The cover design

The memoir is coming out in the UK at the beginning of May.  I’m in the proofreading stage at the minute.  By way of illustration of this part of the process, here’s a bit from Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’:

‘How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe,’ Victor Frankenstein says about his creature, ‘or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath.’


32 thoughts on “Memoir

  1. Hello James, just finished reading the book. I really enjoyed it and I think it was very well written, you have a fantastic way of describing things i.e. – denim of jacket.. I thought that line was brilliant. I’m going to leave this comment on the likes of Amazon so hope it helps other readers to go and buy the book. Many thanks, Alan

  2. hi james, i loved your book, i’m 31 irishman, i’m too young for the eightis, but i’m a fan after the book and before….

  3. Dear James,

    I loved your book and also have thoroughly enjoyed the Tour blog ‘dispatches from’ etc. I wonder will you eventually release a second book, with the story of the brotherhood of the Pogues brought up to date? The book does end in a very difficult place (which is brave I think) with the band’s relationship with Shane at it’s lowest ebb. As I said, I think this is brave and non sentimental, telling it how it was, warts and all. As a fan since the early eighties I have often considered how difficult it must have been for the rest of the band watching Shane disintegrate in front of your eyes, on the one hand you must have been concerned for his humanity, on the other it was your livelihood at stake too, with so much invested in your creative fulcrum. What I love about your blog is the honesty you display regarding your personal relationship with Shane. There is obviously great love for him, mixed with regret at how seemingly unapproachable he often seems on anything other than his own, often distressing terms. You do paint him as a virtual autistic child, unable to express himself other than in bursts of physical rage or biblical ranting. It seems to me that the relationship runs deep, and as your band mates say, he seems to love you too in his way, but to be close to such a flame cannot be easy. As a fan it is nice to have the blog, with the next chapter recording a happier (albeit still complex and not without drama, God forbid! ) outcome in the ongoing Pogues story.

    As a psychoanalytic psychotherapist my own interpretation of Shane is someone stuck ( and thankfully blessed a creative genius) in a traumatic developmental stage somewhere around when he was brought to England as a child. He never seems to have recovered from that and this seems to be his muse. His Irishness and the geographical and spiritual distance enforced on him at an impressionable age. It is moving to see the sibling dance you and Shane play out on the stages and backstages areas of the world and I hope one day you get down with your ‘editor’ and finish the story off in book form. You are clearly an excellent writer and with the archetypal sibling love/hate (with the creation/destruction trope also) tale of your wranglings with Mr. Macgowan, I suggest you have much to resolve emotionally and nail down in black and white creatively.

    I, in the meantime, like many others, will continue to attend Pogues shows and enjoy the great art and drama, and will continue logging onto your blog. Thanks to you and your compadre’s for enriching our lives with your great music and existential struggles, and I look forward to further installments and will continue to sing along.

    Best Wishes,

    Don Butler.

    1. Don, Thanks very much for considered comment. ‘A couple of flints’ was how my brother described my and Shane’s relationship. I don’t know how much further I’d like to go in exploration of my relationship with him in writing. As I’ve said elsewhere in the comments section on my blog here, the narrative trajectory of the book has described a satisfying enough bell curve. I’m not sure the narrative trajectory of Part II won’t describe an less pleasant shape to look at. There’s always a shit load to resolve. I keep a diary, which, at the moment, is as far as I’m going to go. Now, a story about one’s father….

  4. James, love the book. Brings back great memories. The post show sessions in Blooms were stuff of legend. And massive hangovers.

  5. Dear James,
    I purchased your book this morning on my Kindle, and have spent the better part of the day, captivated by your recollections of a time with definition. I was not aware of the Pogues, until my sister called one evening and said, “you better turn on SNL, there’s a band on called the Pogues, and you’ll love them”…and I did. Immediately.
    Raised on the Clancy’s, Dubliner’s and the like, after seeing your performance, I was sure I’d died and gone to heaven. It was as if you were
    speaking to my very soul, and given voice to something that I never could put into words. Shane and the Pogues captured my heart, and has never let go. I know I am not alone in this experience.
    Your book is a treasure, a well written peek into your life, and to the collective lives of the Pogues. I don’t want it to end. Congratulations!
    Sheila McCormack

    1. Sheila,

      Thanks very much for your comment. In time you’ll get to the bit – if you haven’t done already – describing the time we were in Letterkenny in Northern Ireland and I came across a boy who echoes your words almost exactly. I’m honoured to have been part of something that managed to do that once in a while.

