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Festive fairytale: How The Pogues stole Christmas

It was Christmas day, babe – 1957 – and a child in Pembury, Kent, was born to bring drunken, miserab..

It was Christmas day, babe – 1957 – and a child in Pembury, Kent, was born to bring drunken, miserable cheers to the world.

The baby was Shane MacGowan and, 30 years after his birth, his Celtic punk band The Pogues would release Fairytale Of New York, an anti-Christmas song about lost dreams and disillusionment.

Fast forward another 30 years, and this holiday downer filled with bums, drunks and punks remains a Christmas essential in any half-decent medley. But why?

What makes this tale of a down-on-luck couple cursing in the streets of New York stand side-by-side with Bing Crosby's White Christmas?

Image:Not your typical Christmas choir – The Pogues in 1987

Over two years in the making, the song is the band's most famous and, in a way, the most representative of its lead singer.

Written by MacGowan and The Pogues' banjo man Jem Finer, Fairytale was nearly titled Christmas Day In The Drunk Tank, and its action set in Ireland instead of New York.

But MacGowan's fascination for a cinematic version of 1940s America, the film score to Sergio Leone's Once Upon A Time, his admiration for Frank Sinatra and the fact that he was reading JP Donleavy's A Fairy Tale Of New York at the time changed the song forever.

The story thus focused on an Irish immigrant who, on Christmas Eve, is arrested for drunken behaviour and dreams of his long lost love.

The story of how MacGowan and Finer ended up writing a Christmas song is as murky and confusing as the lyrics, with Finer saying it all started with a song about a sailor and MacGowan promising it was all a bet with Elvis Costello.

"He bet us we couldn't come up with a Christmas hit without selling out our street cred," MacGowan said.

"Although we did some other great numbers, and had some other hits, that's the one that people remember, probably because it was a Christmas hit that wasn't all about jingle bells and happy Christmas and all of that s***!"

19-year-old Shane MacGowan, editor of punk rock magazine 'Bondage' in his office at St Andrews Chambers, Wells Street, London. He went on to front The Pogues. Original Publication: People Disc - HJ0379 (Photo by Sydney O'Meara/Getty Images)
Image:MacGowan at 19, with his punk rock magazine Bondage in his office in London

Costello initially backed the single, which was originally meant to be performed by MacGowan and Costello's then wife Cait O'Riordan, the band's bassist.

But in 1986 O'Riordan left the band and MacGowan, and an unexpected rendition by singer Kirsty MacColl, who was at the time married to the band's new producer, ended up as the final take.

"I was madly in love with Kirsty from the first time I saw her on Top Of The Pops," MacGowan said.

"She was a genius in her own right. She could make a song her own and she made Fairytale her own."

The song's long and convoluted production history tells more about MacGowan than about anyone else in the band, and more than anything else he has ever done.

Behind the worst set of teeth in music history and an addictive personality which would brand him as either "a genius or a f****** idiot", MacGowan hid an extremely perfectionist and creative personality.

"He meant business, much more than before," James Fearnley recalled in his biography.

"It was awe-inspiring to see him in the rehearsal room with his suit on and an attitude."

The Pogues
Image:MacGowan's personality can be seen all over Fairytale's lyrics

MacGowan would later confess to see himself reflected in both Fairytale characters – the man and the woman – one of which was a bum and the other a drunkard.

In the end, the song revolved around MacGowan's persona, his music and film interests and his lifelong fascination with post-war New York.

Fairytale starts with a flashback and goes on to destroy our misconceptions of Christmas time under the mistletoe. It's the ghost of Christmas past and present in their worst possible form, but ends up on a surprising and largely overlooked positive note.

As the man turns to the woman and screams "I could have been someone!", and the woman iconically replies "Well, so could anyone", she then accuses him of stealing her youthful dreams.

"I kept them with me, babe," he then replies, as the song reaches the end.

"I put them with my own. Can't make it all alone – I've built my dreams around you."

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And thus, what seemed like the most depressing Christmas carol ever written ends on a note of hope, love and "bells ringing".

No wonder it's one of the most listened to Christmas songs of all time.

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The post Festive fairytale: How The Pogues stole Christmas appeared first on News Wire Now.

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Big Brother will return next year on ITV2 and online

Big Brother, one of the original UK reality TV shows, will return to screens in 2023, years after being axed by both Channel 4 and later Channel 5.

The show, which launched careers of ITV presenter Alison Hammond and Radio 1 DJ Adele Roberts, will be revived by ITV2 and new streaming platform ITVX.

A promotional video aired during the Love Island series finale on Monday evening.

Officials said the famous house will return with a “contemporary new look”.

The returning programme – which was originally on for 18 years – will see a cast of “carefully selected housemates from all walks of life” live together under strict surveillance for up to six weeks.

Similar to previous editions, the public will regularly vote contestants off in live evictions, as well as deciding on an overall cash prize winner.

“This refreshed, contemporary new series of Big Brother will contain all the familiar format points that kept viewers engaged and entertained the first time round, but with a brand new look and some additional twists that speak to today’s audience,” said Paul Mortimer, ITV2’s reality TV chief.

