This bibulous, drug-indulgent and anarchic rock legend was born on a small farm in Tipperary, won a scholarship to Westminster, was rapidly expelled, became a rent boy, then a central figure of punk and the hugely influential star of The Pogues. MacGowan's music, innovative and powerful, is as distinctive as his chaotic, breakdown-scarred, drug and alcohol-fuelled lifestyle. MacGowan has an enormous fan-base hungry for stories of his wild behaviour, but this is also a book that celebrates this unique and charming musician, and offers insight into his remarkable perspective on this world - and the next!
Let this be a forewarning to all self-respecting pop pinups and rock stars pondering penning an autobiography or memoir: do not, as former Pogues singer and lyricist MacGowan and his writer-wife Clarke did, use a question-and-answer format. This collaboration, the couple's first, is an especially unfortunate publishing fatality because MacGowan's life is such a juicy subject, and its exaggerated, grandiosely booze- and drug-littered escapades and cameos by Sid Vicious, Johnny Rotten and Elvis Costello are worthy of a second look. After drinking his first stout at the tender age of five with the milkman, MacGowan went on to play a major role in London's punk scene in the mid- and late 1970s. Later, he founded the Irish band The Pogues, which merged Irish folk styles with rock and roll. (MacGowan has also recorded with the Popes and on his own.) However, the book's Q&A format blends these and other adventures with inane revelations ("I've been a lover and a hater of beetroot all my life"), petty spats, ridiculous questions ("Tell me more about Matt Dillon") and contrived, self-flattering stage directions ("Victoria, radiant as ever, in pale green silk which becomes her consumes a plate of chips, hungrily"). 16 b&w photos not seen by PW.