Weekend Tunes: The Pogues Live at the Town and Country

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/04/weekend-tunes-the-pogues-live.html


I remember enjoying this Pogues video when I saw it, too:

It’s probably not for everyone though.


Probably not… but I liked it.
Saw it at the Cinema1) when it came out. And now I feel old.

1) It’s actually called Cinema, still exits. And there is a good chance that when I watched Straight To Hell, Tom Tykwer was the projectionist.


Too often people claim the decade that they grew up in as having the best music. The Pogues are a rare instance giving credence to that claim.


I was living in Asia when it was released, so a VHS copy at an unauthorized “MTV” video parlor was my only option.

I think this movie is a huge, unwatchable mess with a lot of great names acting like it was just cool having them on screen.

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Oh, I found it to be an eminently watchable mess. Pity my wife when it’s my turn to choose the movie. :grinning:


Yeah, I got the DVD as a birthday present from a friend who thought it had to be ‘my thing’ and I can totally see where he’s coming from. I was a Pogues fan in the 90’s, even played the mandolin, thinwhistle, bodhrán but eventually got tired of Irish music afterwhile. As to the movie itself, it seems like a lot of friends are having great craic acting out in a stupid western with no real story or dialogues but I’m just not getting into it. Good for you if you do. I like most people in this movie but that’s as far as I come at liking it.

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That was me in the crowd too, figuratively. I had been punk for a while. Living in NYC most people were from some where and I had fallen in with the an Irish crowd. It was probably the Guinness and Powers. I have since retired that. My friends from Ireland drowned me with the Pogues, the Chieftains, the Wolftones, and long a list of bands. I remember seeing MacGowen. He took to the stage pretty banged up. It was a sight.


The Pogues were my favourite characters in the Last Jedi.



I suspect my poor students get sick of me playing Pogues’ songs (and Gogol Bordello and Billy Bragg) before class. Is it my fault if “Thousands are Sailing” illustrates an important point about US immigration and the relationship to the home country… or if the Pogues do a bang up version of “And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda”… or if they have the best - BEST - Christmas song? No. It is not.


[ETA] Let’s not forget their lovely song “Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six”, that got them in trouble on the BBC!

@shylocxs, everyone knows the 80s had the BEST music! They just don’t want to admit it.


In junior high, I was desperately trying to fit with the popular style in my Detroit-adjacent suburb: the Benetton/Swatch/Miami Vice look. And probably failing, since everything was off-brand from Meijers Thrifty Acres. But it seemed so important. I took note of the music, I thought I was “into” music, but I wasn’t really.

Then, midway through 7th grade, I moved to Nashville. I was once again the new kid, but these kids were way different—they were great! But the style in that school was completely different, tied to the hair metal and Bon Jovi bubblegum metal that was popular then. I arrived with my previous schools’ clothes and hair, and they were fine with it. It was OK to not do the popular thing. It was OK to not go along with hair metal (I wasn’t jaded on it—yet—I just wasn’t into it, although Appetite For Destruction was something we could agree on.) I could be me. The popular styles, of either school, didn’t have to be followed. But what else was there?

Switching school zones for high school, I had to say goodbye to my junior-hair-scene friends and met kids from the whole district at my magnet school. I started hearing music that I actually liked and started taping it. I found out there was a college radio station at Vanderbilt. Dave in I.P.S. let me listen to his R.E.M. and Fishbone tapes. I found touchstone albums like Violent Femmes, War, Reckoning, Truth and Soul, and Big Lizard In My Back Yard.

My best bud Maclean played a lot of those, but her main one was the current release from this absolutely insane Irish band. In that moment of my life, The Pogues’ If I Should Fall From Grace With God was absolutely vital.

I never took that sound much further (I remember Jason had termed it “speed Irish”) but the tape that Lily made me of that album was sessioned hundreds of times in my walkman, marching music to power through day after day of teen ennui.

Lily had the nicest handwriting.


