Sayonara

Shane MacGowan makes being a trainwreck and a sod sound appealing. Not from the looks of him, of course, but musically at least. There’s an insouciance and a shamelessness to it that makes you want to say “to hell with it all” and go drown yourself in a bottle. That kind of shameless joie de vivre in the face of disaster is a quality we associate with the Irish in general, which, as broad cultural stereotypes go, is not too terrible. I can think of other cultures whose stereotypical main characteristic is alcoholism, who aren’t seen as happy and lovable. Of course, there’s not much happy and lovable about a guy like Shane MacGowan either. Drinking until your teeth fall out of your skull isn’t cute, but I suppose that it does lend a certain dance-with-the-devil street cred.

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