There were reports of Shane MacGowan having a health scare, to read the independent.ie headlines, talk about exhaustion, not making a benefit for a band mate. Some reports suggested the Hyde Park performance, part of The Pogues long good bye, MacGowan as if he was beginning to fall apart. Not believing that, I went to YouTube to see what I could find. Seems just as vigorous as ever, the conclusion. On this day that Robin Williams the actor comedian thinker is no longer with us.
The news story lead to Japan, to see how Shane is doing.
Mr. MacGowan is of course extruded by his culture, which is Irish. He was drinking, gambling, smoking, and betting on horses, before, during and after he learned how to speak. His aunt was very holy, and encouraged him in these habits. He learned to sing at an early age. The old farm house was an old IRA safe house back in the Black and Tan days, going back to Yeats' time.
An American journalist would not easily fit Mr. MacGowan into an interview on any major network to take his commentary. Though, one must add, his commentary is in the background, one of many voices that needs to be heard, so that we don't be herded, an intelligent voice from a non-lawyer, non industry source. (By the way, not everyone thinks Bill Gates is so great, just that he had good opportunity, grabbed, selfishly, smilingly, what he could, what big old dinosaur companies were too stupid to protect, as if they had their bride.)
MacGowan, honest, is what he is, self-understanding, will live to a ripe old age. He's allowed to be honest, to take a drink, to sing, as there is no point in singing, to live after the disastrous years of his heroin times, the times of what band mates describe as him being a total asshole, a complete jerk, as James Fearnley's portrait in Here Comes Everybody, one side of the story.
MacGowan factored in being real, being himself, and it had costs, but it was always part of being who he was, is.
And that is an honesty that Americans, being comedians, knowing life broad and large, need to learn. There is the larger comedy, that of the honest failure, of the honest bad habit. And those are failures, failings according-to-the-culture-at-large, to the corporate culture, of the culture subtly reinforced in many ways, economically, by the suggestion of homeland security surveillance. Standing is the judgement of the old culture of the local Irish musician, being quite natural, a major attribute of real local human relationships and the most important relationship with the psyche, with the self, with all the educative powers within and without. Real songs, real music, real people, real human habits of real human interest, and we will tend to live, not be embalmed in fakeness, not to be caught in the amber of staid corporate culture's inhibitions intellectual and otherwise, but be original again, real against the Nazisms of our days.
Shane MacGowan, unneatly, lives on, singing freshly A Rainy Night in Soho somewhere in Japan.
Mr. Williams' characters, like he did himself on occasion, longed to sing, and did sing.
But then, I don't know, MacGowan looks like he's using something in Hyde Park, not good...