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Shane MacGowan’s authorised biography ain’t no fairytale… but it’s a riveting read

This well-researched book is about the rocker’s furious devotion to Victoria, as much as it is about drink or drugs

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Ever lasting – Shane MacGowan’s relationship with Victoria Mary Clarke, pictured here in 1993, is central to this book. Picture: Independent Newspapers/NLI Collection

Ever lasting – Shane MacGowan’s relationship with Victoria Mary Clarke, pictured here in 1993, is central to this book. Picture: Independent Newspapers/NLI Collection

Shane MacGowan

Shane MacGowan

A Furious Devotion: The Authorised Story Of Shane MacGowan

A Furious Devotion: The Authorised Story Of Shane MacGowan

Shane MacGowan

Shane MacGowan

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Ever lasting – Shane MacGowan’s relationship with Victoria Mary Clarke, pictured here in 1993, is central to this book. Picture: Independent Newspapers/NLI Collection

The publication of a weighty book like this would usually coincide with, say, a significant anniversary of a death. But Shane MacGowan is very much alive. Despite reports to the contrary over the last 30 years.

Richard Balls – whose previous books have included Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Life of Ian Dury and Be Stiff: The Stiff Records Story – does a remarkable job on what can’t have been the easiest of subjects. He talks to everyone – Shane’s close family, friends, ex-girlfriends, his old English teacher... he even finds an undertaker, one Philly Ryan, who gave MacGowan some work in a cemetery in Co Tipperary in the mid 1990s, having met the former Pogues’ singer in a pub in Nenagh at two in the morning.


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