Saturday, May 05, 2007

Shane McGowan in the Shelbourne

Sitting in the new Shelbourne - local for parvenus, fly boys and brittle blondes - I espy a strange shambling figure gimping his way to the far corner of the bar. It's Shane McGowan, dark glasses and listing to starboard. His face has got very puffy, like a boxer after a hard fight - in his case a losing battle with alcohol. He has lost that tinker chic look he had in his glory days. He also has a long cut or rash along his jaw line.

He is joined by a very colourful dark-haired woman wearing a dress that would have been a fashionable ball-gown if we were still in the Fifties. She ministers to him caringly as he sips his tea, and later some champagne. From time to time he breaks into song - but in a muted low-key way. P. is there with his camera shooting all around him (for the Shinnors opening) but he refrains from intruding on this tragic tableau. It was a subject more suited to Diane Arbus than Richard Avedon.