Thursday, November 30, 2023

R.I.P. Shane McGowan

I suppose this shouldn't come as a shock since we've known he'd been ill for quite awhile: Shane McGowan died today. Photos from his and his wife's social media painted a heartbreaking picture of an emaciated Shane wasting away from encephalitis. And in the past few weeks, as we saw his friends and former Pogues band members pressing to the side of the Sick Bed of McGowan, it became evident that the writing was on the wall.

I only saw him once about eleven years ago. He had rejoined the Pogues to perform two sold out shows at the Paris Olympia to celebrate the band's 30th anniversary. (You can click HERE to see a crappy quality video that I took with my mobile phone... thankfully, the gig was also released professionally).

He has seemingly lived a thousand lives, and he's lived them harder than most. Whether he could remember them was another story... but what he could do was to put it all in song. The songs he sang, the stories he told, are all now part of Irish lore in the tradition of Whiskey In The Jar or Londonderry Air. But  despite his troubled life, his sad end and the establishment's recuperation of his music, Shane McGowan remained a punk until the end who could always just look straight into the eyes of critics, sycophants, friends, foes, naysayers and  hypocrites and say "Pogue Mahone."

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