“We’re beyond excited to bring this iconic series to ITV2 and ITVX where it should especially engage with our younger viewers.”

The series, which takes its name from the all-seeing ruler in George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, first appeared on Channel 4 in 2000, and was won by Liverpudlian builder Craig Phillips.

It was influential, both as a public social experiment and also in creating a new form of celebrity, with normal people prepared to have their every waking (and sleeping) moment caught on camera and broadcast to the world.

Celebrity editions aired, featuring the likes of Katie Price, Gemma Collins and Mark Owen.

Despite its early success and influence, the National TV Award-winning programme soon found itself embroiled in controversy over reports of bullying, racism, fixing, and general toxic behaviour in the house, with complaints being made to both the police and Ofcom.

The show moved to Channel 5 in 2011 but was axed in 2018 amid a ratings slump. Channel 5 controller Ben Frow later said he had no regrets over the decision and that the media landscape had become “very crowded with reality shows”.

‘Jumping the shark’

Speaking on the BBC Sounds Podcast, Unreal: A Critical History of Reality TV, this summer, Big Brother’s creative director Philip Edgar-Jones said audiences “very clearly hated it” when producers intervened in the programme too much.

“We call it ‘jumping the shark’ in television, when you the hand of the producer is too overt and you feel like the show has therefore lost that sense of authenticity – that’s when the audience gets more angry.

“Being authentic to the show, you create this world with its own internal logic, and you can’t break that internal logic, otherwise you break the magic and you lose the trust of the audience.”

At the time, Big Brother producers said they were open to “future possibilities”, apparently leaving the door open for a return one day.

Irish singing duo Jedward, the identical twin brothers who twice appeared on the celebrity version of the show, have made an early bid online to host the returning series.

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Kim Kardashian ‘wasn’t planning on’ a relationship with Pete Davidson

Kim Kardashian did not see loe coming with Pete Davidson.

In a conversation for Hoda Kotb’s “Making Space” podcast, Kardashian explained that she’d been single for about 10 months before she was ready to date again.
“I think that, you know, sometimes things happen when you just least expect it. It was the last thing that I was really planning on,” she said, “And so when it did happen, we were kind of, like, ‘Oh, my God, I wasn’t planning on this. And this isn’t even what I was thinking of,’ and it just makes it that much sweeter and so much more fun.”
In February 2021, Kardashian filed for divorce from Kanye West.
Kardashian and Davidson appeared in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch together last fall where they shared a kiss. They became Instagram official in March.
“I definitely took my time,” Kardashian said. “I took, you know, 10 months or something before I dated or talked to anyone. And I just wanted that time to really figure out and go through the motions: ‘Am I making the right decision? How do I feel about this?’ So once I went through all of the motions, I finally was, like, ‘OK, guys, I am so ready to meet someone.’ And I randomly did.”
Despite their very public relationship. Kardashian says she is keeping some aspects of her time with Davidson private.
“I do think that I am holding, you know, a little bit more close to my heart on certain aspects of my relationship with Pete, and it feels good just to know that, like, we have this connection and we have our little bubble of a relationship world that we live in that, like, not a lot of people know about,” she said.
For now, Kardashian said just being with Davidson puts a smile on her face.
“We were driving in the car yesterday and I just, like, looked at him and I was like, ‘Thank you.’ And he was like, ‘What?’ And I was like, ‘For running errands with me, like, this is so much fun just to, like, go to a doctor’s appointment or go to the dentist and just, like, run errands. I’m having so much fun.'”
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007 film must treat Bond girls properly, says Waller-Bridge

Fast cars, martinis and Bond girls are core parts of the formula for 007 films, but one of those ele..

Fast cars, martinis and Bond girls are core parts of the formula for 007 films, but one of those elements is set for a change in the latest adventure.

Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is working on the script for the 25th Bond film, is on a mission to make sure the movie will "treat women properly" – even if the spy does not.

Image: Cast members (l-r): Lea Seydoux, Ana de Armas, Naomie Harris and Lashana Lynch at the launch of the new Bond film

Ahead of the release of the as-yet-untitled film, Waller-Bridge told Deadline: "There's been a lot of talk about whether or not (the Bond franchise) is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women.

"I think that's b*******. I think he's absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow.

"It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly.


"He doesn't have to. He needs to be true to this character."

Sean Connery and Mie Hama in You Only Live Twice, 1967
Image: The Bond films have been criticised for their sexism
Dr No turned Sean Connery into an international superstar
Image: Dr No featured the famous scene with Ursula Andress walking out of the sea in a white bikini

Waller-Bridge says she intends to ensure the female characters, including those played by Lashana Lynch, Lea Seydoux and Ana de Armas, feel "like real people ".

More from Phoebe Waller-bridge

She added: "I just want to make sure that when they get those pages through, that Lashana, Lea and Ana open them and go, 'I can't wait to do that'.

"As an actrRead More – Source (more…)

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