A Rainy Night in Soho (Pogues cover)
Hardest I’ve sobbed in a long time, not from lack of trying or lack of things to cry about, was watching the television coverage of Shane MacGowan’s funeral in Dublin. The lovely wicker casket, the tearful smiles on the faces of friends and family dancing in the aisles to the coda of “Fairytale of New York” (ever seen people dancing in the aisles? At a funeral!?), all the streets along the route from the cathedral to his final resting place lined with drunken farewell-wishers spontaneously shouting and singing his songs—it was all too much to bear in the best possible way. A weight that lifts some other part of your heart as it presses down. Like an old-fashioned scale.
Shane was a mythical creature. A man made of song and luck. Story has it he left a stint at a mental hospital in his teens one morning and somehow ended up at the very first Clash concert that evening. Almost makes you believe, as Shane did, that he’d been chosen by god to save Irish music. Why? Because god is Irish!
For myself—as a person in recovery and as a songwriter, Shane’s life, and the way he chose to live most of it, presents a host of deeply conflicting emotions. It’s easy to wish we had more from him. But it’s hard to argue that what we got—what we’re all left with, forever—wasn’t enough.
This Week In Wilco, Etc.
2008 / December 13: Wilco opens for Neil Young with a 10-song set at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA.
2017 / December 15: Jeff plays WFUV’s Holiday Cheer show at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. The 10-song set is broadcast on WFUV.
2021 / December 16: On The Tweedy Show #206, Jeff debuts a new song, “I Am My Mother,” which will later open Wilco’s Cruel Country album.