Re: RARA-AVIS: Algren's trip

From: Rene Ribic (
Date: 21 Jun 2002

> Rene wrote:
> "Although censorship was rampant & one of Sydney's 2 Top 40 stations
> run by the Catholic church the line about "giving head" was never
> censored because no-one in Australia knew what the expression meant at
> that time, at least not before "Walk on the Wild Side" came out."
> Tha same must have gone for US radio, as that line was played, but
> "colored girls" was deleted.
Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly used to call his backing band
"The Coloured Girls" (borrowed from the Reed song). He had to change the name to "The Messengers" when he tried to crack the US market. I prefer the original but I can fully understand why the change had to be made - the irony would've gotten lost in the transition to the US & what would've been left would have come across as a racial slur. (I recall TV footage of a couple of decades ago when Muhamed Ali (excuse the spelling) was being interviewed by one of Australia's leading TV personalities/comedians. His famous catchphrase, at the time, was "I like the boy". When he said this to Ali, Ali nearly blew his top & came very close to knocking poor old Bert Newton's block off. He, like most Australians still, had no idea how offensive the term "boy" is to Afro-Americans.It has absolutely none of those connotations here but Ali thought he was being racially denigrated & it took a lot to calm him down. The irony here is that Newton, who can be wickedly funny but with his moon-face & hair transplant is a kind of cuddly icon for Australia's housewives, is renowned as one of the nicest guys in (Aussie) showbiz & the least likely person to denigrate someone like Ali, of whom he was a great admirer. Ali is highly thought of out here both for his sports achievements -and Aussies take sport VERY seriously - & as a man of conscience & integrity who has done a lot for his people.


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