>If it’s Christmas time in Ireland, then it’s prime time for the wall-to-wall broadcasting and performance of “Fairytale Of New York” by the Pogues and Kirsty Mc.Coll.

If there’s anything that’s going to depress me about Christmas, it’s that damn song. It may or may not portray a reasonably accurate depiction of the experience that some people have had (or continue to have) in the run up to Christmas. However, for me, it perpetuates the tiresome stereotype of drunken Irish emigrants in America – ironic that neither Mc.Gowan nor Mc.Coll were first-generation Irish…

It’s particularly galling for me to think that any expression of distaste for the song is met with remarks questioning one’s “Irishness“. That’s a bit like saying that a dislike for the recorded works of Chas & Dave means that one is in some way less “English”.

Of course, over in Ireland, we take things a step further – around Christmas time, our national broadcaster plays a version of the song performed as a spoken dialogue. As if this makes things any better.

The one thing I will say in favour of the song is that it acts as a foil to all those mindlessly positive and optimistic songs one hears at Christmas time. This needed to be done. But did it have to be done within the context of a negative cultural stereotype?

Regards,

djp

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