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A Drink with Shane MacGowan Paperback – 8 Mar 2002
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'A welter of colourful yarn and lecture based indiscriminately on deep knowledge and fathomless ignorance...' -- Q
'Frank, funny and fascinating.' -- Loaded
'Tells his mythic life story in the form of a number of rambling, yet intriguing conversations...' -- Justine Picardie, Daily Telegraph
'This endearing memoir... is Irish rock, distilled.' -- Sunday Times
'Unexpectedly excellent results... the insights into his massive ego, music-making and death-wish lifestyle are truly wicked.' -- Mirror
Hell-raiser Shane MacGowan's acclaimed and surprisingly lucid memoir.See all Product description
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To those who only know Shane MacGowan as a performing musician it may come as a great surprise to discover his literary and religious aspects. Shane talks lucidly of Tolstoy, Sholokhov, Joyce, WB Yeats, Bernard Shaw, Brendan Behan while later elucidating his views on Catholicism, Taoism. Here Shane MacGowan reveals a depth of commitment that goes way beyond a simplistic skimming of the surface or a momentary adherence to the latest " life changing fads ". Shane MacGowan is most definitely his own man.
However this is an " interview " that also embraces extensive coverage of Shane's views on the musical world he knows, his addictions, his state of mental/physical well-being at various stages of his life.
Perhaps the most fascinating revelations are those of his early life, particularly the first six years before his " removal " to England.. Those years probably constitute the key to Shane MacGowan. Their insights alone make " A Drink with Shane MacGowan " well worth the read.
Some of Shane's family and friends and most of the Pogues were rankled by its publication. Spider Stacey claims MacGowan tried to get an injunction taken out to stop it being published but Victoria Clarke was so upset that he relented. The problem was that MacGowan had said some pretty offensive things about his fellow Pogues, and especially about their manager, Frank Murray. Moreover, he was not reluctant to take credit for the Pogues' success. One would assume the other Pogues were particularly embittered that Shane attributed the Pogues' original demise more to his bandmates' "egomania" than to his substance abuse. He asserts that by the end of his first stint with the Pogues the others in the band hated him and were "using" him. There's little doubt that MacGowan knew A DRINK WITH SHANE MACGOWAN would ruffle feathers. The last page of the book is a handwritten "uncoditional apology" (sic) from Shane to the Pogues and Frank Murray. MacGowan never denied having said any of the things in the book; he just contends he should have been more circumspect in comments destined for publication. He explained to a journalist, "If it had been somebody other than Victoria, then I woulda watched what I said a lot more."
The book has been roundly criticized for its style. It's not really a biography, however. For the most part it consists of MacGowan flying high and rambling into a tape recorder. The ramblings are presented, it would appear, largely unedited. If you can handle that, you'll find it contains marvelous insight to the troubled genius that is Shane MacGowan.
Rake at the Gates of Hell: Shane MacGowan in Context
Here instead Shane spouts his own murky blatherings to his Mrs and the tape recorder picks it all up, including Victoria's blunt & sometimes annoying questions & Shanes self aggrandising bull. There are raucously funny moments though, Shane describing how he painted himself blue on tour in New Zealand after Maori ghosts had persauded him to redecorate his hotel room, or where he's trying to persaude Victoria that Brandy is a truck load more deadly than crack cocaine.
His memories of childhood Ireland are intense as well, and his sensitive and depthy knowledge of Irish literature reveal a very clever man, who really never recovered from the break up of his beloved Pogues, which is evident in the bitter way he talks about them.
If your looking for a biography in the classic sense, this isn't it but then Shane is not exactly the 'classic' rock star celebrity. You can feel the warmth and passion of the man though through the pages when one of his rants occasionally ignites into something special. If he's p***ing himself about Samuel Beckett wanting to play cricket for Ireland, or musing on whether he could yet be the first Irish Pope you acn't help but revere the guy. You just have to wade through a bit of drool and spittle to get to the good bits, and at paperback prices it's worth it.
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