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‘Eat the Rich’: Cult rock and roll comedy with Lemmy, Shane MacGowan, Paul McCartney, Angela Bowie


 
Imagine, if you can, a country starkly divided by wealth inequality, where a small number of rich people lead lives of extravagant luxury and everyone else fights over the crumbs.

Now imagine that the most vulgar of celebrities, having ascended to high office by appealing to racist and sexist tendencies in the electorate, has announced a plan to slash health care in order to build up the military. Far from bringing him down, sex scandals only make him appear more powerful and exciting to his base. And what, exactly, is the nature of his relationship with the Russians?
 

 
Of course, I could only be talking about Nosher Powell, the real-life English boxer and actor who portrays “Cockney fascist” Home Secretary Nosher Powell in the dystopian 1987 comedy Eat the Rich. The dialogue is as quotable as that of Tapeheads or Repo Man. Early on, a diner at the posh eatery Bastards addresses a label head played by Miles Copeland:

Look, Derek, forget funk rap. It’s dead. The kids are getting hooked on socialism.

“OK, we’ll sack the blacks and sign the reds,” Copeland replies. It’s a cruel, cynical, racist—did I mention racist?—society.
 

 
The great Lanah Pillay stars as Alex, a hero for our time. Alex becomes a revolutionary after she’s fired from her waitressing job at Bastards, where she served koala and panda meat to one too many horrible jerks. And joining Lanah and Nosher from the world of UK showbiz in this movie right here is everyone and her fucking uncle: Lemmy, Shane MacGowan, Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French, Hugh Cornwell of the Stranglers, Sandie Shaw, Beatle Paul, Bill Wyman of the Stones, Koo Stark, Angela Bowie, and The Young Ones’ Rik Mayall all make appearances. Most of the soundtrack (and the soundtrack album) is by Motörhead, and at one point in the movie, Lemmy climbs onstage to play “Dr. Rock.”

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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03.16.2017
09:45 am
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Traci Lords & Johnny Depp guest star on the ill-fated talk show pilot ‘A Drink with Shane MacGowan’


 
In the mid-1990s British television documentary producer Waldemar Januszczak nearly got a show to the approval stage at Channel 4 that sounds absolutely dynamite on paper: an inebriated rock and roll talk show with legendary Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan acting as host. Even more enticing, the pilot featured Johnny Depp and Traci Lords as guests, and Los Lobos even perform a ditty.

What could be better? The show was to be called A Drink with Shane MacGowan, also incidentally the title of his memoir.

Below you can watch the unaired pilot in full. This episode was filmed at Depp’s favored Sunset Strip hangout the Viper Room—he was part owner—where River Phoenix met his untimely demise in 1993. The show is highly reminiscent of Jon Favreau’s more successful IFC show Dinner for Five. The reasons that A Drink with Shane MacGowan was never picked up are achingly apparent. Without meaning any disrespect to the man, who is after all one of the most vital and authentic rockers of the 1970s and 1980s, but it would be difficult to imagine a person less suited to the art of TV interviewing than MacGowan.

Beyond that, how shall I say, the collective IQ in the room ain’t none too high, and the evident intake of alcohol doesn’t improve matters. The discussion of censorship and violence in movies is replete with cliché. Crime novelist Joe Gores, author of Hammett, is probably the most articulate person in the room.

Chris Penn doesn’t think much of John Woo, Traci Lords walked out of Natural Born Killers, and Shane MacGowan’s opinion of Sam Peckinpah is succinct (“He’s dead!”).
 

 
Here’s what The Star wrote about the show at the time. MacGowan’s given age in the article and a few other references from the program (Depp says he’s filming Nick of Time) situate this show at around 1995.
 

WILD MAN of rock, Shane MacGowan, is set to shock telly audiences with a boozy, X-rated chat show.

The former Pogues idol, who has been repeatedly hospitalised after wild drinking bouts, has recorded a pilot for the new Channel 4 series called “A Drink With Shane MacGowan”.

According to an insider: “Viewers can expect an orgy and bad taste gags, as the guests are let loose on the free-flowing alcohol.” Top stars, including actors Johnny Depp and Nicolas Cage, plus pop figureheads Bono and Sinéad O’Connor have already been invited to appear.

-snip-

On the show, Shane (37) encourages his guests to misbehave for the cameras as the drink flows. And there’s a flood of four-letter words. The insider adds: “Shane goes out of his way to cause an upset. Late night TV hasn’t seen anything quite like it. The stars are invited to drink as much as they like it as the conversation flows. We’re not sure whether the bad language will be bleeped out, but it’s certainly bound to cause raised eyebrow among concerned parents.”

 
Bono! Nicolas Cage! Sinéad O’Connor! Four-letter words! So enticing.

