Arts and Entertainment Phil Chevron of The Pogues

Brixton Academy, London

Interview: Shane MacGowan Rum, sodomy and the past

Shane MacGowan's influence on Irish music cannot be overestimated according to a documentary on BBC2 tonight. Not bad for a man once described as `sordid, rowdy and vulgar'

Festival: SHANE MACGOWAN West Belfast

The organisers look worried. Everybody's wondering, "will he make it?" Rumours are flying: "Yer man was in Madden's, completely blocked already" ... "He'd 12 pints lined up, and he wants 24 hard-boiled eggs sent on to the stage" ... "Twenty-four? Jesus, I heard 40!" The egg mystery is never solved. But with Shane MacGowan there are many mysteries. Even to the crowd at the West Belfast Festival (Feile) - where he and the Popes are to play the first concert - the man's thirst is bewildering. How can he stay vertical and still sing? But he can. And he will this night, on a cramped stage on waste ground in the open air.

Daniel Synge suggests Four late-night drinking clubs

the elderly gent belonging to a Pall Mall club who once defined a private members' club as "a refuge from the vulgarity of the outside world, where people still prefer a silver salt-cellar which doesn't pour to a plastic one that does" illustrates perfectly the continued reluctance of gentlemen's clubs to join the 20th century. Thankfully, London's new arrivals in clubland have registered both social changes and current tastes, while still managing to preserve a healthy respect for the past. Had enough of the impersonal touch at restaurants, bars and pubs? Get a member of one these clubs to propose you and join the waiting list like everybody else.

ROCK / Shane's fairy tale of new work

''YOU better give him a bloody good report,'' said a Shane MacGowan fan who spotted my notepad at the end of the concert. Anything to oblige: at London's Forum, MacGowan didn't keel over or forget the words, and he revealed that he has a singing voice and not just a raw roar. His new band, the Popes, were up to the job, particularly guitarist Paul McGuinness, a karate-kicking Bruce Willis lookalike. The crowd shouted along to the punky new single, ''That Woman's Got Me Drinking'', as much as to rollicking old favourites like ''Dirty Old Town'', and they shouted a carousing chorus of ''There's only one Shane MacGowan''.

My gang has a showdown at the Mars Bar saloon: Zoe Heller in America

I'VE JUST got off the phone with a friend who has been telling me his summer holiday plans. He and his girlfriend and a bunch of their friends are going to spend two weeks in a big villa on the Costa del Sol. I imagine riotous water fights and a lot of throwing each other in the swimming-pool. I imagine evening strolls into the town centre for paella suppers and I imagine (this bit is drawn from the Bacardi advert) much racing along jetties at night, dressed in flappy white clothes.

Vomiting children are not my idea of clean family fun

WE SHOULD be careful of people like Noel Edmonds. They may act like ordinary fellows but in fact they are infinitely, I say infinitely, more intelligent than one. Noel introduced us to Mr Blobby. Now, according to a 'source', he wants to follow up with a chain of 'Crinkley Bottom pubs and restaurants'. I don't know what they are, but I'm not encouraged. They don't sound good. 'Noel believes that one thing Britain needs more of,' the source goes on, 'is family- type pubs where parents and children can feel at home.' There would be practical-joke facilities, from what I can understand, and a Mr Blobby play area. God. Someone ought to tell the poor man he's barking up the wrong tree. His trusting public will be outraged. Youngsters from the Edmonds mould are not meant to associate alcohol with Crinkley-Bottom-type fun, nor with fun of any kind. And youngsters from every mould are prone to over-excitement at the best of times. They can't hold their drink. We must prevent them from bouncing around the Blobby play- pen after too many pints of ale, or the family fun might turn sour.

ROCK / Return of the prodigal

THE BARS were never less than four deep. The amplifiers were draped in tricolours. The atmosphere was festive, approaching delirious. St Patrick's Night at the Clapham Grand would have been a ball whatever the merits of Shane MacGowan & the Popes, but this party had a significant hidden agenda: to welcome Shane MacGowan back to the peak of his powers. It was that good.

POP / By the skin of his teeth: Marek Kohn on Shane MacGowan and the Popes

This came as a pleasant surprise, in so far as I had become convinced some years ago that the next thing I wrote about Shane MacGowan would be his obituary. When he left the Pogues, or the Pogues left him, it seemed to confirm that, underneath the slurred speech, the bottle-strewn interviews and the tottering stage presence, there was no longer a fiery song-writing talent lusting to be expressed.

On Tour: The Dubliners

It's a hell of a lot of gigs when you take 32 years. And we really only got an audience outside Ireland from 1967 onwards. We used to go on tour for six weeks or more: that got too heavy, so nowadays we just do tours lasting 16 days or so. At first it was quite romantic because we were going to different places. Certainly for me now touring is a drag. Having to pack up and move out every day gets to you after a while. I'd like to be in a supergroup, going by helicopter or something like that and have roadies to pack up my cases. The fact is we don't have pension funds, so we just keep going. It's a job, like anything else; you enjoy it sometimes but you don't think about it too deeply when you don't.

College concert circuit 'at risk': Education Bill could kill off the breeding ground for bands, writes David Lister

COLLEGE gigs, where sweat-drenched students can see rock bands for the price of a couple of pints, may be killed off by John Patten's Education Bill next year.

Bunhill: Rock in a hard place

The battle is on for London's premier rock venue, the Town & Country in Kentish Town. The club and its twin T&C 2, a few miles east in rather less trendy Holloway Road, are threatened with closure - or conversion into bingo halls. The owner of both venues, Folgate Estates, is refusing to renew their leases.

The Year-By-Year Quiz

Answer the questions below and win an instant CD collection. The competition spans 21 years of music and the winners will walk out of their local Our Price store carrying 21 CDs of their choice.

ROCK / Going to the bad: Nick Cave - Town & Country

Kentish Town just wasn't big enough for the both of them. Camden's country-tinged rockers The Rockingbirds pulled out rather than support born-again country fans Moose, as it was obvious that one band in love with Gram Parsons was quite enough.

ROCK / WORLD MUSIC: 'And tomorrow the world'

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