BBC Radio 1 will not play the original version of Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl this Christmas, seemingly because it thinks its audience of snowflakes will be easily offended by the lyrics.
Radio 1 said young
listeners were particularly sensitive to derogatory terms for gender and sexuality. It will instead play an edited version with different lyrics sung by MacColl. A BBC spokesman said:
We know the song is considered a
Christmas classic and we will continue to play it this year, with our radio stations choosing the version of the song most relevant for their audience.
The new edited version changes two lines - one swapped for an alternative version in
which MacColl sings You're cheap and you're haggard in place of You cheap lousy faggot.
In Radio 1's newly-edited version, another unspecified line, sung by Shane MacGowan in the second verse, has a
word removed entirely.
But the 1987 original will still be played on Radio 2, while 6 Music DJs can choose between the two versions.
The duet is one of the most enduring Christmas pop songs, having returned to the UK top 20 every year since
2005. MacColl originally sang the censored line on Top of the Pops in 1992. The same wording was used by Ronan Keating and Moya Brennan in their 2000 cover version. When Ed Sheeran and Anne-Marie performed the song in Radio 1's Live Lounge in
2017, she opted to call him a cheap lousy blagger.
Paris Opera is getting into a spin about race and diversity in its ballets and operas.
400 of its staff (about a quarter of the total) have signed an open letter calling for an end to the silence that surrounds racism.
The letter calls
for a ban on blackface in its operas and ballets and for pointe shoes and tights to match dancers' skin colour, a practice already commonplace in Europe's major ballet companies. The letter also calls for a ban on use of the word 'nigger' in the dialogue
In response, the opera's director Alexander Neef has launched an external investigation into the claims, with a report to be published by December. Neef asked investigators to examine the ballet blanc, the tradition of female dancers
all wearing white tutus or dresses, as well as other issues.
The Jam's anti-racism anthem Down in the Tube Station at Midnight was a song released with a message in 1978. It had a powerful message, too strong for the BBC who thought that the track wasn't acceptable to play on the radio and, subsequently,
chose to ban it.
The track was met by hostility, eg when BBC Radio 1 DJ Tony Blackburn complained that it was disgusting the way punks sing about violence: Why can't they sing about trees and flowers?
Blackburn was not alone in the BBC
as a figure who hated everything about the song and the broadcaster decided, at the time, that they had no choice but to ban the track from receiving airplay due to its disturbing nature.
The Jam knew that making Down in the Tube Station at
Midnight as a single would be a bold move, one which would anger some quarters who simply wanted the music to be lovey-dovey and, in truth, not to reflect back at societal issues--a pivotal reason why they released it.
The Jam were three albums in and
had become an unstoppable force of nature so, if the BBC thought that there ban would nullify the message, they were wrong as it became their second UK Top 20 hit, much to the delight of Tony Blackburn no doubt.
Polish public radio has censored an anti-government song that topped the charts and was then removed from the station's website.
Kazik's Your Pain is Better than Mine is widely seen as criticising the head of Poland's ruling nationalist
The station director has claimed the chart was fixed, but MPs from the ruling party as well as the opposition have condemned the song's removal. ?
The song's theme is grieving and the lockdown of the nation's cemeteries during the
coronavirus outbreak. Kazik Staszewski's song doesn't mention Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of Law and Justice, by name, but his target is pretty clear.
When cemeteries were closed, Kaczynski still visited the Warsaw grave of his mother and the graves
of victims of a Russian air disaster in Smolensk in which his twin brother, President Lech Kaczynski, was killed. By Friday, Kazik's song had topped Poland's renowned chart on Radio Three, highlighting a sense of one law for ordinary Poles and another
for the ruling party's leader.
Shortly after the chart show was broadcast, internet links and news about the veteran singer's hit were disabled on the website of Radio Three, known as Trojka.The chart is voted on by Trojka listeners and station boss
Tomasz Kowalczewski insisted it had been manipulated: We already know for sure that this song did not win. It was manually moved to number one. In other words, it was fixed for sure, he claimed.