Keep reading after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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02.16.2016
12:19 pm
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Shane MacGowan perpetrates ‘Cannibalism at Clash gig,’ 1976
02.01.2016
02:34 pm
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On Saturday, October 23, 1976, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London hosted a show by the brand-new punk sensation known as the Clash. It was an eventful evening by any reckoning.

The openers were Subway Sect and Snatch Sounds, who seem not to have made much of an impression. At that point the Clash and the Sex Pistols were in a category of two in terms of being at the absolute pinnacle of delivering pissed-off punk music and generating the electric excitement of punk (and the associated publicity too). The night before and that night too, Patti Smith was playing the Hammersmith Odeon but managed to make her way to the ICA so that she could dance onstage to “I’m So Bored with the U.S.A.” As will be easily imagined, the audience was in a rowdy mood and the alcohol was flowing freely. The show had been billed as “a night of pure energy,” and it surely lived up to that.

In the November 6, 1976, issue of the New Musical Express ran an account of the show written by Barry Miles, who preferred to go simply by “Miles” as a nom de journalisme. The cheeky, startling headline of the piece was “CANNIBALISM AT CLASH GIG,” with the subtitle “But why didn’t anybody eat MILES?” At the top and the bottom of the writeup were two pictures, taken by Red Saunders, of Shane MacGowan and a renowned punk fan named Jane Crockford, unflatteringly nicknamed “Mad Jane.” The pictures show indistinct mayhem as well as a generous portion of blood flowing from MacGowan’s right earlobe. Interestingly, both of the subjects were, or would be, in notable bands of their own; MacGowan was in the Nipple Erectors and (of course) the Pogues, while Jane was in the Bank of Dresden and the Mo-dettes.
 

 
In Bob Gruen’s must-own book The Clash he gets Mick Jones and Paul Simonon to comment on the show:
 

Mick: That was the night of Shane MacGowan’s earlobe, wasn’t it? He didn’t really have it bitten off, you know. Isn’t that the same show where Patti Smith got up on stage during our set?

Paul: That was the ICA—it was called A Night of Pure Energy. My haircut’s gone very mod; it had flopped down from all the jumping around onstage. In the beginning all that jumping about was a way of dodging gobs and missiles generally. There’s Joe with his sharks’ teeth—when I first met him they looked just like a real sharks’ teeth.


 
Gruen notes of the MacGowan incident that it gave the Clash “their first significant press coverage.” He also quotes Joe Strummer as saying, “Without Mad Jane’s teeth and Shane’s earlobe, we wouldn’t have got in the papers that week.”
 

 
In The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town, Marcus Gray writes about that evening:
 

When the Clash started playing, a couple in front of Miles and Red were obstructing their view of the band. Apparently intent on attacking each other while laughing like maniacs, they refused to move out of the way. So Red took pictures of them. “I had no idea how famous those photos were to become.” The NME used them to accompany Miles’s report under the headline “CANNIBALISM AT CLASH GIG”: “A young couple, somewhat out of it, had been nibbling and fondling each other amid the broken glass when she suddenly lunged forward and bit his ear lobe off [while the crowd] watched with cold, calculate hipitude.” ... the Clash gig was a wild night fuelled by speed and alcohol. The bar staff entered into the spirit of the evening to such an extent that they gave away a further £80 worth of booze ... and the twosome Miles and Red observed, Mad Jane and Shane MacGowan, were by no means content to loiter at the back of the queue.

“Me and this girl were having a bit of a laugh which involved biting each other’s arms till they were completely covered in blood and then smashing up a couple of bottles and cutting each other up a bit,” Shane informed ZigZag’s Granuaille in 1986, setting the record straight on the occasion of punk’s 10th anniversary, and, in the process, offering another insight into the mythopoetics of punk. “That, in those days, was the sort of thing that people used to do. I haven’t got a clue now why I did it or why anyone would want to do it, but that was how teenagers got their kicks in London if they were hip. Anyway, in the end she went a bit over the top and bottled me in the side of the head. Gallons of blood came out and someone took a photograph. I never got it bitten off—although we had bitten each other to bits—it was just a heavy cut.” As Shane noted, though, the anecdote was exaggerated with each telling. “It’s like the old story about the bloke who catches the fish. He says that it weighs this much and it’s that big, and within a couple of days it’s a whale.” Over the years, few have been prepared to let the fact that his earlobes are both present and correct stand in the way of a good story.

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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02.01.2016
02:34 pm
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Nick Cave, Mark E. Smith and Shane MacGowan arguing in a pub
05.28.2015
12:06 pm
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Years ago, I read the transcript of this NME “summit” on some Fall obsessive’s fansite: it’s Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan and Mark E. Smith arguing in a pub in 1988 (published in 1989). I searched for it the other day and found that the Quietus reprinted this latter-day symposium in 2012.

