Christmas Day! Who’s birthday is it anyway?

Yes, yes, yes.. we all know it’s the baby Jesus.. I know he walked on water and turned water into wine, but he didn’t have a massive Xmas hit with ‘Fairytale of New York’ nor was he lead singer of the ‘Nipple Erectors’ or lead singer of ‘The Pogues’! So, who am I talking about, yes, the amazing, legendary, Shane MacGowan. He was born on December 25th 1957.

Back in the late 1970’s, I had an office in Wardour Street, Soho, London. Along the street was a market in Berwick Street. At the bottom end near Shaftesbury Avenue was a record store. Strangely the store had normal albums for sale, but they also had quite a lot of records that were marked ‘Not For Sale’ ‘Promotion Copy’. This seemed to be the place that everyone in the record business would sell their free sample albums. Kind of naughty, but, that is what happened. In that particular store worked one Shane MacGowan. We knew each other then and we used to chat about different bands, music, life, the Spanish civil war etc etc. I am not actually joking about that. I didn’t know much about the Spanish civil war and I still don’t know much. But, Shane was well versed and knew quite a lot. He is very well read and extremely knowledgable. Around this time there was a kind of riot or big old punch up in Berwick Street market and guess who was there in the thick of it.. yes, the one and only Shane MacGowan. I have spent many an enjoyable time with Shane. I must say every one of our times together have been great fun and a small piece of history in the making. One night we spent the evening and night together in a pub and sat chatting after hours until the sun came up.. Sounds all romantic doesn’t it. He was very funny and it was always so interesting and such a nice chap. He and Jen Finer wrote one of the biggest Xmas songs of all time, ‘Fairytale of New York’. What a classic! Although the single has Kirsty McCall singing on it, which is brilliant. It was written with Pogue member and bassist, Cait O'Riordan in mind as the singer. I have toured with the Pogues a bit and whilst on the road I did get some nice shots of Shane and Cait dancing during that song on stage at the end of the shows.

Cait & Shane dancing during a live performance or Fairytale of New York.

Cait & Shane dancing during a live performance or Fairytale of New York.

We have had some very deep conversations over the years. Some of which were almost unbelievable and yet absolutely true.. Shane being a cousin of Che Guevara is one.. Sounds rediculous? Well, it’s not.. that’s a story I shall tell another day. Saying that, it did lead to me doing a photo shoot with Shane dressed up as Che Guevara, but this photo shoot I renamed him Shane Guevara! He is quite a unique and lovely guy.

Shane Guevara

Shane Guevara

Shane was in London at the Q Awards receiving a lifetime achievement award. He wouldn’t go to the toilet without me. He was once attacked in a toilet and has a scar above his lip to show for it. So, whilst he was relieving himself, I thought let’s get some shots. This is one and the other shot is just before we went back into the reception. Shane was doing his hair in the mirror and asked me if I thought he looked like Jonny Burnett.. obviously he did! 

This was 30 seconds before Shane shook hands with Brian Ferry who wandered into the toilet at the Grosvenor House Hotel toilet.

This was 30 seconds before Shane shook hands with Brian Ferry who wandered into the toilet at the Grosvenor House Hotel toilet.

This year he married his lovely girlfriend Victoria. They have been an item for a very long time and they make a lovely couple. as I mentioned above, Shane was actually born in Kent, England on Christmas day 1957. But, he is Irish through and through.. So, Shane, have a lovely happy birthday me old fruit and hopefully see you very soon… #ShaneMacGowan #Pogues #ThePogues #Ireland #Irish #PeteDoherty #Babyshambles

One of the first meetings between Peter Doherty & Shane MacGowan

One of the first meetings between Peter Doherty & Shane MacGowan

I took Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols) to meet Shane at a sleazy north London pub. Funnily enough, the photo behind then has Glen to the left of Shane. That was when Glen was originally in the Sex Pistols.

I took Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols) to meet Shane at a sleazy north London pub. Funnily enough, the photo behind then has Glen to the left of Shane. That was when Glen was originally in the Sex Pistols.

In the recording studio with a Shane a few years ago. Doesn’t he look like a Super Star?

In the recording studio with a Shane a few years ago. Doesn’t he look like a Super Star?

Shane on stage during one of the Pogues European dates. Holding a bottle of sparkling water!

Shane on stage during one of the Pogues European dates. Holding a bottle of sparkling water!

Shane on stage with the legendary & late Ronnie Joice. This was taken on one of the Pogues tour in Dublin.

Shane on stage with the legendary & late Ronnie Joice. This was taken on one of the Pogues tour in Dublin.

Shane has such a great sense of humour and decided to wear some sort of gas mask on our night out in London.

Shane has such a great sense of humour and decided to wear some sort of gas mask on our night out in London.

Such a great moment. Shane was sitting in a small smokey back room London playing cards. I didn’t take many photos as I didn’t want to start annoying all of the others players.

Such a great moment. Shane was sitting in a small smokey back room London playing cards. I didn’t take many photos as I didn’t want to start annoying all of the others players.

Yes Shane, you do look like Johnny Burnett…

Yes Shane, you do look like Johnny Burnett…

Backstage at Fuji Rock Festival, Japan. Just before the Pogues took to the stage for a storming brilliant show..

Backstage at Fuji Rock Festival, Japan. Just before the Pogues took to the stage for a storming brilliant show..

St Patrick’s Day Celebrations 2005. Peter Doherty & Shane MacGowan

St Patrick’s Day Celebrations 2005. Peter Doherty & Shane MacGowan