Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Drink With Shane MacGowan” as Want to Read:
A Drink With Shane MacGowan
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Drink With Shane MacGowan

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  844 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
Hell-raiser Shane MacGowan's acclaimed and surprisingly lucid memoir This bibulous, drug-indulgent and anarchic rock legened was born on a small farm in Tipperary, won a scholarship to Westminster, was rapidly expelled, became a rent boy, then a central figure of punk and the hugely influential star of The Pogues. MacGowan's music, innovative and powerful, is as distinctiv ...more
Published March 1st 2002 by Pan MacMillan (first published June 1st 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Drink With Shane MacGowan, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Drink With Shane MacGowan

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Ian Wood
Jan 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all music fans
Shelves: music-biography
I first saw Shane MacGowan on ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ promoting the ‘Pogetry in Motion’ e.p. with The Pogues. I think the set included ‘The Body of an American’, ‘A Rainy Night in Soho’, ‘A Pair of Brown Eyes’ and ‘Streams of Whiskey’. I was hooked, the next day I bought the e.p. and before the end of the month I’d got both their l.p.’s ‘Red Roses for Me’ and ‘Rum Sodomy and the Lash’. That Autumn I was to attend by first concert, The Pogues played Leeds Uni, and I was a fifteen year old nov ...more
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cult, irish
The title is misleading, because it is impossible to have just one drink with Shane MacGowan, unless he's already had so many that after the one drink with you, he lays into you for no reason and chases you all the way back to the farm he describes at the beginning of the book, a farm which sounds suspiciously like his idea of heaven, described at the end of the book. Also, a few drinks with Shane MacGowan might lead to some tranquilizers with Shane MacGowan or several bits of blotter acid with ...more
Matt Reese
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Had me in stitches. How this guy has outlived Strummer just floors me. Very cool book.
Philip Girvan
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shane MacGowan, frontman for the Pogues and the Pope, spins some well-lubricated yarns to Victoria Mary Clarke.

Stories of Ireland, Irishness, ribaldry, growing up punk, madness, making music, the music business, England, Roman Catholicism, success, growing apart, books, booze, drugs and assorted other topics
There are almost two books here. The first is McGowan's early life in rural Ireland, where a milkman actually comes to the house to take away the milk (buying the excess), half-mad aunts spout fire and brimstone and uncles give whiskey to pre-schoolers.

The second begins when the Pogues begin, and it's everything you expect: punk, sex, drinking, bloody noses. It's a whole lot of fun, but I honestly missed the early parts of the book, with the bizarre (or possibly typical) Irish folks. Perhaps be
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great & fun read! Any true Shane or Pogues fan will love it. Even those who are not fans, but are interested in Ireland, religion, punk rock, or music in general will find it insightful.

For the record I must say -- Victoria Clarke's constant use of adverbs was annoying... Expect some bad writing here. However, the introductions constitute a very small part of the book and are easily forgiven. The REALLY FUNNY parts are Shane's stories, which had me doubled over in laughter. Th
Nov 06, 2010 added it
Shane had an an uncle who never bathed.
"The crusade was to make Irish music hip...for the Irish music to make the language hip again. And the literature hip. In other words, to build Irish self-esteem, right? And for the whole world to know what increased wealth of culture we've contributed to the world, for such a small nation. Also with "Birmingham Six," I began singing songs about the atrocities by the British."
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
One part crackpot bar talk (I could do w/out the Catholic/Taoist/acid-dropping fusion of religiosity), one part passionate Irish nationalism, a dab of incisive, been-through-the-sausage-machine-meself music business theory, and a dram o' genius here and there. But I must confess my disappointment that he didn't reveal how those teeth got so f-ck'd up...
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
It's a lot easier to read an interview with Shane MacGowan than to listen to one.
Allan Heron
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it
The book is essentially a long interview between MacGowan and the author who is his, no doubt, long-suffering partner held in eight different places. Drink was pretty certainly involved in all of them. Her exasperation and occasional disbelief are evident throughtout the exchanges.

The format means that there is no real narrative flow, and that's before you take into account MacGowan's ability to wander off subject.

