Pogue Mahone

Thanks to the help of the aforementioned ringer, we went to see the Pogues play in Birmingham last weekend. For the most part, they’ve worn their age well; lead singer Shane MacGowan may be the exception, beginning to look more like Johnny Vegas, but sounding even more like the drunks and hustlers in his songs. The fake snow during “Fairytale of New York” completed the translation of a grim story into a kitsch holiday classic, but the Pogues have always tread a line between the seedy and sublime. The aging lads spewing beer all over the dance floor while singing along to “Dirty Old Town” and chanting Shane’s name knew which side they were on. When I first saw the Pogues, nearly two decades ago at Toad’s Place in the US, I was a slender-shouldered wannabe rock critic (the Pogues were only critics’ darlings there, never as popular as they became here), buffeted on the dance floor by the local equivalent of the tattooed lads, and I just hope that I’ve aged as gracefully as they have.