Thursday, 11 June, 2020 in Book Reviews, Books, Culture, Music

Into Books Review: Shane MacGowan: Threescore

Book: Shane MacGowan: Threescore
Author: Andrew Catlin

I’m a huge fan of The Pogues and The Popes, two of the bands Shane MacGowan has been the enigmatic front man for. This book by photographer Andrew Catlin documents forty years of MacGowan’s career with sixty portraits, along with quotes and lyrics.

The portraits are simply fantastic, capturing The Pogues in concert, on the road, along with the likes of The Dubliners and Kirsty MacColl. There is also a good section of the book devoted to MacGowan’s 60th birthday concert held in Dublin in January 2018, where Nick Cave, Bobby Gillespie, Sinead O’Connor, Bono, various Pogues, and the Irish President, Michael Higgins (who presented Shane with a Lifetime Achievement Award) were in attendance.

MacGowan’s long time partner Victoria Mary Clarke pens the introduction and she sums up the book perfectly:

What I love about this collection of pictures of Shane is that they manage to illustrate the philosophy that Shane has lived by. They show him to be the energetic, creative, rebellious, soulful, stubborn, romantic, uncompromising, eccentric, innocent, chaotic, wilful, reckless, enthusiastic, spiritual, stylish, sensational human being that has miraculously survived his own daredevil nature and emerged a beautiful, sensitive, still innocent soul“.

The quotes in the book give an insight into the man behind the legend. From describing the family home he grew up in, which was a safe house for the old IRA during the Black and Tans war, through to playing live and how he approaches songwriting, and a shed load of other stuff besides.

Catlin is an established and well-known photographer, artist, director, cinematographer and filmmaker who aside from this tome has published books on Sinead O’Connor and The Jesus and Mary Chain. His photographs have also featured on record covers for the aforementioned artists, and for the likes of Joan Armatrading, Bryan Adams, Public Enemy, Bryan Ferry and Echo & The Bunnymen. Here is just a small sample of Catlin’s work…

I never thought I would have a coffee table book on Shane MacGowan, but I do … and it’s great!

Shane MacGowan: Threescore can be purchased here.

John Welsh



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