The Gospel According To Shane

Ahead of our Shane MacGowan night on January 25th, we look at a true original.

As with any truly great artist, Shane MacGowan was all about the authenticity, about walking the walk, about reaching for something utterly real.

It’s what made the man and the artist so rich, and, of course, so poor, doomed to burn out rather than fade away.

The self-fulfilling prophecy of drinking the drink – like any green-blooded, rebel-rousing, ballad-belting son of Éire would – made MacGowan’s death on November 30th no great surprise.

What was surprising was the fact that Shane had made it to 65, his passionate embracing of the rock’n’reels lifestyle even becoming an open concern for his musical and spiritual idol, Ronnie Drew, the patron saint of boozy balladeering.

And when you have Sinéad O’Connor calling you out for having gone a little too far off the planet, you know you’re in trouble.

But MacGowan was one of Ireland’s greatest songwriters, bringing wit, wisdom and a wild streak to Irish music. Buried beneath all the chest-beating and the whiskey-drowning, there was a big romantic heart beating at the centre of MacGowan’s best work.

It’s there in such songs as Rainy Night In Soho, A Pair Of Brown Eyes and, of course, Fairytale Of New York – songs that made fans out of many a fellow songwriter, from Billy Bragg to Paul Simon.

One of Shane’s biggest fans, Johnny Depp produced a 2020 documentary on MacGowan, with reformed punk Julian Temple (The Filth And The Fury) behind the camera and everyone from Bobby Gillespie to Gerry Adams waxing lyrical in front of it about the Tipperary boy who managed to create a glorious London-Irish bastard child called The Pogues by mixing The Dubliners with The Clash.

With maybe just a dash of Tom Waits sans the designer hobo chic mixed in too.

Screening in The Whale on Thursday, January 25th 2024, Crock Of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan will be followed by a Q&A with noted producer and arranger Fiachra Trench, who has worked with everyone from Van Morrison to The Corrs. And who just happens to be the talented fecker who put all those wonderful Morricone strings on Fairytale Of New York.

The greatest Christmas song of all time. Fact.

You can grab your seat for the Shane MacGowan night at The Whale on January 25th right here.



The New Norma
As she prepares for The Whale on March 7th, jazz legend Norma Winstone reve...
Making Contact With The Living
Ahead of his latest Social Fabric live interview on February 29th, we do a ...
Frankie Goes To Greystones
The Swing Cats bring their Kings of Swing tour to Greystones. It’s har...