If there’s one Pogues Album that is a must have, it’s this one. What makes a good album? Good songs? No. It’s the way the songs are put together on the album to form a stream that pulls you from one end to the other. Plastic Surgery Disaster by Dead Kennedys comes to mind. And then look at the excellent cover photo. It’s like the lads are posing to say: here it is. That’s our magnum opus. We put all of our magic in here. Yeah, I must have listened to that album hundreds of times between 1990 and 1995 and if you hand me a mandolin, I should still be able to play The Rocky Road to Dublin.


“When the world is too dark, and I need the light inside of me, I’ll walk into a bar and have fifteen pints of beer.”
Streams of Whiskey


Video? VHS?
Saw them like a hundred times back in the day :wink:

My goddaughter and I can still belt out Fairytale at the top of our lungs without embarrassment. And Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six is what made my wife love the Pogues.


You might possibly like: https://medium.com/outlaw-blues/the-digital-archaeology-of-life-before-death-a-leaking-foreword-from-shane-macgowan-1e9581427ce7

I first met Shane MacGowan at a Cramps gig in 1979…


This is the song that was playing at the exact moment that I first fell in love.

I was 19, she was 17. Let’s call her L.

We’d met a few weeks earlier, introduced by a mutual friend at a dodgy goth/industrial club in Kings Cross (Sydney’s red-light district). We hit it off immediately; she thought I was funny, I thought she was beautiful, smart and kind. However, she was spoken for at the time.

Her boy was a six foot tall alcoholic methhead who we’ll call T. Physically speaking, he was a Peter Murphy clone with a Robert Smith hairdo. Personality-wise, he was a bit of yob, but a nice enough bloke in general. She thought he was 16; we discovered later that he was actually 14. He’s a successful session guitarist and graphic designer these days.

The three of us ended up crashing at my house after a night out in the clubs. At the time, I was living in a crumbling slum, sharing it with an assortment of teenage heroin addicts.

It was a grand old terrace house, that would have been nice if it wasn’t for the dodgy neighbourhood, inoperative plumbing and rotten-through floorboards. I had the largest of the bedrooms, upstairs with the balcony (which was a deathtrap; rotted wood, rusted railing).

When I moved into the place, my first task was to clean out the room; the previous occupant had made a habit of throwing his old syringes into the wardrobe and his old condoms onto the balcony. That guy eventually fled the state in a stolen car with the police in hot pursuit, but at least he had the good taste to leave a Jane’s Addiction album (Nothing’s Shocking) in the wardrobe for me to salvage.

At the time, the only furniture I owned was a shelving unit. For a bed, I had a piece of foam that I’d found on the side of the road. Apart from that, there was the aforementioned syringe-filled built-in wardrobe, plus a mirror bolted to the back of the door. The mirror had been partially smashed sometime in the distant past, leaving a sharp edge of broken glass along the side of it.

Anyway, we made it back to my room after clubbing, at around sunrise. T immediately passed out in the corner, but me and L were still fairly thoroughly wired from our dancing chemistry of the previous evening. So I fired up the stereo, and put on the Pogues’ Rum, Sodomy and the Lash.

We started dancing to the music, but after a short time I collapsed upon the bed. L kept dancing, in something approximating an Irish reel. She was spinning around, arms spread wide, with a grin on her face as wide as it could go. But at some point during this, her hand caught the edge of the mirror, slicing a finger wide open.

She didn’t notice. She just kept spinning, arms out, smile unchanged, while a stream of blood droplets spread in a perfect arc from her hand across the walls of the room.

And that’s when I fell in love. That freeze-frame image of L spinning and smiling with the blood streaming from her hand will stay with me forever.


absolutely brilliant.

It is so weird that, while speaking of touchstone albums, you would mention that particular one in reply to me. That was the big one. If my freshman year of high school introduced me to the established 80s college/alternative canon and culture, it was the summer afterward, going to summer school after flunking a semester of algebra, that Nothing’s Shocking really grabbed me. It was current, much harder-edged, and had a spooky, magical, Doors-esque quality that captured me completely. We listened to it on tape, out of my walkman through tin-y, unpowered external speakers as we wandered downtown Nashville to the pool-hall after class. After our game was over and we all were parting company I said “Uh, Ben? I need to borrow this tape.”
The imagery of that day didn’t include anything as dramatic as your story, but I remember particulars—the clothes, the carpet at the pool-hall—pretty vividly.


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