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Here Comes Everybody: The Story of the Pogues Paperback – 19 Apr 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (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 (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,458 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

Here Comes Everybody: The Story of the Pogues, by James Fearnley, contains all the highs, lows, successes and excesses, in a definitive and honest account of the Pogues and their exuberant frontman Shane MacGowan.

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Byrne on 19 May 2012
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Andrew T. on 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. Reed on 29 Jun. 2012
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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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bob Mamrak on 19 April 2012
Format: Paperback
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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