Shane MacGowan says the success of Fairytale Of New York made life "boring" for The Pogues

Shane MacGowan and Kirsty McColl
(Image credit: Tim Roney/Getty Images)

The Pogues' 1987 single Fairytale Of New York is arguably the best Christmas song of all time, and inarguably the most-played Christmas song of the 21st century in the UK, where it has now racked up north of 2.4 million combined sales. But according to the band's mercurial frontman Shane MacGowan, the success of the single made life "boring" for the London-Irish group.

In a new interview in The Times, MacGowan says that "everything was exciting" for The Pogues in their early years together - "It changed our lives" he tells writer Will Hodgkinson - but that things changed after the much-loved Fairytale... became a monster hit.

“Once Fairytale got big it was really boring and you get real sick of it," the singer says. "You’re walking out on stage and they’re applauding like mad before you’ve done anything, yeah? It gets frightening. We did loads of bad gigs, most of them in the States.”

MacGowan reveals in the interview that he has recently recorded an as-yet-unfinished new album with a band called the Cronins. Songs collated for the album include the original Gino’s Place, trad. Irish ballad Wild Mountain Thyme and a reading of W.B. Yeats’ Down By the Salley Gardens set to a musical backing.

MacGowan also has a new, and extremely expensive, art book on sale, titled The Eternal Buzz and the Crock of Gold, which compiles some of his drawings, essays and photographs. Copies are available to order on his website.

Asked if he ever imagined that his drawings would be collected and presented as art, the singer admits, “Not in a million years."

"I was just doing them when I wasn’t doing anything else, drawing them on sick bags on aeroplanes or in pubs," he adds. "I was too busy being a hard-working rock star, answering lots of stupid questions from interviewers.”

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.