On Christmas Day, Shane MacGowan turned 60 much to the surprise of yours truly and many others. To celebrate the fact the Irish Government has honoured this extraordinary lyricist and songwriter with a lifetime achievement award and an all-star bash was held in Dublin's National Concert Hall on Monday 15th January, excerpts from which can be found on Youtube.
Shane and The Pogues have a special place in my heart for many reasons. I first encountered him when he was working Rocks Off record shop in Hanway Street an alley that cuts a corner between Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road. There used to be an all-night drinking dive in Hanway Street as well as two scuzzy record shops; these days it’s all been cleaned-up and the only reason you might go there for is Bradley's Spanish Bar and its still tremendous jukebox.
There was something about Shane that I can still remember the first record he sold me – an early single by Echo and the Bunnymen which from his expression he didn’t think much of. Next time I went in, he was hunched over the shop’s record deck playing Chinese Rocks by The Heartbreakers and talking animatedly