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Fireworks . . .and the Pogues

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Fireworks . . . and the Pogues


“You remember when the ship went down
You left me on the deck
The captain’s corpse jumped up
And threw his arms around my neck
For all these years I’ve had him on my back
This debt cannot be paid with all your jack”
The Pogues, Turkish Song of the Damned


“Fuck you, Wade!” Mira cried as she ran out of the room.

I just stood there.

I thought that I had a good idea.

I thought wrong.

My idea: To make in up to Britain to see the Pogues on what could be their last ever tour a few days before Christmas.

The Pogues with Shane McGowan, that is. This is special. I am in Western Europe. The Pogues are the only music group in the world that I would ever think about going out of my way for. This may sound frivolous and perhaps a touch adolescent, but I really love the music that this bands plays, and have always wanted to stand before them as they belt it out.

I have dreamed into and out of these songs for many years. The Pogues have been with me on all of my travels: I have sang their songs while climbing mountains, recited their lyrics while walking into horizons, and when I wake in the morning, it is to the tune of penny whistles and Shane McGowan’s gruff voice. These songs form some rough background template to my life. Everybody has a soundtrack, a drum beat if you will, a poem to walk with.

“I awoke alone and lonely
In a faraway place
The sun fell cold upon my face
The cracks in the ceiling spelt hell
Turned to the wall
Pulled the sheets around my head
Tried to sleep, and dream my way
Back to you again”
The Pogues, Misty Morning, Albert Bridge


Nothing other than traveller poetry set to music! I say this with all out exuberance.

To see the Pogues before they die is one of my few goals. As silly as it may sound, I have dreamed of this. And this could very well be my last chance to see them perform.

They are old, decaying, and, literally, dying. McGowan has been on death watch for many years. I want to stand before them, just once, to experience the music that keeps my feet a wandering.

This actually means something to me.

So I email Ubertramp to see if he wants to go.

He does.

Mira returns to the room: “You are so damn erratic, it is really hard to be with you. I never know where you are going!”

That makes two of us.

But she has a point. I come up with ideas and expect her to love them as much as I do. I fail to take into account that she has her own plans, wants, and ambitions. It is difficult to travel with a lover: as love is about selflessness, and travel is routed in selfishness.

It is a grand drama of mutually exclusive forces pushing and pulling their way across continents and into oblivion. Oftentimes both lovers concurrently feel pulled by the other into places that do not match the rhythm of either’s footsteps. This route seems hard, and makes you feel as if traveling and living would be far easier on your own.

And it probably would be.

But the trick, the beauty of traveling with a lover is coming out of the other side of this disharmony, and finding that you have, in fact, been walking hand in hand the entire time. That the pushing and pulling and conflict of desires is not merely rumble on the path, but is the path itself.

This is love.

“I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can’t make it all alone
I’ve built my dreams around you”
-The Pogues, Fairytale of New York


Wade from VagabondJourney.com
Vila Nova de Milfontes, Portugal

November 10, 2007

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Filed under: Art and Music, England, Europe, Other Travelers, Travel Philosophy

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3053 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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