at whatever god damned tempo he wanted with whatever god damned consonants he wanted, he exuded this kind of unholy regal aura. Around him, the band tried desperately to match their playing to his singing, but it was pretty much a losing battle from the get-go. He sat like some horrible glorious demiurge, staring at us through bleary eyes as he croaked a death-rattle that made a mockery out of mere human concepts like Health. The thing that I saw had nothing to do with this world or its music; it was like something out of old forgotten myths, a time-ravaged beast that exists only to ignite and preside over a bacchic frenzy. And indeed, I have no recollection of most of that night -- memories quickly disappeared into the primal realm of dance and drink as that dark god hunched onstage and snarled at us.

Anyway. I have nothing to say about this censorship issue.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:38 AM on December 21, 2007 [44 favorites]


If I made you feel second-best, I'm so sorry; I was blind.
posted by matthewr at 10:41 AM on December 21, 2007


I was going to say that I love this song and it's the only Christmas music I like, but Greg Nog rendered me completely silent. Magnificent.

(Also, at my company's holiday party last night we were trying to imagine a Guitar Hero: Pogues edition. Hilarity ensued.)
posted by kalimac at 10:43 AM on December 21, 2007


One my co-workers HATES the Pogues. This hate is very irrational. And manifests itself ion insufferable physical symptoms. She sighs very loudly whenever I play it. Or groans. Or talsk to me about how horrible alcohol abuse is. And we should not romanticize it at all.

And she really hates the FToNY. I tell her that I hate the Bright Eyes, that she insists on playing on our iTunes Server, however I realize the pain will only last a few scant minutes. It should be a fair trade. She will not bite.

Right now I am abusing my position as her boss and one of the owners by playing FToNY full volume. She is telling me that she could sue me for this. Which I doubt and it would be worth it anyway. I think I may force whiskey shots for the staff.
posted by tkchrist at 10:46 AM on December 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


and he'll stumble straight off to Hell.

Which reminds me, for all the genius of the Pogues (and the Clash-- and Alex Cox, I guess), Straight to Hell is 86 minutes of my life that I want back. I blame Courtney Love.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:47 AM on December 21, 2007


I have physically bumped into Shane MacGowan.
posted by Abiezer at 10:49 AM on December 21, 2007


"Over the next decade he immersed himself in a cocktail of wine, gin and tonic, long island iced tea, port and martini..."

Sounds good to me. Where do I sign up?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:49 AM on December 21, 2007


My Pogues playlist has this song and Haunted, with Sinead O'Connor. I obviously need to get out more.
posted by thanotopsis at 10:49 AM on December 21, 2007


Shane MacGowan, poster child for the British dental industry.
posted by Justinian at 10:53 AM on December 21, 2007


"Shane MacGowan, poster child for the British dental industry."

Yeesh.

Um, maybe that cocktail thing I mentioned before ain't such a bright idea after all.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:57 AM on December 21, 2007


I saw them last year and even diminished as they are (mostly Shane), it was unforgettable.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:59 AM on December 21, 2007


"Shane MacGowan, poster child for the British dental industry."

He's Irish.
posted by Artw at 11:06 AM on December 21, 2007


She is telling me that she could sue me for this. Which I doubt and it would be worth it anyway.

Sadly, she's right.
posted by The World Famous at 11:09 AM on December 21, 2007


He's Irish.

Yeah, but it was less funny that way.
posted by Justinian at 11:10 AM on December 21, 2007


As I said, it's an under-rated Christmas classic.

The Irish Tenors have a version of the song that omits the rougher verse and makes it more like a carol. It was jarring the first time I heard it. I have to admit, as much as I love the original, there is something cool about seeing it sung like a carol. It pales in comparison to the original, but it is still cool. It's kind of like the first time I saw a symphony play rock and roll songs.
posted by dios at 11:15 AM on December 21, 2007


I listen to RTE (Irish) radio at work and have heard this song approximately 17 million times already this morning. Instead of bleeping out the naughty words I wish they'd outright ban the damn thing.

Come to America, where all our radio stations are all Christmas, all the time until sometime early Wednesday morning. And trust me, we have songs here that would make you pray God to be stuck deaf, but no, he will not hear your pleas, for he has cotton in his ears because SOMEONE up there is playing WONDERFUL CHRISTMASTIME for the 86 MILLIONTH TIME and he's about to be SENT BACK DOWN TO BE CRUCIFIED IF HE DOESN'T TURN THAT OFF RIGHT NOW.
posted by dw at 11:15 AM on December 21, 2007


Yeah, but it was less funny that way.

