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Here Comes Everybody: The Story of the Pogues [Paperback]

James Fearnley
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
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Book Description

19 April 2012

October 1982: ABC, Culture Club, Shalamar and Survivor dominate the top twenty when the Pogues barrel out from the backstreets of King's Cross, a furious, pioneering mix of punk energy, traditional melodies and the powerfully poetic songwriting of Shane MacGowan.

Reviled by traditionalists for their frequently fast, often riotous interpretations of Irish folk songs, the Pogues rose from the sweaty chaos of backroom gigs in Camden pubs to world tours with the likes of Elvis Costello, U2 and Bob Dylan, and had huge commercial success with everyone's favourite Christmas song, 'Fairytale of New York'.

Yet, the exuberance of their live performances coupled with relentless touring spiralled into years of hard drinking and excess which eventually took their toll - most famously on Shane, but also on the rest of the band - causing them to part ways seven years later.

Here, their story is told with beauty, lyricism and great candour by James Fearnley, founding member and accordion player. He brings to life the youthful friendships, the bust-ups, the amazing gigs, the terrible gigs, the fantastic highs and the dramatic lows in a hugely compelling, humorous, moving and honest account of life in one of our most treasured and original bands.

Frequently Bought Together

Here Comes Everybody: The Story of the Pogues + The Pogues In Paris - 30th Anniversary Concert At The Olympia + Rake at the Gates of Hell: Shane MacGowan in Context
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (19 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571253962
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571253968
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 252,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'One of the best books I've read so far this year . . . Naturally, Shane MacGowan is the book's focus and fascination, a mixture of personal awfulness and great charm, but this isn't a biography of Shane (though his quote on the front is worth the money alone - 'It's just how I'd imagine I'd remember it') . . . Fearnely also makes sure that this is his book, with great honesty . . . In the end it is the I-was-there insights that make Here Comes Everybody such a good book . . . not just an essential purchase for Pogues fans, but for anyone interested in the reality of being in a band. And what a band.' - David Quantick, Word magazine

'Fearnley's descriptions of Shane MacGowan, the front man of the Irish folk-rock band the Pogues, suppurate with pure deliciousness . . . By 1991, Fearnley 'had ended up hating' the 'Miss Havisham' figure who sat in a darkened hotel room, painting his face silver and refusing to go on stage - and yet his memoir is funny and affectionate, a cackling expectoration of a mad decade as part of the band . . . In his own way, MacGowan is the ideal protagonist - talented, inspired, and halitotic, but flawed. 'My dreams have featured Shane more often than my dad for some time now,' writes Fearnely, touchingly. Read it, and exhale.' --Camilla Long, Sunday Times

'Fearnley is brilliant at conjuring the milieu from which the Pogues sprang, a lost, down-at-heel demimonde of King's Cross squats and housing association flats. If he can't or won't tell you why MacGowan's decline occurred, he describes it in harrowing detail: the screaming fits, the vomiting, his skin 'the colour of grout' . . .Fearnley's book fits perfectly with the Pogues: for all their earthiness, they were a band concerned with myths, from the Irish legends MacGowan's lyrics relocated to the back streets and pubs of north London to the persistent rock'n'roll fable of the damned, beautiful loser. There's nothing romantic about alcoholic self-destruction, as Here Comes Everybody makes clear, but a song as beautiful as A Pair of Brown Eyes can make you believe there is at least while it's playing. In the process, MacGowan became a mythic figure himself: a myth, despite the unsparing detail that Fearnley ends up burnishing.' --Alexis Petridis

'If you think all rock-music memoirs are a mixture of PR fluff, second-hand observations and strategically selected memories, then Here Comes Everybody: The Story of The Pogues is the book to make you change your mind . . . That Fearnley hasn t been quarantined for writing such a warts-and-all tale says much about the band and the bond formed across 30 fractious years. A band of brothers to the very end, then, and with a fine, salty memoir to raise a glass to.' -- Irish Times

'An enjoyable and charming read ... The book whizzes by in a blur of more gigs, more hits, more alcohol-fuelled triumphs and disasters. Fearnely is especially good on the band's eventful 1985 US tour ... Like the Pogue's best work, Here Comes Everybody is anything but streamlined and orderly, and its endless twists and turns pack a mightly wallop.' -- Sunday Business Post

'A frank and funny account of wild times and shattered friendships by the folk-punk outfit's accordion player, James Fearnely. It kicks off as the rest of the group agree to throw out their shambolic frontman.' --Metro

Book Description

All the highs, lows, successes and excesses: a definitive and honest account of the Pogues and their exuberant frontman Shane MacGowan.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book You Don't Read Every Day 19 May 2012
By A Byrne
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
To some people, The Pogues were little more than Shane MacGowan's backing band; to others, they were a band stymied by the self-destructive nature of their gifted lyricist. James Fearnley always maintained that, for him, the band constituted a sabbatical from his preferred choice of career - a writer.

Luckily for those of us who were enthralled by one of the best live bands ever with Fearnley a central figure, we now get the added benefit of Fearnley finally making it into print. His memoir of the hey-day of The Pogues is that of an engaging and honest writer. He is unflinching in relating The Pogues' ascent from ramshackle gigs in tiny pub back-rooms to the heady heights of touring with Bob Dylan and waxes lyrical on what they lost along the way.

