In a way it was surprising that Shane MacGowan survived this long, considering his noted and dramatic habits. But it’s still sad that he’s died.

I count The Pogues as one of the bands I’ve seen live most of all. The only other one that comes close would be The Fall, and either could be the winner. Goes back to 1985, either way.

The Pogues were vey much a band of supremely talented musicians and songwriters. But Shane was the driving force. What they did was to meld punk with Irish folk music. The former, of course had helped me through my adolescent years and would remain a lifelong love. The latter: well, I came from a Scottish Catholic background, so it was pretty familiar, between Scottish folk and Irish songs sung at Celtic matches.

So on the instant that I first heard them — certainly on Peel, and probably ‘Sally MacLennane’, I’d say — they clicked. There was no learning curve, no adjustment to this new sound. It was just there, it belonged, as if it had always existed.

The Pogues may have been inevitable, but Shane was a genius. And his songs, as I wrote when Phil Chevron died were steeped in death imagery.

I’ll leave you with a couple of excellent screen grabs from Twitter (where, just to note, as I write, ‘Sodomy and the Lash’ is trending under a ‘food’ heading, which is just beyond weird.

First, this excellent mashups of the day’s deaths of noted figures:

A tweet saying 'i'll remember Shane MacGowan for his staid, unflashy fiscal stewardship during the late New Labour years, Henry Kissinger for his wildcat drinking and visionary balladeering, and Alastair Darling for his crimes against the people of Cambodia and Laos'

And this typically topical ‘Fairytale’ reference (even if it does misspell his surname):

A tweet saying 'fair play to shane macgowen for tapping out exactly one day before the fairy tale of new york discourse starts  RIP'

So it goes.