It's a man's life in the British Dental Association.

(plus they've appended the actual best Christmas record ever to the end)

"We were beaten by two queens and a drum machine." -- Shane MacGowan (supposedly)
posted by dw at 11:18 AM on December 21, 2007


He's Irish.

He was born in Tunbridge Wells.
posted by cillit bang at 11:26 AM on December 21, 2007


One of my favorite lyrics has always been "I could've been someone. Well, so could anyone." It runs through my mind whenever I hear someone feel sorry for themselves like that. Or if I start to do it myself.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:28 AM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


He's England-born Irish. (MacGowan was born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK to Irish parents.) "London, You're a Lady" and "The Ould Main Drag" chronicle his relationship to the town, in part. "Lullaby of London" deals most directly with the theme of the Irish Diaspora and the persistene of Irish identity off-isle.
posted by mwhybark at 11:29 AM on December 21, 2007


For god's sake - persisten-c-e.
posted by mwhybark at 11:31 AM on December 21, 2007


damn you, cillit bang, damn you! And damn my over-thoroughness!

/shakes fist, mopes, clutches bottle of Bushmills
posted by mwhybark at 11:33 AM on December 21, 2007


He was born in Tunbridge Wells.
The family were just visiting; he grew up in Tipperary.
posted by Abiezer at 11:34 AM on December 21, 2007


He was born in Tunbridge Wells.

Grew up in Ireland.
posted by Artw at 11:35 AM on December 21, 2007


Nice post. This song is a classic. Kirsty MacColl left this world much to soon.
posted by Sailormom at 11:37 AM on December 21, 2007


I was talking about this at work and I'm afraid to say that the original decision was entirely correct. The link that cilit bang posted above sets out my thoughts pretty well - in particular that reversing the ban makes it clear that calling someone a faggot as an insult is perfectly ok.
posted by patricio at 11:39 AM on December 21, 2007


He was born in Tunbridge Wells.

Grew up in Ireland.


Blaming Irish dentistry isn't as funny.
posted by tommasz at 11:41 AM on December 21, 2007


I listen to RTE (Irish) radio at work and have heard this song approximately 17 million times already this morning.

I’ll trade you 17 million listens of Fairytale of New York for a single listen of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s Santa Clause is Coming to Town.

“Santa gonna bring you a new saxophone this year?”

Please god, make it stop.
posted by bondcliff at 11:42 AM on December 21, 2007


Might I add that there is absolutely no fathomable reason that Shane McGowan should still be alive. It is thoroughly confusing to me that he and Keith Richards are still waking every morning to walk this Earth.

It's like their massive death wishes have been completely and totally ignored while other people who have tried hard to take care of themselves keep having to die when they really, really don't want to.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:45 AM on December 21, 2007


I was talking about this at work and I'm afraid to say that the original decision was entirely correct. The link that cilit bang posted above sets out my thoughts pretty well - in particular that reversing the ban makes it clear that calling someone a faggot as an insult is perfectly ok.

Yes. I find it hard to think for myself as well. I require media outlets to censor offensive content for me. I'm sure if I heard "Fairytale of New York" today, everyone who made me angry would certainly be immediately berated as a faggot.

Now if we can just get someone to start censoring all the offensive ideas on the internet, I'd be able to function as a normal, rounded, perfectly sensible human being.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:49 AM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


miss l., I'm completing the trifecta over here, one damnable agonizing holiday season at a time....
posted by pax digita at 11:50 AM on December 21, 2007


He was born in Tunbridge Wells.

Grew up in Ireland.


More accurately, he lived in Ireland till he was 6, after which he moved with his family moved back to England. He went to school in London, where (of course) is where he began his career.

Might I add that there is absolutely no fathomable reason that Shane McGowan should still be alive.

I know, it's astonishing to me. I truly wish him no ill -- bless him, he's one of the finest songwriters on the planet, hands-down -- but to this day I still don't understand how Joe Strummer has now been in the cold ground for five years exactly (as of tomorrow!), while Shane still walks staggers among us.
posted by scody at 11:56 AM on December 21, 2007


Well, he is a man you don't meet every day.
posted by milquetoast at 12:03 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this post.