MacGowan, inevitably, emerges as the dominant figure. Here a paranoid, truculent, self-obsessed hedonist; there, an engaging visionary with a rarely-equalled talent for songwriting. Fearnley warily tries to maintain a distance between himself and MacGowan while, simultaneously, craving acceptance as an equal from his fellow co-founder of the band. Fearnely is as unsparing about himself and his motives as he is about the other band members and the entire book is written in stylish, elegant prose and underpinned by a subtle humour and observational talent. The portraits of each of The Pogues' entourage are vivid and bring the story of twelve turbulent years to life.

A rock memoir which raises the bar, so to speak.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and enjoyable read 18 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Over the last 20 years or so I have read hundreds of music (auto)biographies. Many are dull and poorly written.

This is a terrific read from beginning to end and covers the late 1970s to 1991 when Fearnley met The Nips.

Throughout Fearnley is erudite, his story and that of his fellow members of the Pogues utterly compelling.

A must read music biography. One of the best undoubtedly.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely done 19 April 2012
This book surprised me. Not because I liked it; I knew I would. Having read Fearnley's Pogues reunion tour diaries I knew he could write, and his frank retelling of the Pogues' private moments captivates. What surprised me was Fearnley's use of, as he puts it, "the tools and sensibilities of a fiction writer." Fearnley was an aspiring writer before he joined the Pogues, telling founders MacGowan and Finer he would only join the band if it didn't interfere with the novel he was writing.
Another surprise is that Fearnley chose not to deal with the reunited 21st Century Pogues. The book opens with the August 1991 band meeting in Japan when MacGowan's mates decided to fire him from the band he started. Then the history of the Pogues' first incarnation is told in a kind of flashback before ending in 1991 onstage during MacGowan's last performance with the band (pre-reunion, that is). The approach works nicely. Fearnley's literary aspirations do, however, sometimes mar the telling. His use of words like "contumely, protean, eidetic, strabismus, febrile, testudo, impecuniousness, crepitations" and "pusillanimous" are a bit over the top.
What I like best about HERE COMES EVERYBODY is Fearnley's candor, from the cover photo to the final sentence, in placing Shane MacGowan at the story's center. As a MacGowan fanatic I've often felt his band mates exhibited ingratitude towards him. While Fearnley makes it clear that MacGowan was responsible for the band's demise, he seems to recognize that their careers were built on Shane's genius. Overall, this book should delight Pogues fans. Rake at the Gates of Hell: Shane Macgowan in Context
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The inside story of the Pogues 29 Jun 2012
By R. Reed
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Pogues produced some of the most incredible moments in rock history. Most famous for the best loved Christmas song - Fairytale of New York and for their drunk and toothless genius front man Shane Macgowan, the Pogues shone like diamonds for 10 or so years before self imploding in a stream of whiskey, bitterness and acid.

James Fearnley the bands accordionist, has written a wonderful bio of the band that in its own right should now be part of the Pogues own back catalogue. He is a rather good writer, almost poetic, his words eloquently describe the chaos and genius of this rabble called the Pogues. The early chapters are set in a stinking, dark, wet, post punk London in the early 80', hanging around Shane, and Jem Finer as they change from small town punks to globally famous Pogues.

At the heart of the story is Shane, the mysterious and somewhat wretched front man. Its interesting to read James account of Shane as it seems James has little idea of where or how Shane manages to write some of the most inspirational and moving songs of all time. Shane is is nihilistic, smashed, very well read, funny, and totally unreliable.

The rest of the band are all just as interesting, from Jem Finer being the bands glue and father figure, Spider Stacy - Shanes best mate, to the very young, pretty, and slightly unhinged Cait O'Riodan. While James himself explains in great detail how they tried to turn Shane songs from 3 cord poems to epics masterpieces.

I love music but tend to avoid band bios and most music books, mainly they are poorly written and self serving. This is the opposite, you get a mix of literature, poetry, violence , tears, dancing, friendship and hate all swimming in a endless vat of booze- which is essentially what every Pogues song is about, so now we have the story to go with it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 7 days ago by miss c kay
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read, if one like that sort of thing.
Published 15 days ago by Carmel Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it but as a fan of almost 30 years ...
I enjoyed it but as a fan of almost 30 years that was always likely. I heard Rum, Sodomy and the Lash when home for Christmas one year and was instantly taken with the combination... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kevin Cunniffe
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book
A very personal and interesting book. I hope to hear more music from this group someday. Fearnley is a good authour.
Published 2 months ago by Håkan Wikell
5.0 out of 5 stars Here comes everybody
Brilliant read.Just finished reading it,now I am going to read it again.A real insight in to an amazing bunch of musicians.
Published 3 months ago by innesevan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
The story of the infamous Pogues. Well written and hilarious in parts. Felt sorry for MacGowan, tortured genius. A great read 5*
Published 5 months ago by Hughie
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC READ
Just finished this informative and very honest story of James Fearnley's life as a founder member of The Pogues. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Lady Jayne
5.0 out of 5 stars sensitive
not what you'd expect from a member of the pogues-he blushes a lot-an unexpected and wonderful angle told from the quiet middle.
Published 8 months ago by Tariq Goddard
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
been a fan for almost thirty years of the pogues found this book entertaining informative and well written,a great read.Highly recommended.
Published 8 months ago by anne
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read
As a Pogues fan, I saw this story from the other side of the bouncers. Reading about what one band-member recalls chimes with what I saw on stage: brilliant concerts followed... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Matthew Jones
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