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.