Another death. Another funeral. Like Benjamin Zephaniah, Shane MacGowan was only sixty five. He was born in Kent in England but his parents were Irish and his spiritual homeland was back in County Tipperary. With drink and drugs, Shane seemed to have an active self-destruct button so I suppose that it is something of a miracle that he made it to sixty five.
He was the creative force behind The Pogues and managed to find a way to marry punk with elements of Irish traditional music. He had a way with words.
This afternoon, BBC World News covered the three hours of his sometimes chaotic funeral, beamed live to our living room from the town of Nenagh, County Tipperary. It was a heady mix of remembrances, readings, music, prayers, mistakes and a traditional Catholic mass. The church was packed for Shane was much loved and attendees no doubt recognised his essential humanity, his poetic soul and the struggles he had had to just to navigate life on an even keel. His friend Johnny Depp was there, reading one of the short prayers and so was Michael D. Higgins - The President of Ireland
Shane wrote "A Fairytale of New York" back in 1987 and it became one of those Christmas hits that endures as the years pass - "The boys of the NYPD choir/ Were singing Galway Bay/ And the bells were ringing out/ For Christmas Day". The remaining Pogues and other friends played it at his funeral today as some of his family danced in the aisles. It was a hell of a way to say goodbye.
He could have lived a safer, more comfortable life but that was not in his nature. He was out there on the edge, pushing the boundaries, taking risks, drinking it all in, relishing this gift of life. Yes indeed - Shane MacGowan made his mark.