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.
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 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 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