We hope you have a nice Christmas, whether it's cleaning up wrapping paper, watching marathons on TV or eating Chinese food. While we've looked at some classic Christmas songs in years past (including Run DMC's Christmas in Hollis), we want to highlight the Pogues' and Kirsty MacColl's Fairytale of New York, about a couple whose Christmas is anything but merry in a drunk tank.
Earlier this month, the Guardian offered a wonderful history about the making of the song and its subsequent popularity over the past 25 years. The Pogues made their first US tour the prior year, and singer Shane MacGowan recalled, "It was a hundred times more exciting in real life than we ever dreamed it could be It was even more like New York than the movies!" According to the Guardian, "After their debut at a club called the World, their backstage visitors included Peter Dougherty, who came to direct the video for Fairytale of New York, and actor Matt Dillon, who appeared in it. MacGowan remembers Dillon, the rising star of Rumble Fish and The Outsiders, kissing his hand and saying: 'I dig your shit, man, I love your shit!'"
The Pogues shot the video in New York during Thanksgiving week. The air was bitterly cold and fairy lights twinkled in the trees. Matt Dillon played the NYPD officer who arrests MacGowan but he was too nervous to manhandle him until the shivering singer snapped: "Just kick the shit out of me and throw me in the cell and then we can be warm!" Contrary to the lyrics, the NYPD didn't have a choir, so Dougherty hired the force's pipe band instead. When it turned out that they didn't know Galway Bay, they mouthed the only lyrics they all knew: the Mickey Mouse Club chant.