He wants the song to "retain its outlaw spirit and its dignity..."

Nick Cave has entered the discourse surrounding The Pogues' Christmas song 'The Fairytale Of New York'.

The song's use of the f-word has become the subject of debate in recent times, with some suggesting that the single shouldn't be afforded the lavish airtime it has enjoyed so effectively since its 1987 release.

Recently, the BBC unveiled new guidelines - Radio 1 would play a censored version, Radio 2 the original, and 6Music would switch between the two depending on the host.

Nick Cave was asked his thoughts on the matter as part of The Red Hand Files, his affectionately honest as-me-anything web-spot.

Declaring the song to be "a lyrical high wire act of dizzying scope and potency" he also discussed his friendship with lyricist Shane MacGowan, saying their relationship was "a great privilege".

Discussing the lyrics, Nick Cave writes:

It never looks down on its protagonists. It does not patronise, but speaks its truth, clear and unadorned. It is a magnificent gift to the outcast, the unlucky and the broken-hearted. We empathise with the plight of the two fractious characters, who live their lonely, desperate lives against all that Christmas promises — home and hearth, cheer, bounty and goodwill.

The BBC has recommended the use of a subsequent edit of the song - approved by co-vocalist Kirsty MacColl - that utilises 'haggard'.

In response, Nick Cave comments: "The idea that a word, or a line, in a song can simply be changed for another and not do it significant damage is a notion that can only be upheld by those that know nothing about the fragile nature of songwriting."

He continues: "Radio 1 should have made the decision to simply ban the song, and allow it to retain its outlaw spirit and its dignity."

Nick Cave finishes: "In the end, I feel sorry for Fairytale, a song so gloriously problematic, as great works of art so often are, performed by one of the most scurrilous and seditious bands of our time, whose best shows were so completely and triumphantly out of order, they had to be seen to believed."

"Yet, time and time again the integrity of this magnificent song is tested. The BBC, that gatekeeper of our brittle sensibilities, forever acting in our best interests, continue to mutilate an artefact of immense cultural value and in doing so takes something from us this Christmas, impossible to measure or replace. On and on it goes, and we are all the less for it."

Find the full letter HERE.

Clash explored the notion of the Red Hand Files at length in 2018 - re-visit that feature HERE.

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