Sunday, June 05, 2005

He's not logic

This is Shane MacGowan.

 Posted by Hello
He is the guy with fucked-up teeth who is known for beautiful, drunkenly spit/sang songs with a stout Black & Tan blend of Sex Pistols and Clancy Brothers. The guy responsible for delivering one of the most intoxicating, non-traditional Christmas songs--"Fairytale of New York" (aka "Christmas Eve in a Drunk Tank")--with his band, The Pogues.

He was kicked out of that group or left on his own, depending on the source. He claimed it was because his bandmates wanted to take the Irish out of the music ("How can we not be Irish? It would be like the Specials not doing ska or the Stones without R&B"). The rest of the world would probably argue that the relationship ended because of his drinking.

There is a recent documentary airing on OnDemand called "The Shane MacGowan Story." In it, many admirers including non-judgmental Nick Cave surface. Another is Sinead O'Connor. O'Connor is a close friend of MacGowan's longtime girlfriend, Victoria. O'Connor and MacGowan dueted on The Pogues' "Haunted" for the Sid & Nancy soundtrack. Years later, she turned MacGowan in to the police for heroin possession after she arrived at his home dressed as a Catholic clergyman. It was her attempt to shake him awake. It didn't work and their relationship remains strained.

One thing that comes through clear in the film is the brilliance of his music. As one person put it, he seemed meant to write great drink songs. To me, he was a harsh voice singing a tender song. Victoria described him best toward the end of the film, "He's not logic."

Three recommended CDs: The Pogue's "If I Should Fall From Grace"; The Pogue's "Essentials"; Shane MacGowan and the Pope's "Snake".


One footnote. MacGowan and the Popes came to Austin in 2000. I didn't make the show, but read about it. He was drunk, and spent most of the night spouting racial comments about the crowd at La Zona Rosa. Many people walked out. One of them wrote into the Austin Chronicle and said this: "Shane MacGowan is a brilliant lyricist and one pathetically fucked-up human being."

MacGowan is still alive and continues to record and perform.


At 11:29 AM, Blogger princessmalin said...

Now this is a good post. Missed you opining on music, triple-j. Always a lovely read & noteworthy insight.

At 10:23 PM, Blogger Satisfied '75 said...

Man, are his teeth awful.Good dental hygiene and talent dont always go hand in hand it seems.

At 1:29 PM, Blogger CHW said...

I think we should all carry a picture of Shane in our pockets so when we have those really bad hangover mornings we can just pull it out and feel a little bit better about ourselves.


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