It was sometime around 1987 when I first set my eyes and ears on Shane MacGowan. In an instant, I was mesmerized by his voice, his band and, of course, his unholy teeth. The magic of that first late-night meeting never left me. It still guides much of what I attempt to write and sing to this day.
For those not in the know, MacGowan was the frontman and main songwriter for the Irish folk-punk band The Pogues. He died this morning, Nov. 30, 2023, at age 65.
His passing is sad, though not unexpected. For decades, MacGowan famously abused his liver, his teeth and the rest of his body with drugs and alcohol. But what he lacked in self preservation, he more than made up for in soulful artistry. MacGowan leaves behind an iconic body of songwriting which inspired an original genre of music which has somehow never quite lived up to his example.
On Thursday, Sen. Angus King assured us the violent tragedy in Lewiston was an aberration, the work of a lone, troubled individual.
“This is not who we are,” King said, describing Mainers to the nation.
It was a blanket statement, meant to comfort and reassure. But was it true? That’s something we’re going to have to wrestle with in the weeks and months ahead.
In the meantime, I witnessed three acts of kindness on Thursday while covering the tragic aftermath and manhunt mayhem. Mainers may be capable of unthinkable violence but I saw, firsthand, how they also have the capacity for tolerance and compassion.
A few of Dayton’s more interesting finds include a sword, vintage art deco earrings, coins minted more than a century ago, dozens of wedding rings and a single heart-shaped, silver locket he’s pretty sure contains human ashes.