I've never really celebrated holidays. I've always wanted to, but my family never notices that there's these silly little events that happen in November and December. The whole world seems to be in a flurry and they just keep walking to their crazy drum.

I get into it as much as I can. Sending cards, gifts, making CDs. Sometimes I even buy a little tree or a Menorah...I'm not really sure which I should do, so I just pick one, or both, or neither.

Anyways, each year I try to get into the Holiday Spirit as much as I can. Some years the "Christmas feeling" hits me like a ton of bricks, repeatedly, and its very nice. I get the warm fuzzies and little sappy thoughts everywhere I go. And I don't feel like a sucker for having them. For brief moments, a suspension of disbelief steps in to silence the inner cynic and snarky narration that dominates all my other thoughts.

Other years the month goes by, and it is like any other. I feel nothing. There are no moments of holiday spirit. Sometimes, because they're not there, I even forget to miss them. And before I know it, it's time to focus on getting the year written correctly on my bills and whatnot.

It's December 21st, and this post gave me that Christmas feeling, for the very first time this year. I found something I didn't know I had lost. What a happy surprise. :)

Y'all are good people.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:05 PM on December 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


There was a really good documentary about the song, (The Story of Fairytale of New York) on tv here a few years ago... If you've not seen it I'd recommend trying to track it down. Though it does feature some horrific cover versions including one particular monstrosity by Ronan Keating...

Every time I see Shane McGowan... especially in the last few years I think 'How are you still alive?'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:10 PM on December 21, 2007


Eyeballkid - you should be in a school playground sometime. The censoring was applicable to daytime airplay on BBC Radio 1 -- the mainstream radio station with a target audience of teenagers. No other stations or non-daytime airplay was affected. The BBC routinely play the "clean" versions of songs, why is this any different?
posted by patricio at 12:15 PM on December 21, 2007


His girlfriend, Victoria Mary Clarke, was once called to his house to find blood gushing from his mouth after he had tried to eat volume three of The Beach Boys' greatest hits.

This is quite possibly the best sentence I have read this year.
posted by Bummus at 12:36 PM on December 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


"The Noelle Coward of her generation"

Is this Noel Coward's funnier sister?
posted by nax at 12:41 PM on December 21, 2007


I'm amazed Shane is still alive and Joe Strummer is dead.
posted by mike3k at 12:50 PM on December 21, 2007


eyeballkid writes "Straight to Hell is 86 minutes of my life that I want back."

Too bad. I loved it.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:52 PM on December 21, 2007


Is this Noel Coward's funnier sister?

There's also a couple of references to "There's a guy walks down the chip shop swears he's Elvis". You wouldn't expect kirstymaccoll.com to be harboring a Mondegreen like that.

Anyway, I think it was a good decision to delete the word, and the reversal just sends the message that a gay slur is acceptable where a racist epithet wouldn't have been. I wouldn't want to spend Christmas listening to someone sing about "Pakis" on mainstream radio, in-character vernacular or not, and I don't see why gay people should have to put up with it, even if only a minority are offended.
posted by teleskiving at 1:01 PM on December 21, 2007


Yeah, the Pogues are great. I especially like that one song of theirs about drinking.
posted by rocket88 at 1:08 PM on December 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


The universe works in mysterious ways. He'll probably outlive all of us.
posted by cazoo at 1:24 PM on December 21, 2007


Saw them play at the Brixton Academy couple of days ago. Amazingly, he never fell over once.
posted by YouRebelScum at 1:33 PM on December 21, 2007


in particular that reversing the ban makes it clear that calling someone a faggot as an insult is perfectly ok.

Absolutely. I'm not that bothered by the fact, in isolation, that the song was censored, but in reversing their decision they have, as the Popjustice link said very well, shown that the BBC's attitude towards derogatory language is up for negotiation with the general public when it comes to us gays and queers and such, in a way it really isn't when it comes to race or religion.

The BBC can just fuck off now, really.

This would probably be the part where I claim to think the song is dire just to be iconoclastic, but to be honest I've been so overexposed to the song over the years I think the only opinion I have left about it is that "faggot" is a rotten thing to call someone, both as a direct insult and as an indication that to be homosexual is something disgusting.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:12 PM on December 21, 2007


If the BBC wouldn't allow those terms otherwise, they just shouldn't play the song--don't mess with bleeping--it's always jarring. (i like that song and it wouldn't be as real without insults--even tho they are totally derogatory--and they're supposed to be)
posted by amberglow at 2:35 PM on December 21, 2007


i coulda been someone...

