The Genius Of Shane MacGowan

YouTube’s algorithms recently presented me with a Late Late Show installment featuring Shane MacGowan, along with a room full of famous friends, family and collaborators.

The tribute is framed as a sort of after-hours jolly at Tubridy Tavern. Pint glasses and candles are set on tables; in the backdrop looms an image of the Brooklyn Bridge (in reference to Fairytale, obviously).

Aidan Gillen recalls MacGowan’s music speaking to him when he was a young actor living in London. Glen Hansard remembers when growing up in Ballymun, the Pogues and Bob Marley were on everyone’s mix-tape (and duets on A Rainy Night In Soho with Lisa O’Neill). There are video eulogies from Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, actor Tom Vaughan-Lawlor and Paul Simon (apparently taping his piece on a golf course in the midst of a hurricane – so bravo for that).

I was surprised to learn that pneumonia and a fractured pelvis led to MacGowan’s sobriety in 2015. And even though he has teeth again, holy shit does he look (and sound) awfully fragile in his wheelchair at the tender age of 62.

Anyway, all this heaped praise reminded me of Hell’s Ditch, the only Pogues album I’ve ever owned. I’m getting reacquainted with it today and thought I’d share with you bastards. Enjoy or don’t.

Seen the carnival at Rome
Had the women I had the booze
All I can remember now
Is little kids without no shoes
So I saw that train
And I got on it
With a heart full of hate
And a lust for vomit
Now I’m walking on the sunnyside of the street

Stepped over bodies in Bombay
Trying to make it to the U.S.A.
Ended up in Nepal
Up on a roof with nothing at all
And I knew that day
I was going to stay
Right where I am, on the sunnyside of the street

Been in a palace, and I been in a jail
I just don’t want to be reborn a snail
Just want to spend eternity
Right where I am, on the sunnyside of the street

As my mother wept it was then I swore
To take my life as I would a whore
I know I’m better than before
I will not be reconstructed
Just wanna stay right here
On the sunnyside of the street

Another Talented Bastard

And I like listening to him, too.

ABOUT KARL KOPINSKI

I was born and raised in Nottingham, UK and have been working in the illustration industry since 1997. I am largely self taught, using both traditional and digital media I have worked with a large variety of clients including Peter Jackson, Sir Paul Smith, Hasbro, Ubisoft, Aboud Creative, Sixmorevodka, Wizards of the Coast and Games Workshop to name but a few.

I am also a keen portraitist and have undertaken commissions for numerous clients including a portrait of Sir Paul Smith which was featured in his recent book “Hello my name is Paul Smith”.

In collaboration with Sir Paul Smith I had my first solo show in London last year featuring cyclist portraits from an ongoing project.

I still reside in Nottingham with my wife, two children and dog, I am available for commissions. Karl

This Is Excellent

If any of you bastards are into Audible books, this one is a must. I bought it a couple of years ago, making my second pass now. Riveting.

David Sedaris tells all in a book that is, literally, a lifetime in the making.

For forty years, David Sedaris has kept a diary in which he records everything that captures his attention-overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his finest work, and through them he has honed his cunning, surprising sentences.

Now, Sedaris shares his private writings with the world. Theft by Finding, the first of two volumes, is the story of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet.

Written with a sharp eye and ear for the bizarre, the beautiful, and the uncomfortable, and with a generosity of spirit that even a misanthropic sense of humor can’t fully disguise, Theft By Finding proves that Sedaris is one of our great modern observers. It’s a potent reminder that when you’re as perceptive and curious as Sedaris, there’s no such thing as a boring day.