The moment The Pogues were joined on stage by Kirsty Maccoll and Joe Strummer for ‘Fairytale of New York’ in London, 1988
We heard somewhere that there’s something happening at the end of this month that involves some holly, some ivy, a bit of red trim, and a large, jolly man who delivers presents. We just always knew it as the time we listened to cheesy music on the radio. With that in mind, we took the time to revisit The Pogues’ classic song ‘Fairytale of New York’ and one particular performance on St. Patrick’s Day 1988.
The performance is somewhat legendary, it featured not only guest vocalist, the late Kirsty Maccoll, but also The Clash’s Joe Strummer follows on to perform a brilliant cover of ‘London Calling’. Then, if that wasn’t enough it had the brilliant Lynval Golding of The Specials arrive to perform a special Irish-tainted version of ‘A Message To You’.
Aside from the recent controversy surrounding the use of the word ‘faggot’ in the song, the track has been a long time favourite as the darker side to the chinzy flashing coloured bulbs that is ‘Christmas music’, but you’ll likely have never seen a version like this.
Not only does it have Shane MacGowan in his usual surly fashion, but also features a rare live performance with Kirsty Maccoll at what was then known as the Town & Country club in London (now known as Kentish Town Forum) on a raucous St. Patrick’s Day – all perfectly iced by a ton of fake snow.
The performance was special not only because of this brilliant and rowdy rendition of one of the greatest Christmas songs of all time but also because it features a Joe Strummer-led Pogues version of The Clash’s ‘London Calling’. The crowd naturally react with a combination of beer-throwing and heavy pogo-ing. A must-see experience. An experience only to be topped by the entrance of The Specials’ Lynval Golding and all the fun and fury of Irish jig Ska, with a special Pogues cover of ‘A Message To You (Rudi)’.
Below are all the performances, and we genuinely couldn’t think of a better time to sit back and enjoy the filth and fury of a Pogues gig in 1988, and cos it’s Christmas, we’ve got all the trimmings.