A Drink With Shane Macgowan

Book Reviews | Nov 12th, 2006

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Author: Victoria Mary Clark
Publisher: Grove Press
Genre: Music
Pages: 384
Retail Price: 9.99
Buy on Amazon.com link

A year ago, I had never heard of the Pogues and now they are one of my favorite bands, combining rock and traditional Irish music and making it accessible for pop audiences. As evinced in this book, Shane Macgowan, their legendary Irish singer and songwriter, truly lived the true rock star life: drugs, sex, alcohol, and rock n’ roll, all in huge excess.

This book is broken up into eight chapters and is written by Shane’s then-girlfriend and writer/journalist Victoria. This isn’t a typical biography book because it’s done like an interview. Victoria poses a question and Shane answers it in depth, and most of his answers are entertaining and shocking at the same time. One thing that shocked me was that he started to drink at least once a day when he was five years old!

The Pogues broke up in the early ’90s when they realized that it wasn’t the same without Shane, who was kicked out of the band for missing so many gigs because of drugs and apathy. (Interestingly, Joe Strummer of the Clash would sometimes fill in for him.) Shane also talks about growing up in Ireland and London, his time spent in the loony bin, Pogues stories, world history, and Buddism, plus lots of miscellaneous tidbits. (I was surprised to learn that he was a huge reggae fan, and now I can notice it in some of his songs. )

This book is really good because, in a sense, it is one long, fascinating interview. If you would like to know about Shane Macgowan, this books is both informative and fun.

Bottom Line: It was cool to get to know Shane better thru these interviews.
Favorite Part(s): Hearing tales with the Pogues was a great, and stuff from his youth was cool too.
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