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Shane MacGowan – Streams of Whiskey

The Passing of Shane McGowan

Mercantile Hotel on Dame Street

At one stage of his peripatetic existence, Shane McGowan took up residence in the Mercantile Hotel on Dame Street in Dublin. A friend of mine used to do maintenance work in the hotel, and one morning, he arrived in a bit earlier than usual and decided to have a cup of coffee in the bar to kill some time.

The barman greeted him warmly and told him he’d be with him shortly as he was in the middle of making Shane’s breakfast. He placed a large tray on the bar counter and proceeded to boil a kettle. He made four hot triple whiskeys, which he duly placed on the counter. This was followed by a bottle of Sauvignon blanc. Seemingly, Shane favoured white wine in the morning. Then the barman produced a pint glass and put some ice in it; slowly filled it with vodka and Tia Maria and then finally poured some cream over it. This concoction turned out to be a pint of White Russian.

Maybe Shane was thinking of his nutrients, or maybe he was feeling a little peckish that morning, but he also insisted on having a pot of tea and some toast included in his order. All was put on the tray and dispatched up to Shane’s room.

Toing and Froing and Cajoling

Later that day, there was some open-air concert on in Dame Street and the organisers tried to get Shane to come over and perform. There was much toing and froing and cajoling, and finally Shane emerged out of his room, (his breakfast had worn off at this stage) and he was bad-tempered and barely coherent but somehow made it down to the gig.

Someone had to run back to the hotel to get him a pint of gin and tonic before he’d get up on the stage. There was a warm welcome for him as he stumbled out onto the platform. After a few swigs from his pint glass, he then proceeded to forget most of the words of the ‘Green Fields of France’ and murdered the old ballad just as surely as the young soldiers in the song.

Breakfast in Bed

Climbing off the stage, he keeled over before he was unceremoniously carried back to the hotel, where he woke up and ordered a bottle of Bushmills whiskey. The night was still young…


The photo of Shane MacGowan is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Author Masao Nakagami. Here is a link to the original work.