News broke on May 16th that 51 year old Irish born The Pogues front man, Shane MacGowan, has spent the last month in Spain having dental work done to repair years of damage and decay to the fang-like stumps that for decades have bobbed adrift in his vacant gummy smile. The state of MacGowan’s signature bad teeth was largely due to a chemical imbalance in his mouth thanks to years of hardened drinking, however there are a number of other sources – largely the singer’s own addled memories – that suggest additional factors such as lack of brushing; drunken fights; alleged police brutality; the use of heavy drugs such as crack and crystal meth; falling over a wall drunk and cracking his teeth on a pile of bricks; being beaten about the head and face with an iron bar in an alleged homophobic attack in an alleyway behind a London pub; and eating a copy of the Beach Boys Greatest Hits vol. 3 LP whilst under the influence of LSD.
Pictures like this of ghastly rotting tombstones have jarred sensitive stomachs and retinas alike the world over and have added much to MacGowan’s reputation. However, despite his hideousness portraying the essence of his musical persona, and his recent outrage at an American Record Company who air brushed him a new set of teeth on an album cover for fear that his rotting face would put off US fans it seems that MacGowan – who recently talked about getting his teeth fixed to stop his face “falling apart” – finally succumbed to the practicalities of orthodontic attention.
To commemorate the introduction of a respectable yet flagrantly uncharacteristic set of mandibles to MacGowan’s mouth and in part mourn the death of his trademark toothless grimace, this weeks The Sunday Video features a number of clips that chart both the bands career and MacGowan’s worsening appearance.
In more ways than one, the story that surrounds Shane’s teeth is a shame. As we muse over the various unsettling possibilities presented to our fertile imaginings by other parts of his anatomy, dwell heavily on the poetic tragedy of hedonism, and bid a fond farewell to an iconic mush that will never return, please enjoy these video’s. Owing to the fact that no one clip we could find was able to adequately illustrate the singular peculiar beauty exuded by this man, we offer up four.
The Pogues: Waxie’s Dargle.
The Pogues: Dirty Old Town and some footage from If I Should Fall From Grace: The Shane MacGowan Story DVD.
Short clip taken from a 1997 BBC documentary about Shane MacGowan. MacGowan is filmed while drinking in a pub when suddenly she starts singing. The lady singing the same song as Shane is Therese MacGowan, his mother.
A preemptive but nontheless illustrative poem from ithacabound84 titled The Death of Shane MacGowan.