A walking testament to the debilitating effects of binge drinking since the age of four (!!!), former Pogues front man Shane McGowan horrifies while his voice compels. Somehow still alive after a lifetime of hardcore alcoholism, the man's body refuses to totally give out, although the majority of his teeth have visibly given up the ghost. And while there have been innumerable recording artists who have indulged in shockingly self-destructive behavior, none of them, not even Keith Richards at his worst, was ever as simultaneously visually repulsive and tear-inducingly pitiful as Shane. I say this after researching today's earlier post about Saint Patrick's Day and perusing dozens of images of McGowan, many of which were hideous, but perhaps none was as cringe-worthy as this one:
I mean, Jesus fucking Christ! The goddamned Elephant Man was almost beautiful in comparison, his horribly deformed visage nonetheless displaying a certain dignity while McGowan simply gives a face to addiction. And though there are reports of Shane's boozing slowing down somewhat in the wake of his fiftieth birthday, the guy's probably too far gone to ever totally kick the sauce. But who knows? Look at how long William S. Burroughs held on, and he was a major league junkie for much of his time upon the earth.