Shane MacGowan’s partner Victoria Mary Clarke has opened up about the singer and his battle with alcohol.
The Pogues singer is now sober “for the first time in years”, and Victoria has admitted she begged her partner to change and look after his health.
“Shane’s work and his drinking have always gone hand in hand,” she wrote in the Independent.
Hard times: Shane has been drinking his entire career | VIPIRELAND.COM
“The songs that he writes are more often than not about people who are drinking – sometimes as a way of celebrating, sometimes as a way of drowning their sorrows. Nobody in the songs is ever having a latte or a Coke.
“Shane has been a singer all his life, singing in bars and clubs and other venues where people go to drink and have fun. If anyone is not drinking, it is unusual in these places.
“So the drinking has not just been a recreational activity, his whole career has revolved around it and, indeed, been both enhanced and simultaneously inhibited by it.
“People tell me that they would not get involved with someone who drank too much, but when we first met I was only 16 and I didn’t notice that Shane drank.
Problems: Shane always drank heavily | VIPIRELAND.COM
“Probably because I drank a vast amount myself, and everyone we knew drank. We drank every night, all night. In my teens, I could drink a whole bottle of whiskey without even getting a hangover.
“I thought nothing of starting the day with a tequila and grapefruit. And at the office where I worked in London, lunch was typically a gin and tonic and a sandwich. After work, everyone went to the pub – every night.
“And so, it took some time before Shane’s drinking went from being just a normal part of life to being a problem,” she admitted.
“There were mood swings too, and there were fights. But, in the early days, most of our friends had worse mood swings and worse fights.”
Bad way: Shane was drinking and taking drugs | VIPIRELAND.COM
Victoria explained that not only did Shane have a drinking problem, but he was using drugs as well which made things worse.
“Shane also took a lot of drugs, and as the effects of the drugs became more unpredictable and more disturbing, it was difficult to see which of the substances was the most problematic.
“When he answered the door to me after having missed his flight to the United States to open for Bob Dylan, and there was blood pouring out of his mouth because he had eaten a Beach Boys record, it looked as though it was the 100 tabs of acid that were the problem and not the gin and tonic.
“And when I found him on the floor with a needle in his leg, the drink was not the first thing that I worried about.
“Whatever it is that you get used to becomes normal. And, unless you have exceptional self-control, I don’t think you can choose who you fall in love with,” she admitted.
Begged: Victoria wanted Shane to look after himself | VIPIRELAND.COM
“For many, many years I pleaded and threatened and schemed and begged Shane to take care of his health, to cut down on the drinking, and all the rest of it.
“Gradually it became clear to me that while I might have some influence over these things, I did not have any control.
“That was until one day a few months ago. Shane went into hospital with an excruciating pain in his hip. It was compounded by pneumonia, and the result was a lengthy hospital stay and a total detox. No drink. There was not even a mention of drink. This continued after he got home.
“This is the longest that Shane has been sober since we met, and we are getting on very well.
“I would not have dreamed that it was possible for Shane to be happy and sober,” she admitted.