Well, so could anyone!


: >
posted by amberglow at 2:37 PM on December 21, 2007


what's the BBC radio's policy on rap and its sometimes very derogatory terms for women? Do they bleep those songs too? Do they just not play songs that call women "hos", etc?
posted by amberglow at 2:41 PM on December 21, 2007


Seems a bit stupid to be censoring a song for homophobic lyrics when one of the band members is homosexual.
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:45 PM on December 21, 2007


Why?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:50 PM on December 21, 2007


...and I probably should have typed: "Just like women can be complicit in sexism, so can homosexuals be complicit in homophobia."

Rather than just being all confrontational with "why". Apologies.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:51 PM on December 21, 2007


Do they bleep those songs too?

All the time. Though usually the word is omitted rather than bleeped, so it's not obvious.
posted by cillit bang at 3:08 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's ah Lousy MEATball-ah!
posted by Feisty at 3:08 PM on December 21, 2007


Don't forget Kirsty's New England. But you may choose to forget the video.
posted by quiet at 3:25 PM on December 21, 2007


Anyway, I think it was a good decision to delete the word, and the reversal just sends the message that a gay slur is acceptable

Not censoring something isn't the same thing as saying it's acceptable.
posted by matthewr at 4:21 PM on December 21, 2007


Well, I've been living under a rock for the last few decades and had never heard this song before, so thank you for this post! I loved it instantly, and like miss lynnster, found that line particularly pithy and eloquent. FToNY is now on my list of favorite subversive Xmas songs that let the air out of the holiday balloon. Thanks again and Happy Christmas ... me arse ...
posted by Quietgal at 6:04 PM on December 21, 2007


All I know is the first time the melody swells into "The boys in the NYPD choir were singing Galway Bay" I get goosebumps and teary-eyed. Every time. I love this song.
posted by jokeefe at 8:54 PM on December 21, 2007


Not censoring something isn't the same thing as saying it's acceptable.

Surely censoring it and then uncensoring it, in a very public way, is? Because the message I'm getting from the BBC now, from multiple incidents, is that the BBC will only censor homophobic language if no-one really minds too much. And as I know from multiple conversations, a lot of people are surprisingly defensive of their right to use homophobic language (queer, faggot, gay) in a kitschy, ironic, or just in a "dammit, it's me, I'm dead funny, and everyone knows I don't mean it really" sort of way.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:39 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


"The boys in the NYPD choir were singing Galway Bay
And the bells were ringin' out for Christmas Day."

That's one of my all-time fave couplets.

It's also neat that the song's title is so similar to JP Donleavy's Fairy Tales of New York.
posted by emf at 2:36 AM on December 22, 2007


It's a cool lyric but, unfortunately, the NYPD doesn't have a choir so far as I am aware.
posted by Justinian at 10:11 AM on December 22, 2007


ArmyOfKittens: point taken; no problems with the 'why?' post from my perspective; it's a fair question.

I'm speaking as a straight man, so it seems wrong for me to get offended by the term, if Phil Chevron (openly gay, gay activist, played on the record) was OK with it. I'd also point out that the song is sung in-character - McColl isn't saying that she hates gays, she's singing from the point of view of a character who uses 'faggot' as an insult. I think there's a difference there.

I do think your point about the reversal of the censorship decision is a good one. Care to cite any of the other incidents you refer to, for those of us outside the UK?
posted by Infinite Jest at 5:16 PM on December 22, 2007


This editorial is a decent summing-up of the last time (to my knowledge) this sort of thing came up with the BBC - again within Radio 1. Quick context: a DJ described a ring-tone as "gay"; people complained; the BBC governing board supported him, claiming that using "gay" to mean "rubbish" is perfectly valid amongst the young people; gay people were annoyed, various rights groups got pissed off, and various non-gay-but-relevant groups (anti-bullying and the like) also got pissed off, but to the best of my knowledge the BBC never retracted their statement.

