Shane and Victoria at the 50th anniversary of The Late Late Show in 2012. Alamy Stock Photo
Shane MacGowan

Victoria Mary Clarke speaks of the loss of her husband Shane MacGowan

Shane’s wife spoke of how the pair met and the shared love between to two of them.

SHANE MACGOWAN’S WIFE, Victoria Mary Clarke, spoke about the shock she experienced when she was told her husband was going to die.

Irish singer and musician Shane MacGowan, best known for being the frontman of The Pogues, died on Thursday at home, aged 65.

Speaking to Brendan O’Connor on RTÉ Radio One this morning, Victoria Mary Clarke spoke of how the pair met and the shared love between to two of them.

“I look at him and became fascinated immediately,” Clarke recalled whiled telling the programme how the two met in London in 1982.

“I was seating in my seat in the pub, in North London – the Royal Oak, Temple Fortune – and he just walked in the bar with Spider and I noticed them because they didn’t look like anyone else.”

Describing his look, Clarke said Shane didn’t go with the “new romantic” look, that everyone else had taken to. Instead, Clarke said: “He was dressing like his dad.”

She detailed how Shane asked her to buy Spider Stacey, Tin Whistler and Vocalist for The Pogues, a drink as it was his birthday. 

“And I said ‘F**k off,’. And that’s all we said to each other but that somehow created intrigue,” she said.

For months later, Clarke went to watch the band play gigs around the United Kingdom and spent time with the band, but more specifically Shane.

She spoke how Shane was “gentlemanly” and didn’t kiss or engage with Clarke as she had a boyfriend at the time. Later, the pair went on a date to the 100 Club in London, a Northern Soul nightclub.

“By seven in the morning I think me and Shane were just lying on the floor – blocking the traffic because people were trying to get out or trying to get their coats – but we were just enraptured with each other.”

shane-macgowan-and-spider-stacy-of-the-pogues-just-prior-to-the-release-of-a-fairytale-of-new-york-in-1987-image-shot-1987-exact-date-unknown Shane MacGowan and his long-time friend Spider Stacy in 1987. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

On her loss, Clarke said she doesn’t focus on Shane’s death but instead chooses to appreciate the time they had together. 

Clarke said it was a shock to her when the medical staff told her that Shane was going to die because she believed he was going to recover from his illness, like he had done before.

“It was a massive shock. I actually thought I was going to die myself when I heard. My body just gave out, I was vomiting and collapsing and not able to function. I actually lay down in the hospital for a while before I went into the room.”

Shane had been receiving treatment in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin for a number of months before he was discharged on 22 November. 

He had been diagnosed with encephalitis last year. Despite this, he and his wife posted videos to his Instagram pages to wish his fans best wishes and their friends a happy birthday throughout this year.

Clarke said: “He had so many of these. He had been in intensive care so many times over the years, in London and in Ireland, and even in America.

“I remember him getting pneumonia in L.A while we were on tour and the tour manager was like ‘I don’t see how he can get through this’. But he always did. I just had this faith that he would.”

He wasn’t ready to give up. He wasn’t ready to stop fighting – but his body did it for him.”

Clarke said that Shane had many visitors in hospital to keep him entertained, such as Bono, The Edge, Daniel O’Donnell, Imelda May, Moya Brennan, Aidan Gillen, and many more.

“There was a constant stream of visitors,” Clarke said. “He would have a laugh with them and we’d all watch TV together.”

“He was incredibility loyal to his friends, and loved them – and still loves, from the beyond – in a very unconditional way,” Clarke later said.

He lived briefly in Tipperary as a young child before the family moved back to England when he was six. His wife spoke of how he “felt a sense of a place and a sense of Old Ireland” when he would go back to visit.

the-pogues-live-music-concert-at-brixton-academy-london-uk The Pogues during a gig in London in 2004. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

MacGowan was heavily influenced by bands like The Clash and others in the emerging British punk scene of the 1970s, as well as by his Irish heritage. He drew strongly on both these influences to form the Celtic-styled punk band The Pogues in 1982.

The band became hugely influential to Irish at home and abroad for their covers of old Irish trad songs, stylised into Shane’s punk-rock esthetic.

Clarke said that there was an album which Shane had put together before his death and it sounded “good”. 

President Michael D. Higgins described MacGowan as “one of music’s greatest lyricists”.

So many of his songs would be perfectly crafted poems, if that would not have deprived us of the opportunity to hear him sing them.”

“The genius of Shane’s contribution includes the fact that his songs capture within them, as Shane would put it, the measure of our dreams – of so many worlds, and particularly those of love, of the emigrant experience and of facing the challenges of that experience with authenticity and courage, and of living and seeing the sides of life that so many turn away from.

“His words have connected Irish people all over the globe to their culture and history, encompassing so many human emotions in the most poetic of ways.”

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