Here Comes Everybody: The Story of the Pogues by James Fearnley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If you are a fan, you will hear every song as Fearnley chronicles the writing, performing, and recording of each. Oh, lamentations — all my Pogues albums are on cassette. Thank goodness for you tube, but it’s not the same as listening to a whole album all the way through.
I love that they were from England and not Ireland (though some had Irish roots) and they were, at first, rejected by traditional Irish singers, and later embraced. Their punkish edge made all those songs more enjoyable for me.
I remember seeing the Pogues in NY some time in the late 1980s — the whole crowd swayed together and belted out “Dirty Old Town,” and the dancing was wild — I lost a lens from my eyeglasses. It shot across the club floor, never to be found, even though we waited for the lights to come up and the clean-up crew to sweep. I was grateful for the color-coded subway lines. Just get me to the big purple orb that means the 7 line and I’ll find a way to explain the missing glasses to Mom later.
The only part that stuck in my craw was Fearnley’s scathing words for Cait. They were all drunkards, all badly behaved, most learned their instruments as they went along. Several of the bandmates missed gigs, were jerks, etc. But only Cait gets such ugly words, as if he’s still mad at her after all these years. His treatment of her felt beneath the rest of the story.
After reading this, I wanted to re-live a little more — Tried to buy the movie they made with Joe Strummer, “Straight to Hell.” $65! I saw it in the theater and, though it was fun, there’s no way to justify that expense. Sigh. I did order the Shane Macgowan documentary (If I Should Fall From Grace) for my library. What will it be like to look at those teeth for two hours?
It’s great to read these rock & roll memoirs. If you’re ever sorry you didn’t choose the glamourous life, it’s good to be reminded of the cramped tour buses, motel rooms shared with bandmates with odd and grotesque habits, and the near-constant drunkenness, filth, and sorrow of being on tour. Hi diddly dee, it’s a nice clean librarian’s life for me.
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