October 1982: ABC, Culture Club, Shalamar and Survivor dominate the top twenty when the Pogues barrel out from the backstreets of King's Cross, a furious, pioneering mix of punk energy, traditional melodies and the powerfully poetic songwriting of Shane MacGowan.
Reviled by traditionalists for their frequently fast, often riotous interpretations of Irish folk songs, the Pogues rose from the sweaty chaos of backroom gigs in Camden pubs to world tours with the likes of Elvis Costello, U2 and Bob Dylan and had huge commercial success with everyone's favourite Christmas song, 'Fairytale of New York'.
Yet the exuberance of their live performances coupled with relentless touring spiralled into years of hard drinking and excess which eventually took their toll - most famously on Shane but also on the rest of the band - causing them to part ways seven years later.
Here their story is told with beauty, lyricism and great candour by James Fearnley, founding member and accordion player. He brings to life the youthful friendships, the bust-ups, the amazing gigs, the terrible gigs, the fantastic highs and the dramatic lows in a hugely compelling, humorous, moving and honest account of life in one of our most treasured and original bands.
Im glad i listened to this book...the Pogues are one of my favorite musical groups
I've been wanting to know more about the Pogues and Shane MacGowan for a while now. The websites and wiki just didnt cover the detail that I wanted to know. To start, I didn't realize they weren't a fully Irish band... Anyhoo, I never expected to read a good story about the band that didn't focus 90% on Shane... To my happiness, James Fearnley's book is exactly what I wanted to read - it covered everyone equally. It also included a musicians perspective from someone who was there... It got 4 stars from me for telling a story I wanted to hear.
Now for the bad part. I couldn't wait to be finished.. I had the misfortune of listening to this as an audiobook narrated by James Fearnley himself. His Manchester accent was REALLY hard to get used to. I honestly thought he was faking it and pretending to read the book in the style of the over-the-top tour manager in Waynes World 2...But thats the way he speaks... What made it worse is his overuse of a thesaurus and paragraph long descriptions of EVERYTHING - It made the book borderline unbearable to listen at times... I've yelled at my audible player numerous times for him to just say "pick" instead of "plectrum", or using "capitulate" instead of "surrender". The only saving grace is that I picture when his bandmates Shane, Spider or Kait read this, they would rail into him about his boorishness...
Before you decide to not read this book based on my review, just remember that I gave it 4 stars even tho I absolutely hated the pretentious way it was written and narrated. That is saying a lot... I am grateful to have read the book and heard the stories and history of the Pogues as a whole.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Is there anything you would change about this book?
Everybody knows The Pogues are an amazingly interesting band, not only for their turbulent take on irish music but also for the charisma and drama of the members. It's probably very hard to write a bad book about a band like them. And indeed, James Fearnley wrote a very good book. However Fearnley's problem is not writing, but reading, which he doensn't do very well. As endearing as his Mancunian accent is, his voice would be a good treatment for insomnia if the random pauses in the middle of sentences weren't so incredibly annoying. Some chapters are better, but some feel like driving on a road full of potholes with the lights off. It's just (PAUSE) annoyng to listen to a (PAUSE) book where the narrator pauses randomly (PAUSE) in the middle of sentences for (PAUSE) no reason. You get the idea.
What other book might you compare Here Comes Everybody to and why?
Except for the problems with the reading voice however, this book ranks well among the current crop of rock memoirs, such as Crissie Hynde's, Kim Gordon's and Peter Hook's.
How could the performance have been better?
The performance could have been better if Fearnley had a more exciting voice and didn't pause all the time between words that shouldn't have a pause in between them.
Do you think Here Comes Everybody needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
Not really, except maybe for a Shane MacGowan memoir.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Really enjoyed the book. Great to get an insider view of the Pogues. The narration is really clear and easy to follow.
This is the best music memoir I've ever read/listened to. Though James isn't a natural to narrating, he's a fantastic mimic. Fascinating insight in to a departed London too. Fascinating, funny story told in an interesting/literary style.
Hilarious and heartbreaking ! Great memories and great days . Belfast , Barrowland , Australia Kirsty , Joe all brought to life ! Eagle as Andrew would say !
Would you listen to Here Comes Everybody again? Why?
doubt I'd listen to it again, James is not a natural reader, taking away from the enjoyment
Who was your favorite character and why?
Shane, its the only reason I bought this, wanting to know how the Pogues came about and Shane is the character which without, the Pogues would never be.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
not a natural interesting reader, poorly read, especially when a great story
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
Pogue Mahone, what else
Any additional comments?
I'm not one to usually write reviews.
However in this case, I'll make an exception.
Based on other reviews, I expected the reading to be mediocre and they were right.
When James reads, he tends to be slow and you'd think it was the first time reading the book as you get the feeling he's just reading it as he finds it.
Until he gets to the parts where he's imitating Shane etc, these become very fluent and just about keep me interested in listening to the story.
I am however enjoying hearing how the Pogues became the Pogues, from the early days of the Nips, just a shame the reading could have been much more fluent which would make the overall rating 100%, only falls down on James's spoken words :(