Enjoy 101 different versions of "Fairytale of New York"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/12/27/enjoy-101-different-versions-o.html


Nice cover. I’ve been listening to Walk off the Earth’s version this Christmas. For those who don’t know, this is just past the nineteenth anniversary of Kirsty MacColl’ s death in a horrible boating incident in Mexico

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It’s hard to tell how much of the “it’s perfect” is supposed to be sarcasm, but nearly everyone in my social circle who talks about the song commiserates about the anxiety they feel when homophobic slurs are played uncensored and the public at large delights in singing along and emphasizing the word, knowing they’re saying something taboo and hurtful but able to get away with it because of the song.
(for those of you wondering, it’s the rhyming line after “maggot”)

I genuinely think the song is perfect for the reasons I explained here — but that doesn’t mean that I approve of the use of that particular word. Quite the opposite, in fact. I think people are rightly justified in being outraged and disgusted at it. That being said, I think that it is sadly, disgustingly fitting in the fictional context of the song. As MacGowan himself has said: these characters aren’t meant to be good people. And that’s the moment that really seals the deal.

When I sing it myself in English, I usually swap out “braggart.” I’ve heard that Kristy MacColl used to change the line to “you’re cheap and you’re haggard,” which is even better. I don’t think that either one cheapens the moment or anything — they’re clearly both still terrible people.

In short: I completely understand and respect MacGowan’s use of that word in a fictional context. I also completely understand and respect that people find it (rightly) abhorrent.


Do they also cringe at movies when it’s used as legitimate dialogue that is part of the characters or story arc?

The song is a story. They are characters. But I totally get swapping the terms out in a casual environment.

The difference is the experience they feel anxiety over isn’t one that they paid money for, voluntarily put themselves in a situation to experience characters, it’s grocery shopping or eating fast food or just walking down the street. It’s outside of their control. Sure it’s nice if others tone it down for a more appropriate general audience performance, but too many don’t, and that can induce stress and anxiety.

Alexa Goddard & Brett Domino’s duet is missing:


that late late show is perfect! hilarious/sad/annoying/tired/draw out/over the top.

just like the song.

my god am I sick of that song, having been in an ‘irish’ folk band. it’s only marginally less annoying than the wild rover.

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I haven’t read the book in over 40 years; I wonder if it stands up?

Some BBC viewers worried about the use of faggot too.

Perfect for some; Meh for others (like me)
I never could get into that style of music. Seems phoney or jokey to be doing it in the late 20th century. I understand how it is good, musically - just like I understand how Lord of the Riverdance is talented, yet it seems like a ‘put on’.

Some years ago I got to see McGowan perform in Queens, and he was less tired, but also almost completely free of teeth. We were standing on one side of the stage, probably less than twenty feet away from him, and couldn’t understand a damn thing he was saying.

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