Shane MacGowan - Threescore
60 portraits, quotes and lyrics, and pictures from the birthday concert in Dublin.
For forty years journalists predicted Shane wouldn't live to see the end of the year. At the end of 2018 he's done it again. This is by way of a celebration of that, and of the story so far...
Andrew Catlin has been photographing Shane and the Pogues since their first London gigs, through till Shane left the band. He continued to work with Shane, photographing him with the Popes and shooting pictures for many of the record sleeves, as well as for Victoria's book, A Drink with Shane MacGowan. More recently he shot the first portrait since Shane got his new teeth, as well as featuring in the documentary telling the story of their reconstruction. The pictures used for the stage projections during the 60th birthday concert in Dublin were all from Andrew's archive.
The cover picture for the book was Andrew's first portrait of Shane, shot in a Liverpool hotel room after an evening of drinking that ended with the whole band, the crew, publicist and journalists all passed out on the floor of the bar. Shane was in fine form the next day - this image is one of several great pictures from that shoot.
An intimate view on 40 years of music, mayhem and magic, capturing the diverse aspects of MacGowan's character in many different situations.
The book includes the best quotes from and about Shane, and lyrics from each of the songs picked for the birthday concert at the National Concert Hall Dublin.
Shane MacGowan “You know, some people are lucky, and some people aren’t. I’m a lucky guy, as a general rule.”
“I was brought up on a farm and then in London. In their own different ways both places offer plenty of opportunity to get in trouble. I took the opportunities.”
“You’ve got to have a strong urge to be heard. You’ve got to have this welling up inside you, like wanting to be sick, you know? Then you’ve got to scream it out, you’ve got to sing it out, you’ve got to play it out, you’ve got to make music, you know what I mean? That’s what a musician is. A good musician has to put music before everything.”
“I’m proud of everything the Irish do well…. What a talented race. I’m proud to be one of them. Great sportsmen, great soldiers, great musicians, great lovers, great artists. Nobody loves like an Irishman. And women always find Irishmen attractive. I think women are attracted by the fact that Irishmen are so much more intelligent than Englishmen. That’s a bit of a generalisation of course. There are some glaring exceptions to that rule... There’s no bigger bastard than an Irish bastard.”
“I don’t agree with dogmatic morality.... I’m a Catholic Taoist. I believe in going with the flow. I’m a hedonist. I like to live well. I like to eat and drink and dance and sing and screw and get the most out of life. When I’m just enjoying myself completely, that’s when I feel the most religious as well. Because I thank God for it, for pleasure. Because there’s so much pain in this world. I think you should have as much pleasure as you possibly can.”
Nick Cave “‘Shane is very innocent in a lot of ways. There’s a love and warmth within him which is often overlooked. And he is incredibly open to the things around him, which is why he’s such a great writer. He sees the beauty and horror in things, and his gift is to be able to articulate that in a very simple way.”
Depp “Shane and Marlon Brando. These are two guys who are completely true to their vision, non-conforming, uncompromising. I think Marlon is an incredibly gifted artist… in his thoughts, ideas and anything he does. Shane’s the same. They’re a couple of guys whose first instinct is always to go against the grain, it’s an admirable trait in anyone.”
Bono “I don’t think anyone writes better lyrics than Shane MacGowan. He’s what Keith Richards would describe as a ‘specialist’.“
The Jesus and Mark Chain
This is a unique view into the chaos that was the Jesus and Mary Chain over the first years of the band. It captures their style, their attitude, and their complete commitment to the music and lifestyle.
"The first time I saw The Jesus and Mary Chain at the Ambulance Station in Old Kent Road, I could tell before they even started playing that they were going to be great. Things were chaotic from the start. I climbed on top of the speakers and spent the gig there. A little unstable, but good bass, good view – close up, and in the big scheme of things, everything else in the room was pretty unstable anyway. I saw gigs that ended in riots; gigs that were stopped by the police, gigs where they had the whole audience in the palm of their hands and didn’t even know it. It always seemed like they just played for themselves and for the music – perhaps the music played them. The audience were just there as witnesses. No pretence of showmanship or crowd-pleasing. More often than not they would find a way to piss someone off, and that would turn into a confrontation, but it was always an amazing spectacle. An overwhelming sound that cut through anything – stage invasions, fights, collapsed drum kits, shit P.A.s or venues. It didn’t matter. Apart from really enjoying the music, as a photographer, there was always an infinity of things to see. (Usually very little light, but I’ve always been fond of long exposures!) It was very real – something visceral rather than just a “performance.”
Sinéad O'Connor - 48
Sinéad O'Connor 48 reproduces the full sequence of 48 photographs from a portrait shoot with Sinéad at the start of her career as a singer, including all the outtakes. It gives a fascinating insight into both the subject and the photographic process as the frame is adjusted and rearranged, developing over time to reveal contrasting aspects and emerging expressions.
“What is there more fugitive and transitory than the expression on a human face? The first impression given by a particular face is often the right one; but the photographer should try always to substantiate the first impression by “living” with the person concerned. The decisive moment and psychology, no less than the camera position, are the principle factors in the making of a good portrait.” (Cartier-Bresson)
”... I found a portrait superior in real instruction to half a dozen written biographies... theportrait was a small lighted candle, by which the biographies could for the first time be read.” (Thomas Carlyle)