      I’m told that reviews on Amazon help the book get to more readers than otherwise. Could I ask you to please copy and paste your message to me in the ‘customer review’ section on the web page of any of the on-line outlets you feel like?

      Again, thanks very much for writing to me.



  6. hi James, do you know what day you will be appearing at the Laugharne weekend? I hope you wont be grumpy after such a long trip!
    Kind regards, Calum.

  7. Mr. Fearnley,
    Very, Very excited for the new book! Will be definitely be ordering it online! Was hoping to see you guys in Chicago but our Japanese friends need some Pogues love too! Thanks for writing the book and again, I am excited to read it! Thanks and have a great day!
    ps…I know this is off topic, but are the pogues planning on touring the Mid-U.S. soon or putting out a new album?
    Thanks again Mr. Fearnley!

    1. Sean, thanks very much. At the moment it’s a matter of pre-ordering. I believe will import to the US when available. Check first. There are sadly no plans for either a Midwest tour, or a new record, sorry to say.

  8. Hello James,
    I am really digging “Hey Ho”. Is this a taster for a soon to be released full-length cd?

    Cheers – Brian

    1. Brian, Thanks. I enjoyed recording “Hey Ho”. It’s not often I get the opportunity to whistle into a microphone. I’m working on further material in the hope it’ll congeal into something like a full-length CD. I’ll have to see how it goes.

  9. Thanks, Yvonne. I hope you enjoy it. Always useful to have an aunt in London. Sorry not to come to Washington DC this March. It’s always been one of my favourite cities. Good health to yourself too.

  10. Advance appreciation for writing the memoir. Looking forward to getting my hands on it and lucky for me I’ve an aunt in London who will definitely purchase it for me. I was hoping to see the band again at the 9:30 Club this March but I see that you will be in Japan. Thank you and good health to you.

  11. Ollie,

    Thanks for getting in touch.
    Please see my answer to Georgie’s question above. As soon as I know what’s going on with my book being published in other countries, I’ll post it here.

  12. Georgie,
    I enjoyed reading Kiss My Arse too. Sadly Carol Clerk passed away a year ago last March. I would have liked her to have read my book.

    When I find out about the translation of the book into other languages, I’ll post it up on this site. At the moment, it’s just being published in the UK, with foreign rights to follow at some point.

    1. Thanks for information James !! I’ll buy your book in english……. it’s a bit stressful reading for me but it works !!!! 🙂

  13. Hi James , just reading the Pogues bio “Kiss my Arse “, very good stuff !!
    I’m looking forward to your book !!! Will it be released in german too , would be great ??!!
    Best from Germany

  14. Loved James’s blogs posted on line throughout previous tours. Think he has a very distinctive voice and unique incite esp. loved Drunken Boat on Waiting for Herb. Why did you never write more songs James? Love Shane but think too much Pogues-related writing is Shane-centric. The Pogues were and are a 360 degree phenomenen and hopefully the memoir will reflect this. After 40 years of listening to music still think the Pogues were the best band in the world at one time, both in the studio and live. The very best of luck for the future

    Stu Goodwin

    1. Stu,

      Thanks for your comments. I enjoyed writing about the tours for (hardly blogs: once I’d come home, I spent weeks writing up pages of sometimes illegible notes). As I’ve said before, somewhere, they were a good springboard for getting going on ‘Here Comes Everybody’.

      It seemed like we had an adequate song-writer in the Pogues until we let him go. Drunken Boat was a kind of dénouement song for me. I’d just become a dad, and it was approaching time to let myself go.

      As far as 360 degrees go, in ‘Here Comes Everybody’, everybody averages 45, though Shane might get 50 or 60 now and again.

  15. James,
    Congratulations on the upcoming delivery of your ‘monster’. I’ve been looking forward to it, after thoroughly enjoying the dispatches from the 2005/2006 tours, and chasing the Pogues around for the last few years.
    Can’t wait!

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