Friday night's radio show was the chance to unload some of the marvellous parts of a new box set, 'Just Look Them Straight In The Eye And Say Pogue Mahone'. For veteran Pogues fans, this is a prime archive - over 100 tracks on 5 CDs, containing demos, collaborations and haphazard rehearsals.
The early recordings are amusing and slack, but very quickly the players assumed a nonchalant skill, fluent in waltzes, polkas and other rumblethump varieties. You remember with a jolt how tender Shane MacGowan sounded in the days when he could still form consonants, and how a hitherto 'lost' song like 'NW3' could chart his youthful times in north London, defiant but also displaced and sad.
I settled in north London in 1985, just as the Pogues delivered their peerless second album, and soon we were also supping in the Devonshire Arms and finding our thrills around the Celtic triangle of Camden, Kentish Town and Archway. They sold Galtee bacon and Tayto crisps in the grocery stores and the jukeboxes really did feature Ray and Philomena bleating out 'My Elusive Dreams'.
The Pogues played immigrant music and we were numerous back then, looking for better job prospects and searching for errant fun in the dark streets of London. This is pretty much how the era sounded.
BBC Radio Ulster, 92-95 FM, 1341 MW
Fridays, ten - midnight
The Pogues - If I Should Fall From Grace With God (Ryko)
Sigur Ros - Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur (EMI)
Billy Bragg - The Beach Is Free (CV)
Rachel Austin - Dear Love (white)
Smashing Pumpkins 1979 (Hut)
Rachel Austin - Love Won't Fall From Heaven (white)
Brass Construction - Moving (Liberty)
The Pogues - Do You Believe In Magic (Ryko)
Steve Wynn - When We Talk About Forever (Blue Rose)
Sigur Ros - Með Suð í Eyrum (EMI)
Tony Joe White - Run with the Bulls (Munich)
Tim Buckey - Nighthawkin (Warner)
The Pogues - NW3 (Ryko)
Neon Neon - I Told Her On Alderaan (Lex)
Martha Wainwright - You Cheated Me (Drowned In Sound)
Steve Young - Rock Salt And Nails (Edsel)
Joan As Policewoman - Start Of My Heart (Reveal)
Chatham County Line (Whipping Boy)
Sigur Ros - Góðan Daginn (EMI)
Emmylou Harris - Kern River (Nonesuch)
The Jack Stafford Foundation - Cedar Room (Independent)
The Pogues -Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah (Ryko)