Frankie say Relax


It hardly seems possible that a little under 30 years ago, the BBC banned the record “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood from being played on air.  It wasn’t banned from its release, but BBC Radio 1 DJ Mike Read was apparently playing the record on his show when he notices the front cover.  He was appalled at the overt sexual nature of the sleeve and the lyrics – and he pulled it from the air.  This saw the BBC follow suit and ban it from the airwaves, until much later that year. 

Contrast the music scene of today, where there seems to be no boundaries.  Sex, violence, hate – all seem to have little censorship when it comes to music.  There are arguments around that things were different in the day, and it’s kind of hard to work out if it was or it wasn’t.  This is one of the claims around the whole arena of child sexual abuse – that these ‘things’ just weren’t talked about.  Consistently, that’s what those working at the BBC seem to be saying (at least as far as the documentaries show).  As a child of the 70’s and 80’s, it’s hard for me to recall what was around then.  However, it’s clues like this, Frankie, that allow us to be a bit more detective about what might have been acceptable or not.  It’s when you take a snapshot that you realise that perhaps things have changed in more ways.  I simply can’t imagine the BBC taking such a righteous position these days – about anything very much.

It gives me hope that we can progress, that these ‘difficult’ subjects can be talked about.  That change can happen.  Goodness knows we need it to.  We need it in the UK, but my goodness a whole sexual revolution needs to take place in India.  Sexual violence against women in India has been a problem in India for years, but it has taken the brutal rape and tragic death of a young woman to wake up the public, but more the authorities.  Perhaps in a matter of years, they will have a new level of what is acceptable, but instead of it being about what is we listen to, it is about what is right and wrong.