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October 1982: ABC, Culture Club, Shalamar and Survivor dominate the top twenty when the Pogues barrel out from the backstreets of King’s Cross, a furious, pioneering mix of punk energy, traditional melodies and the powerfully poetic songwriting of Shane MacGowan.
Reviled by traditionalists for their frequently fast, often riotous interpretations of Irish folk songs, the Pogues rose from the sweaty chaos of backroom gigs in Camden pubs to world tours with the likes of Elvis Costello, U2 and Bob Dylan, and had huge commercial success with everyone’s favourite Christmas song, ‘Fairytale of New York’.
Yet, the exuberance of their live performances coupled with relentless touring spiralled into years of hard drinking and excess which eventually took their toll – most famously on Shane, but also on the rest of the band – causing them to part ways seven years later.
Here, their story is told with beauty, lyricism and great candour by James Fearnley, founding member and accordion player. He brings to life the youthful friendships, the bust-ups, the amazing gigs, the terrible gigs, the fantastic highs and the dramatic lows in a hugely compelling, humorous, moving and honest account of life in one of our most treasured and original bands.
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