If you like Mark E. Smith at his most truculent, you’re going to love this conversation. Cave is laconic (hates journalists), MacGowan is affable (loves drink), and MES is as voluble and contentious as ever. He complains that Fad Gadget (a/k/a Frank Tovey) “was doing incense and headstands” before a show, that the only good Bob Dylan album he’s heard is The Traveling Wilburys Volume 1, and that Morrissey is an Irish person. As always, there are splenetic outbursts concerning the many things Mark E. Smith doesn’t need to be told about, pal:

There’s nothing new in Acid House for me, pal. I’ve been using that process for years. Bloody years. It might be new for you but don’t assume it’s new for anyone else, because you’re fucking wrong, pal.

We had jazz arrangements in ‘82 when the rest of those tossers were playing cocktail lounge music and fucking pseudo new wave, so don’t talk to me about it because I know what I’m talking about pal.

Don’t tell me about oppression, my parents and grandparents were exploited to the hilt. Sent to wars, they had gangrene in their teeth.

But this is Smith dancing like a prizefighter. Just wait until MacGowan (whom MES addresses as “Sean”) calls Nietzsche “a fascist maniac posing as a philosopher.” Friend, do you hear that bell? That’s Mark E. Smith, and school is back in session:

MES: If we’re gonna talk philosophy, that’s a load of crap! The Nazis adopted his creed and distorted it, they misquoted him all the time.

SM: The Will To Power. Try reinterpreting that statement. You can’t, it says what it says.

MES: He wasn’t a Nazi – you’re only saying that ‘cos some polytechnic fuckin’ lecturer told you he was.

SM: I’m saying it ‘cos I read two of his books where he dismissed the weak, the ugly, the radically [racially?] impure, Christianity, Socrates, Plato. He was anti anyone who hadn’t got a strong body, perfect features…

MES: That’s the coffee table analysis. He was the most anti-German, pro-Semitic person…

SM: His books were full of hate.

MES: You just said you’re full of hate when you go on stage.

SM: I don’t go round saying Socrates was a c***, Jesus Christ was an idiot, do l?


MES: Jesus Christ was the biggest blight on the human race, he was. And all them socialists and communists – second rate Christianity. It’s alright for you Catholics. I was brought up with Irish Catholics. Some of my best friends are Irish Catholics.

SM: Listen to him.

MES: Hitler was a Catholic vegetarian, non-smoker, non-drinker. The way you’re talking about Nietzsche is that anyone who’s a non-smoker, non-drinker is a Nazi. That’s the level of your debate, pal. You don’t know fuck all about Nietzsche, pal!

In the Cave biography Bad Seed, an eyewitness to the summit reports that while Cave (who had just spent seven weeks in rehab) was clean and sober, MacGowan had “done some Ecstasy and had drunk a bottle of whisky on the way down.” MacGowan picks up the story:

I was out of my brains, Cave was dead straight, drinking tea, and Mark E. Smith was pissed on bitter and very belligerent. It must have been really difficult for Nick but I wasn’t in that position, you know what I mean. We were ranting and raving and Nick was very quiet that day. I was amazed how together he was, considering. At the time I was really pissed off with touring and I was going on about that in the interview, and he said, “Well, why don’t you just stop?” and I couldn’t think of a good reason because I was on the treadmill and you can’t get off it. Nick turned out to have a savage wit. He’s an intense person. It was a great interview, two soul brothers and Mark E. Smith. Cave was winding both of us up, he basically instigated the fight between me and Mark Smith. He was shit-stirring, seeing how far it was going to go. Mark E. Smith was saying things to me I couldn’t let him get away with, stuff about Ireland and the British Army. [Reporter] Sean O’Hagan went loony as well, he’s from Armagh, a Catholic. Nick was enjoying it as it got more and more intense and the reporters joined in and I started going barmy.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.28.2015
12:06 pm
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Poguetry in motion: Time-lapse video of Shane MacGowan’s portrait being painted
06.28.2013
02:41 am
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Time-lapse video of Irish artist Vincent Keeling painting a portrait of Shane MacGowan.

Keelings paintings of rockers, including Nick Cave and Bruce Springsteen, are available at his gallery’s website.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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06.28.2013
02:41 am
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For those about to rock: Pop stars in their youth
06.19.2012
04:10 pm
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From top to bottom: Freddie Mercury, Shane MacGowan, Frank Zappa, Jim Morrison and David Bowie.

 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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06.19.2012
04:10 pm
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Joe Strummer: Two TV interviews from 1988

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Deux interviews avec le Joe Strummer filmed for French television’s Rapido from 1988. Each clip has different interview footage with Strummer, but the same archive and performance material.

Strummer enthuses about Shane MacGowan and The Pogues (and is seen performing with the band in concert on “I Fought the Law” and “London Calling”); explains why he writes (like Paul Simon) for his generation; why each young generation should have their own musical revolution; and why Hip-Hop / rap is for “yuppies”.
 

 
Interview part deux avec Mnsr. Strummer, after le jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.12.2012
10:24 am
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