Monday, December 10, 2007

Trollied Tuesday: Shane MacGowan

December and the office party season are, to the serious drinker what January and the lose-weight-after-Christmas season are to the serious gym buff. A time to grit your teeth and keep your head down as hoards of amateurs invade your patch for a few weeks.

Still, this year's festive season gives us one particular thing to celebrate. On December 25, Shane MacGowan will be 50. Virtually since the day of his birth in, hilariously, Tunbridge Wells, he's adopted the what-does-not-kill-me-makes-me stronger approach to drink.

And what strength there is in some of his songs. As one of the great laureates of booze – and unlike Tom Waits he hasn't been forced to foreswear the drink – he has managed to capture some of the essential aspects we associate with this time of year: the loneliness, dreams, unrealised and potential unfulfilled until it all fades into a welter of drink and sentimentality.

The obvious thing to do then, would be to post The Fairytale of New York but I'm sure you've all heard it enough times over Christmas. Instead here's my favourite Pogues song: The Sickbed of Cuchulainn. It has many of the aforementioned qualities, including a dash of Christmas-y stuff, but there's a lot more there besides. The picture quality's poor, but I think we can stretch a point, especially for the Gay Byrne cameo at the end

Altogether now:

Do you remember that foul evening
When you heard the banshees howl?
There were lazy drunken bastards singing
Billy in the bowl.

They took you up to midnight mass
And left you in the lurch
Till you dropped a button in the plate
And spewed up in the church.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Quink said...

Tunbridge Wells? Fuck me: I never knew that. I'm more surprised by that than I was when I learned he went to Westminster.

11:33 pm  
Blogger Political Umpire said...

So it's all an act then, on McGowan's part? Admittedly a pretty serious case of method acting, rather like De Niro becoming obese for Raging Bull or Christian Bale becoming anorexic for The Machinist.

I did think it was cruel, however, stating "A time to grit your teeth", not something McGowan's been able to do for as long as anyone can remember.

9:30 am  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Love The Pogues - saw them live a couple of times back in the day, but am somewhat gobsmacked that Shane's a Tun Wells man. Changes your whole perspective.

Puss
(BTW that profile of the town makes no mention of my pole dance classes. Tsk.)

2:49 pm  
Blogger bill said...

Not an act Pol-Ump, but I do think he's over-compensating somewhat. (You can also note the faux Dublin – sounds like a D4 trying to sound like a northside gurrier – accent he's using for RTE. He's more of a Cockernee in the way he speaks.

I know a few children of Irish parents who've spent most of their lives in Britain, but who still feel more of an attachment to the ould sod – call it wild geese syndrome if you want to be romantically sympathetic, which I do – Shane's not that unusual in that.

Puss - do a pole routine set to the Pogues' greatest. You know it's a good idea.

11:15 pm  

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