I'd also point out that the song is sung in-character

That's why I don't have a problem with the song in itself. I would be inclined to censor it before the watershed simply because the language is quite offensive but, in the manner of other music with rude words in, after 9pm (say) I'd put it out uncensored. In this I'm explicitly not making a special case for the song, but treating it the same as other songs (and movies and TV shows) that contain racial epithets and swearing. After all, just because British men sometimes call each other "fucking twats" as a term of endearment that's no reason to show that on telly at 6pm.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:50 AM on December 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


This faggot has been a fan of the song since he bought the CD back in '88, and sings along gleefully with that line. It's nice that there are so many people ready to be offended on my behalf but honestly, it's just not necessary here.

In another song, a singer claiming the "it's not me, it's a character I portray" defense might come off as desperate backpedaling, but in something like FoNY, the characters are so well drawn and portrayed, that it seems completely reasonable to me.
posted by jburka at 10:37 AM on December 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


England's Greatest ComedienneTM Catherine Tate just had that ole queen George Michael guest star on her Christmas show. Her character, the irish nurse Bernadette, & he - as a patient - did a karaoke version of FToNY (trust me, it was better than it sounds). He neither flinched nor mugged for the camera when she told him what a faggot he was.

I thought it was a great self-parodying moment, paired with the earlier scene when she sang 'Jitterbug' from' Wake me up before you go-go', and he pleaded with her to shut the fuck up. Some of us have realised when to pick our battles, I guess.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:25 PM on December 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, she is mates with Dr. Who.
posted by Artw at 3:54 PM on December 25, 2007


hey, how was that Titanic/Kylie/Xmas Who special?
posted by amberglow at 6:46 PM on December 25, 2007


Overly loud, from what I've heard.
posted by Artw at 7:36 PM on December 25, 2007


hey, how was that Titanic/Kylie/Xmas Who special?

An improvement on episodes of late (ie Jesus Who) and probably the best Christmas special so far... caveats: my critical facilties were probably dulled by lack of sleep, wine and turkey, there were still plenty of 'WTF RTD!' moments, and all the best bits were ripped wholesale from The Poseidon Adventure, Titanic or past episodes. Still good enough for me to want to attempt the next season even with that 'bloody Tate woman'

Oh and in yesterday's Harry Hill's Christmas Burp, Shane McGowan sang FToNY with a beluga whale... possibly the highlight of my day.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:41 AM on December 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just watched it---ugh--and you're right: way way way too much Poseidon Adventure..and that body count was way too high for a Xmas special.
posted by amberglow at 8:33 PM on December 27, 2007


I just read somewhere that Shane finally had all of his teeth pulled. Sure enough.

And apparently he was born on Christmas in 1957, so he just turned 50.
His liver turned 85, though.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:18 AM on December 31, 2007


Oh, and just by chance from that link I just posted, I actually happened upon (an oddly sober-sounding) 2006 blog entry from Shane himself talking about Fairytale of New York & Kirsty.

I should also mention that today is the anniversary of Kirsty's passing. Six years on, and her killers still haven't been brought to justice. Her mother, Jean, is keeping up the Justice For Kirsty campaign to see that they are, so check out her website for the latest news, and make sure you donate something while you're there. Anyone who has ever voted for Fairytale of New York in one of those umpteen lists of Greatest Christmas Songs: great, thank you, but please put your appreciation to good use by donating to Jean's campaign.

When we do the song live these days, there are people in and around the Pogues who nominate guest singers for the Kirsty part. I leave it to them to argue it out. I can't be bothered with the politics any more than Machiavelli could. To say I have any favourites for that role other than Kirsty is to sully her name. I'm old fashioned like that. Besides, it's hearing the original group playing it that keeps me happy.

The role - and it is a role - frequently goes to Ella Finer, daughter of Jem in the band who co-wrote the song with me. It works fine with Ella, partly as it keeps it in the family, and partly because Fairytale is meant to be a song from an older man to a younger woman. And I knew her before she was born.

In Irish pubs where they still sing together, Fairytale has become as much a standard as Danny Boy or The Fields of Athenry or whatever. So I'm now like the writers of all those other traditional standards, except I'm not anonymous. Or dead. The best surprises in life are the ones you never dream about.

posted by miss lynnster at 12:25 AM on December 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks miss lynnster. I never knew the details surrounding Kirsty's death, only that it involved some sort of boating accident. From the Observer: "'Who really killed my Kirsty?' asks mother"
posted by Sailormom at 1:07 PM on December 31, 2007


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