Having said that, there's much interesting tales and spouting of opinion from MacG
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I once met Van Morrison in a café in Notting Hill, it must have been about 1970 something, he was wearing a string vest, I told him that his secret was safe with me, which it most definitely was, there was no secret.
There are no secrets about Shane Macgowan either. Everything is here, all nicely filleted no doubt but revelations abound. A good read? Yes if you are not too squeamish i.e. fuck not feck is in use but that might be a mistranslation from Irish into English.
The only culture Shane see
John Smith
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
small farm in Tipperary lol
Feb 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
It's almost a mighty shame that I have to use as a promotional tool for my Irish band's upcoming album release. I know that I should instead be promoting the mighty fine book that this review is embedded within, but simply because I cannot successfully work the Internet, a la Facebook or MySpace, this kindly open forum denoted exclusively for novel likes and dislikes will seemingly have to do.

That said, please, please, please everybody please be on the lookout for the soon-to-be re
East Bay J
Jun 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music-bios
I really dig The Pogues music and have heard many stories of the exploits of Shane MacGowan. When I found a used copy of A Drink With Shane MacGowan at Pegasus Books in Berkeley, I snapped it up quick. I was definitely curious to learn more about the wild, wild thing that is MacGowan.

This bio takes the form of several interviews with MacGowan by his long time partner, Victoria Mary Clarke. This serves two functions simultaneously. First, Clarke asks questions that allow MacGowan to expound fully
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Not in the style of most auto or semi-auto biographies. Basically, it's Victoria Clarke asking Shane about himself, and letting him tell the tale. I get the feeling that Shane is a bit of an exaggerator, but no matter, there are some great stories in this book.

As examples:
Shane started drinking Guinness when he was five years old.
At eleven he was reading Marx and Trotsky, became an atheist for about three years, then at fourteen returned to Catholicism after taking acid.
He and Spider Stacy spr
Chris Bushman
Apr 03, 2013 rated it liked it
I received this as a gift and just read it over the holidays. Shane McGowan is a great interview subject and his girlfriend manages to pin him down for several coherent and enlightening interviews (which is no mean feat judging from his on-camera interviews captured in the If I Should Fall from Grace film).

However, it seems that she just transcribed the spew from each session, as is, rather than attempt to organize the material into subject categories. While reading the ramblings from the mind o
Alex V.
May 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
You can tell that Victoria Mary Clarke loves her husband Shane MacGowan for his faults and virtues equally, telling of long nights discussing Irish poetry and evenings of passing out in his food at restaurants with equal vivid relish, but its that level of starry eyed love that derails this book.

Shane MacGowan is a formidable subject, from his early days as a punk exemplifier to his reign in The Pogues, where he made Irish music un-corny for a brief moment. His lyrics are filled with backs stori
Apr 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm big into Shane MacGowan's music, and I figured that this book would either make me completely obsessed with the man or disillusion me and make me sad (the way Mickey Leigh's Joey Ramone book did for my girlfriend). In the end, my reaction wasn't that extreme. I just enjoyed the hell out of the book. The interview format of the book makes for very quick reading and allows MacGowan to blurt out some really funny and insightful stuff. Even just his way of speaking makes the boring bits of the b ...more
Storm Boyd
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Transcribed from a series of interviews between Shane and his on-off girlfriend Victoria Mary Clarke, the book allows an insightful and often hilarious look into the life and mind of Shane, from his youth through to his work after The Pogues and beyond. The conversational tone is welcoming but often makes the topics being discussed vague and difficult to keep track of and a great deal of the conversations may sound plastic and exaggerated to people new to Mr. MacGowan, but this is in fact an acc ...more
Jun 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pogues fans
I'm a fan of The Pogues and have seen the Shane Macgowan documentary (his laughter is enough to drive you mad). My friend lent me this book to "round out my education".

Shane has probably done every drug known to man and more. This book is laid out as a straight, stream of consciousness interview with his wife. And streaming it is. It was a fun read but somewhat difficult to grasp, as I think only Shane understands what he is thinking.....maybe.

