Shane MacGowan defends controversial lyric in Pogues' Fairytale of New York hit


Pogues singer Shane MacGowan has defended the use of the word f****t in his hit Christmas song Fairytale of New York.

The Irishman appeared on Ireland’s Late Late Show over the weekend and was asked about the song lyrics. Some radio stations play an edited version of the 1987 hit after complaints from listeners.

However, MacGowan said he sees no harm with the word as it is all part of the character of the song.

He said: “There is no political correctness to it.

“I’ve been told it’s insulting to gays; I don’t understand how that works. Nobody in the band thinks that’s worth a second thought.”

He said he doesn’t mind if radio bosses edit out certain words and has previously said: “The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character.

Kirsty MacColl singer December 1987
Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan

“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.”

Fairytale of New York was first performed in Scotland at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom over 30 years ago.

Kirsty MacColl, who had not sung live for years, had been persuaded by frontman Shane MacGowan to duet with him on stage.

And in December 1987, a few thousand Scots would see the first version of Fairytale Of New York.

Mark Mackie, MD of Regular Music, says the song’s success was built on its first live performances in Scotland.

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He said: “The soundcheck in the afternoon was the first time they had all performed it in public. I remember listening to it and thinking how amazing it sounded.”

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