Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Nick Clegg gets lobbed a question about Radio One ban

On PM last night Nick Clegg was lobbed a question about the Radio One ban (later removed) on "A Fairytale of New York". Did he agree with the ban? - Eddie Mair asked. I thought Nick handled the question very well.

He said he did not know the song and that there would have to have good reasons to ban it. "Can I listen to the song and then get back to you?" he asked.

Good answer. Should a party leader have heard of an old Pogues' song which is 20 years old.. so old, in fact, that one of the singers has died and the other was last spotted lying under a table in a Dublin pub? Of course not. And the Radio One ban was daft anyway, as admitted by Andy Parfitt, Radio One controller, who lifted the ban.

I suspect this hoo-hah will guarantee enormous sales for the Pogues disc this Christmas.

Bans always do. Ever heard of Judge Dredd? Not many people have. But he had several big hits simply because Radio One routinely banned his "Big" records ("Big Seven", Big Eight" etc). And the Sex Pistols "God Save the Queen" would never have got to Number One if it hadn't been for Radio One banning it.

Newsnight raised an interesting historic note about bans. "My little stick of Blackpool rock" by George Formby got into hot water with the BBC:

The BBC's Dance Music Policy Committee, who were later to ban Bobby Darin's Mack the Knife and the scandal-hit Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg song Je T'Aime... took great issue with George's Little Stick of Blackpool Rock. Ooo-er!

Presumably Gracie Fields "Biggest Aspidistra in the world" (clearly phallic), "Teddy Bears' picnic" (connotations of forestial orgies) and Chuck Berry's "My ding-a-ling" (in many ways a mickey-take of censorship) fall into a similar bracket.

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