Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan (born 25 December 1957) is an English-born Irish musician and singer, best known as the singer and songwriter of The Pogues. History edit: MacGowan was born on Christmas Day in Pembury, Kent, England in 1957, to Irish parents. MacGowan spent his early childhood in Tipperary, Ireland before his family moved back to England when he was six and a half. He lived in many parts of the south-east, including Brighton and London. MacGowan's mother, Therese, was a singer and traditional Irish dancer, and had worked as a model in Dublin. In 1971, after attending Holmewood House School at Langton Green, Tunbridge Wells, MacGowan earned a literature scholarship and was accepted into Westminster School, a renowned English public school close to the Houses of Parliament. He was found in possession of drugs and was expelled in his second year. MacGowan got his first taste of fame in 1976 at a concert by English punk band The Clash, when his earlobe was damaged by Jane Crockford, later to be a member of The Mo-dettes. A photographer snapped a picture of him covered in blood and it made the papers, with the headline "Cannibalism At Clash Gig". Shortly after this, he formed his own punk rock band, The Nipple Erectors, later renamed "The Nips". Fame edit: 1982-1991: leading The Pogues edit: MacGowan drew upon his Irish heritage when founding The Pogues and changed his early "punk" voice for a more authentic sound with tutoring from his extended family. Many of his songs are influenced by Irish nationalism, Irish history, the experiences of the Irish in London and the United States, and London life in general. These influences are documented in the biography, Rake at the Gates of Hell: Shane MacGowan in Context. MacGowan has often cited the 19th-century Irish poet James Clarence Mangan and playwright Brendan Behan as influences. Between 1985 and 1987, he co-wrote what is perhaps his best-known song, "Fairytale of New York", which he performed with Kirsty MacColl. In the coming years MacGowan and The Pogues released several albums successfully. In 1997, MacGowan appeared on Lou Reed's "Perfect Day", covered by numerous artists in aid of Children in Need. It was the UK's number one single for three weeks, in two separate spells. Selling over a million copies, the record contributed £2,125,000 to the charity's highest fundraising total in six years. 1992-2005: a new band, Shane MacGowan and The Popes edit: After The Pogues threw MacGowan out for unprofessional behaviour, he formed a new band, Shane MacGowan and The Popes, recording two studio albums, a live album, three tracks on The Popes "Outlaw Heaven" (2010) and a live DVD, and touring internationally. From December 2003 up to May 2005, Shane MacGowan & The Popes toured extensively in UK/Ireland/Europe. In 2010, MacGowan offered a piece of unusual art to the ISPCC (Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) to auction off to support their services to children. It ended up fetching €1,602 for the charity. 2001-2009: rejoining The Pogues edit: The Pogues and MacGowan reformed for a sell-out tour in 2001 and each year from 2004 to 2009 for further tours, including headline slots at Guilfest in England and the Azkena Rock Festival in Spain. In May 2005, MacGowan rejoined the Pogues permanently. In 2005, The Pogues re-released "Fairytale of New York" to raise funds for the Justice For Kirsty Campaign and Crisis At Christmas. The single was the best-selling festive-themed single of 2005, reaching number 2 in the UK Charts. In 2006, he was voted 50th in the NME Rock Heroes List. He has been seen many times with The Libertines and Babyshambles singer Pete Doherty. MacGowan has joined Babyshambles on stage. Other famous friends include Johnny Depp, who starred in the video for "That Woman's Got Me Drinking", and Joe Strummer, who referred to MacGowan as "one of the best writers of the century". Strummer occasionally joined MacGowan and The Pogues on stage (and briefly replaced MacGowan as lead singer after his sacking from the band). His sister is Siobhan MacGowan, a journalist, writer and songwriter, who released her album Chariot in 1998, and published a children's novel, Etain's Dream. In early March 2007, MacGowan announced plans to marry his longtime girlfriend, Victoria Mary Clarke. Shane is the subject of a number of books and paintings. In 2000 Tim Bradford used the title Is Shane MacGowan Still Alive? for a humorous book about Ireland and Irish culture.Shaman Shane - The Wounded Healer by Stephan Martin brands Shane as a latter-day London-Irish spirit-raiser and exorcist. This commentary is found in the book Myth of Return - The Paintings of Brian Whelan and Collected Commentaries. London Irish artist Brian Whelan paints Shane (for example Boy From The County Hell), his works are featured on Shane's official website, and is also the illustrator of The Popes "Outlaw Heaven" CD. 2010-present: a new band, Shane MacGowan and The Shane Gang edit: In the autumn of 2010, MacGowan played a number of impromptu shows in Dublin with a new five-piece backing band named The Shane Gang, including In Tua Nua rhythm section Paul Byrne (drums) and Jack Dublin (bass), with manager Joey Cashman on whistle. In November 2010, this line up fled from Ireland to the Spanish island of Lanzarote to record a new album. When not touring with The Pogues, MacGowan plays with his new band, Shane MacGowan and The Shane Gang. The band currently features John Daly (guitar), Joey Cashman (whistle), John "Sarge" O'Hara (keys), Jack Dublin (bass) and Paul Byrne (drums). Substance abuse edit: Shane MacGowan is known for his prolific use of legal and illegal drugs, and his erratic, intoxicated behaviour has often been reported on in the press. MacGowan claims to have been introduced to alcohol and cigarettes by his aunt on the promise he would not worship the devil. In a 2007 interview with the Daily Mirror he told a reporter: "I was actually four when I started drinking. I just remember that Ribena turned into stout and I developed an immediate love for it." MacGowan says he tried whiskey when he was 10 and continued to drink heavily thereafter. In 2001, Sinéad O'Connor reported him to the police in London for drug possession -- in what she said was an attempt to discourage him from using heroin. At first furious, MacGowan later expressed gratitude towards O'Connor and claimed that the incident helped him kick his heroin habit. Speaking on BBC Four's Folk Britannia television programme in early 2006, Robyn Hitchcock recalled: "I remember going to the Hope and Anchor a punk venue in London. The Pogues were all on stage and ready, it was a full house, but they hadn't started yet. Then this character shambled in through the door and shambled downstairs. I thought, 'Jesus, you're not letting that guy in are you?'. Then he walked on stage. That guy was Shane MacGowan." On 7 September 2002 MacGowan became so intoxicated before a performance at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin that he stopped singing and threw up over fans in the front row. Fiona Wynne wrote in the Daily Mirror that the consequent criticism of MacGowan's behaviour, "who was in a wheelchair after breaking his leg", led Sinéad O'Connor to call Joe Duffy's RTÉ Liveline programme three days later to defend him, saying: "He is an angel near the end who needs support. He's too far gone to stop drinking; he has an illness that cannot be cured, and as far as I can see, the end is near for him". MacGowan has suffered physically from years of binge drinking. He often performs while drunk and has been impaired in interviews. In 2004 on the BBC TV political magazine programme This Week he gave incoherent and slurred answers to questions from Janet Street-Porter about the public smoking ban in Ireland. MacGowan's fiancée, Victoria Mary Clarke, blamed his alcoholism for an earlier split, but in a 2007 interview, she said, "Shane loves a drink and he probably always will. But he drinks less than people think and I haven't seen him drunk for quite some time". She blamed his problems with drink on fans ("it became difficult for us to get from A to B without being dragged into bars by well-wishers desperate to buy him a drink") and social anxiety. ("To cope with his social anxiety, he began drinking more and more") Reality show edit: In 2009, he starred in the RTÉ reality show Victoria and Shane Grow Their Own, as he and Victoria Mary Clarke endeavoured to grow their own food in their own garden.