Song of the Day, December 1: The Old Main Drag by the Pogues

PougesOldMainToday’s song is one of Shane MacGowan’s gutter hymns. The long-time leader of the Pogues has a knack for crafting songs about the downtrodden that are unflinchingly honest and shining with humanity. The Old Main Drag is one of his finer moments, the second track from the band’s brilliant Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash.

Over a quiet, faintly Celtic backdrop, MacGowan sings of a youth who came to London to seek his fortune. In short order he finds himself broke and desperate, caught up with easy relief and a hard crowd. The arc of the story is grim, but MacGowan finds the heart of the character, making him sympathetic without making him a pitiful caricature. It’s a delicate balance, expertly executed.

Enjoy this dark tale today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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