Ban songs and you don't deserve to broadcast

First it was a ban on Baby It's Cold Outside '“ now comes a move to bleep out a word from another Christmas classic, Fairytale Of New York.

Friday, 14th December 2018, 9:18 am
Updated Friday, 14th December 2018, 10:20 am

The time, energy and emotion wasted on this social media froth is bewildering.

If taking offence became an Olympic sport, there are a few countries who would beat us to the gold medals.

Baby It’s Cold Outside was dumped by a radio station in Ohio amid concerns its lyrics, penned in the 1940s, were slightly creepy in this #metoo era.

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Well, they possibly are if you choose to discount the story about the creation of the song for a husband and wife to perform and then take them out of context.

And now, surprise, surprise, the ‘ban’ has been lifted following a backlash. Or ‘common sense’ as I like to call it.

Now, Fairytale – the most evocative, beautifully written festive song ever – faces having the last word of that wonderful line “you scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot” bleeped on the grounds it is offensive to gay people.

Folk like ... rugby ref Nigel Owens who responded brilliantly: “Seriously now, if we don’t stand up to this stupidity then society is broken. If you are so easily offended by something then don’t bloody listen to it and switch it off or change channels. I will be listening every day now.”

But campaigners – and by that, I mean some student who wrote a paper on it and some radio bloke, hardly a mass movement – want it gone.

The irony of commercial radio stations actually kidding on they care about music is, of course, not lost of many.

The days when DJs actually chose the songs they could broadcast have been replaced by a homogenised, repetitive playlist which consists of Bruno Mars, Olly Murs, and not much else.

Any station which bans music deserves to be stripped of its licence. Any DJ who actively goes out of his or her way to bleep any lyric from Fairytale should have the sleeves of their whacky Christmas jumper wrapped round their necks. Tightly.

When they muted the word “drug” from Nickelback’s “Rock Star” it simply left audiences wondering if the dealer they had on speed dial was maybe someone specialising in antiques. Another radio-friendly edit that simply made no sense, and treated us like idiots.

Add in the manufactured outrage of the past week, and it is clear we are losing the plot.

There are lyrics to songs down through the decades that probably don’t sit as easily in 2018 as they did when they were first written.

But where do you start, let alone stop – and exactly who decides what is offensive? Is it now a case of whoever shouts loudest on social media that wins? That cannot be right.

The best way to combat this nonsense over ‘Fairytale’ is to phone up your local radio station and request it plays it every single hour 
of every single day – it’ll make a pleasant change from yet more Bruno and Olly – and then turn the volume and sing at the top of our voices.