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A Fair Intake Of Ale In New York

  • Stuart Bailie
  • 18 Dec 07, 07:04 PM

Stuart Bailie.jpgHere’s a few shots of myself and Shane MacGowan in New York, November 1987. We’d been drinking saki in a Japanese restaurant, we’d swapped hats and for some reason Shane started spoon-feeding me ice cream.

shane6.jpgThe Pogues had just finished making the video for ‘Fairy Tale Of New York’. I was bewitched by the song and delighted to be in Manhattan to see the band play live at The Ritz. Since guitarist Phil Chevron was ill with a stomach ulcer, they’d flown in Joe Strummer to deputize. So as a bonus I watched them play ‘I Fought The Law’, London Calling’ and an encore of ‘Maggie May’. Nearby I could see The Beastie Boys, Jim Jarmusch and Matt Dillon. Everybody was smiling.

shane4.jpgFor the most part, Shane was decent company, keeping his distance behind that woozy persona. But if you said something he disagreed with, he’d immediately snap into focus, revealing a vast musical knowledge and a reserve of moral indignation. No fool, that guy.

Loads of saki was consumed on our night off. The restaurant bill was equally expansive, and the guy from the record company was outraged. “You’ve just blown the entire earnings from ‘Fairytale’!” he spluttered. An exaggeration, I reckon, but hey, it was well spent.


Stu Bailie presents The Late show on Radio Ulster, every Friday from 10pm until midnight. See his playlist here.

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