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A Drink with Shane MacGowan Paperback – 8 Mar 2002

3.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Paperback, 8 Mar 2002
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Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Reprints edition (8 Mar. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330490087
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330490085
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 386,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


'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

Book Description

Hell-raiser Shane MacGowan's acclaimed and surprisingly lucid memoir.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There's been a few attempts to write the seminal 'Shane Macgowan' story, but all have fallen by the wayside, frustrated by the complications of a 'living' subject, too entangled in his own myth to allow objective scrutiny.
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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Format: Paperback
Most people who know the name Shane MacGowan probably have him pegged as a stereotypical drunken paddy, fronting The Pogues as a whirlwind of frenzied punk inspired folk music and alcohol try to beat him to the floor in a dishevelled and undignified manner. This is because at the time that the band had reached its highest commercial success, it had also become the thing that he had tried to avoid all along, a serious band with one eye on the cash till and the other on the front cover of NME. MacGowan's idea of rebranding Irish folk for the modern era and delivering a tongue in cheek party style performance had long since gone out of the window and in an effort to get through the sad fact that his creation had been hijacked by less imaginative souls, he had taken to sabotaging the band with his drunken and unreliable antics. If that is how you perceive Shane MacGowan then you must read this book.

Even the attitude of the book is chaotically in keeping with this innovative and unpredictable character. It is written in the form of a number of interviews between MacGowan and his long-term partner Victoria Mary Clarke, normally in restaurants, bars or in some cases his childhood home. Even though they are set out as a series of questions and answers, you get the feeling that it all flows naturally like a conversation between two acquaintances should and that Clarke's questions are more of a prompt to keep her subject on track rather than a script upon which to build the book. This does mean that the stories told in the book don't always follow a chronological path through his life but rather form chapters roughly segregated into certain subject areas.
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Format: Paperback
It's hard to give this book five stars but at the same time, impossible not to give it anything less. Shane is such a tragic-comic figure that our heart immediately goes out to him. Whether dispelling all around him as complete charlatans; bemoaning the state of the pop world without the benefit of the Pogues, or having a go at all most everyone who doesn't measure up to his definition of a 'great bloke'... our Shane always makes for highly entertaining, if some what inconsistent reading.
Here the great-man casts his blurry eyes over everything from the importance of Irish literature, the current political problems of the country, his musical influences (everyone from the Dubliners and the Chieftains to Nick Cave and Van Morrison) and of course his infamous past discrepancies. Of course, whether or not any of this is TRUE is uncertain. Shane spins yarns with all the poetic grace of his many literary heroes, but the inconstancy of his stories (as well as the historical inaccuracies) are at times shocking. Maybe we needed a more neutral interviewer as opposed to Shane's wife Victoria Clark, who often allows herself to be argued down by the drunken rocker, instead of clearing up the facts.
This can be a problem, but as I said earlier; this is such an entertaining read that I personally can forgive the lack of clarity and instead, allow myself to be taken along on MacGowan's often-hilarious journey into the past. I'm sure there will be a better book released in the near future that will give us the true background of MacGowan and his fellow Pogues, but for the time being, I'm quite happy to revisit with this... and I'm sure you will be too. I'm gonn'a give it a four.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this on the back of James Fearnley's recent book on the Pogues, wanting to read more about the MacGowan myth but fearing that it would be a more rough-edged experience than the Maestro's memoir. Initially I was irritated by Victoria's prose style (using an adverb with every verb begins to grate in the first paragraph, and she does it for the entire book!) and disappointed that the O'Hooligan-era Shane comes across as simply an unpleasant, egotistical yob. Eventually he does begin to reveal his sensitive, intelligent side if you can make it past the halfway point, but it's not an easy journey. However it is essential reading for fans but be prepared to grit your teeth at times (even if that option's no longer open to MacGowan himself).
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