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A Book You Don't Read Every Day,
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This review is from: Here Comes Everybody: The Story of the Pogues (Paperback)
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.