Christmas? It's time for the Fairytale of New York discourse.

It's a tradition that we never seem to tire of.

Christmas? It's time for the Fairytale of New York discourse.

The recent passing of Shane MacGowan has kicked off the Fairytale in New York discourse a little earlier than usual, but it's such a time-honoured Christmas tradition that we would have got here sooner or later.

First released in 1987, Fairytale in New York was written by MacGowan and performed by the Pogues - with Kirsty MacColl joining MacGowan on vocals for the duet.

Undeniably, it is a great Christmas song - perhaps the greatest of the modern era, leaving Mariah to one side as she's obviously in a league of her own.

Fairytale in New York has the warmth of an Irish folk song but showcases a toxic codependent relationship that is easy to identify with, or at least recognise.

The discourse? The song includes the word faggot - the female character using the word as a barbed comeback as the bitter lovers trade insults.

It was a bit controversial from the start, and - every Christmas - we get a perennial discussion about the problematic nature of the song.

Over the years, MacGowan has been fairly relaxed about it. The band has performed an alternate version that omits the word faggot, and MacGowan has explained that the lyric was intended as authentic language for the character depicted in the song.

The word faggot can carry a lot of emotional weight for many gay men - as well as anyone who exists slightly outside the restrictive confines of traditional masculinity.

For me, when I was growing up, it felt like the ultimate insult - particularly when I was trying to conceal my sexuality from the world. It hurt the most because it was true.

Nowadays, it's a word that I embrace. I am, without doubt, a faggot - I have sex with men. Even if you call me faggot as an insult, it doesn't hurt me - I've got no shame attached to my sexuality anymore. A faggot? Yes, absolutely - correct. And what?

I also don't get upset about the word existing in a derogatory context in popular culture - as we see in Fairytale in New York. Anyone who thinks that calling a man "gay" or "faggot" is a way to diminish him clearly knows nothing about the power that us faggots possess. Trying to use those words as insults says more about you than anything else - "You think faggot is an insult? Oh, you're clearly so basic that you don't warrant any of my attention or energy."

Fairytale of New York takes pride of place on my Christmas playlist, and I sing the lyrics with enthusiasm - always giving some extra volume to "you cheap lousy faggot!"

RIP, Shane MacGowan - you'll always be part of my Christmas celebrations.

The Lyrics

It was Christmas Eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me, won't see another one
And then he sang a song
The Rare Old Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I've got a feeling
This year's for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They've got cars big as bars
They've got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It's no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me

You were handsome
You were pretty
Queen of New York City
When the band finished playing
They howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging
All the drunks they were singing
We kissed on a corner
Then danced through the night

The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing Galway Bay
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day

You're a bum
You're a punk
You're an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God it's our last

The boys of the NYPD choir
Still singing Galway Bay
And the bells are ringing out
For Christmas day

I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can't make it all alone
I've built my dreams around you

The boys of the NYPD choir
Still singing Galway Bay
And the bells are ringing out
For Christmas day

The After Dark edition

If sexed-up Santas are the kind of thing that fuels your fap fantasies, check out the After Dark edition for some extra motivation.

After Dark: Santa
Fuel for your festive fap fantasies.

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