Opening for the Pogues: George Pelecanos

By Neal Comment

Earlier this year, when the Pogues played Washington, D.C., bestselling novelist and writer/producer on The Wire George Pelecanos was in the audience, and he went backstage after the show: “The band were fans of The Wire (we had used several of their songs, memorably, on the show),” he recalls, “and we were all fans of their music going back to the 80s, when I was buying their vinyl imports at records stores like Phantasmagoria in Wheaton, Maryland.” A few weeks later, when band member Spider Stacey came through town, they met again:

” Over a meal in Chinatown, on H Street, (Full Kee, my spot for Chinese) I told Spider that I would like to do a pub event in London when I came over in July, and asked him if he would be interested in playing a set after I did a reading. He agreed and through Gaby Young hooked it up at Boogaloo on Archway Road in Highgate, run by a fellow named Richard who used to book the old Filthy McNasty’s. The gig was set for Thursday, July 23. To my surprise, it wasn’t just Spider and a couple of friends on the bill, as I had understood it would be. It was The Pogues, who had come to play their first pub date since 1983. In other words, it was history.”

The video pretty much speaks for itself (note: George Pelecanos does not write about nice people having a nice time, so consider your officemates), but there are more highlights from the show online. We haven’t had a chance to sift through all the footage yet to see if it includes the Pogues’ version of “Down in the Hole,” but we’re certainly having fun looking.