He contradicts himself almost constantly, his storie
Feb 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
It pretty much blew my mind how well-read and intelligent Shane is.
I really enjoyed the structure of the book, which is a Q&A with his wife Victoria. I found her additionally commentary, italicized and used almost like stage directions, amusing, although others who have read the book found her theme of using adverbs constantly to be grating. ("Victoria patted her ample stomach, contentedly. Shane lit a cigarette, defiantly.")
There are parts that get slow, but all in all an enjoyable read, e
Dan Todd
If you're a Shane fan, then this is an enjoyable book to read. More of an extremely sympathetic interview than an autobiography as it was written by Shane's wife (and they're still together). Written in 2001, so there's lots more new material since then. Anyway, it's a very interesting portrait of a great musician and interesting person. No telling how much of Shane's memories are true, but he definitely is quite a guy.
Garrett Riggs
The title pretty much sums up what you can expect: an idealized night in the pub with songwriter Shane MacGowan. The anecdotes (as told to his girlfriend Victoria Clarke) are funny, nostalgic, exaggerated, etc. He claims to have started drinking Guinness at the age of 5 and says Samuel Beckett was miserable because he never got to play cricket for Ireland. Drunken rambling at times, but with enough startling insights and surprising depth in places to make it worth reading.
Kelsey McAfee
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed learning about Shane MacGowan's rowdy history and eclectic influences. He's pretty frank and talks about stuff a reader doesn't usually get privy to in a bio. I like that it's in interview format and it's a cool mix of philosophy, humor, descriptions of misadventures and subcultures, confessions, opinions, etc. Shane MacGowan's penned such brilliant material - it was cool to learn about him as a person beyond the simplified drunken stereotype he's often saddled with.
Hardcover Hearts
Oh, Shane! Why must you drink and rot your teeth so?! This book gives you the feeling that you are sitting on the bar stool next to him, listening to him ramble as he tells you his life story. But he is no ordinary drunk but one of the most amazing lyricists of our time. It is an interesting viewpoint, but it can be a bit challenging to read. This would be good for the Pogues fans.
Sep 06, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gives stream of consciousness a whole new meaning. Based on rambling interviews between shane and his wife, SHane explains how the Pogues (MY favoritest band in the world) became huge and then imploded. Also explains why he is such a drunk. An entertaining read for fans of Irish and Punk music. Kind of an autobiography with a translater (and if you ever hear shane talk you would need one)
May 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, music, memoir
This is a frustrating memoir in the form of a dialogue between Macgowan and his para-mour, also a journalist. No particular structure, maddeningly reticent on many subjects having to do with the formation, history, and disbanding of the Pogues, and one never knows when one can believe a word Macgowan says. . . .
Oct 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Shane's life, as imagined....many drunken days....anti-hygiene and anti-sleep.... It was very interesting and a little sad at the same time...the life of such an Irish-punk icon... I can see why Victoria fell in love with this ultra-flawed legacy in his own right.
May 29, 2012 added it
Fantastic personal interview - basically - with MacGowan, who holds court on any number of topics and lets his opinions and knowledge roam free. Written by his long-time girlfriend Victoria it's a great read of a large, unique musical personality.
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
At some points this book is a brilliant read, a great insight in to the life and times of Shane MacGowan, at others it is the pure drunken ramberlings of a fully fledged alcholic. These parts make reading it hard work. I didn't manage to finish the last chapter, I really could not be bothered!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Riot of Our Own: Night and Day with the Clash
  • Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer
  • Lexicon Devil: The Fast Times and Short Life of Darby Crash and The Germs
  • Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash
  • Here Comes Everybody
  • Confessions of an Irish Rebel
  • The Clash: Strummer, Jones, Simonon, Headon
  • Touch and Go: The Complete Hardcore Punk Zine '79-'83
  • Before the Dawn: An Autobiography
  • Let Fury Have the Hour: The Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer
  • On The Road With The Ramones
  • Punk Rock: An Oral History
  • 24-Hour Party People
  • Belfast Diary: War as a Way of Life
  • Cheetah Chrome: A Dead Boy's Tale: From the Front Lines of Punk Rock
  • The Dark Stuff: Selected Writings On Rock Music
  • As Though I Had Wings: The Lost Memoir
  • On the Blanket: The Inside Story of the IRA Prisoners' "Dirty" Protest