Shane MacGowan’s wife hopes Fairytale of New York will be Christmas number one

The wife of late Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan has said she hopes his song Fairytale of New York will be Christmas number one in his memory.

Shane MacGowan's wife hopes Fairytale of New York will be Christmas number one
Shane MacGowan’s wife hopes Fairytale of New York will be Christmas number one

Victoria Mary Clarke told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme she was “very much in favour” of the track reaching the top spot.

“It would be nice, wouldn’t it?” she said. “It should be the Christmas number one. It absolutely should.”

MacGowan, 65, died on Thursday, following a long battle with illness.

Fairytale of New York, which also features Kirsty MacColl, was originally released in 1987. It has never reached number one – only peaking at number two.

However, streaming has taken it back to the top 10 every Christmas for the past six years. It is now climbing the chart again, and is at number 18 in this week’s rundown.

Clarke, 57, compared Fairytale of New York’s tumultuous love story with her own marriage to MacGowan.

“It’s not [the romance that’s] gone wrong – in the song, they still love each other,” she said. “But life has gone wrong. I think that’s what’s probably a little bit similar to our story.

“We were both very much affected by his addiction, but you can still love, even when you’re in that situation. And you can be very desperately unhappy as well as love.”

MacGowan had been diagnosed with encephalitis after struggles with drug and alcohol addiction.

Clarke said “she didn’t understand” the extent of his addiction when they met, and the constant drinking throughout his life “took a toll on his body”.

The Irish journalist and writer reminisced about her relationship with MacGowan – who she met when she was 16 – during the interview, saying he “was the kind of husband that would tell you how beautiful you are every single day”.

“He was always buying flowers, he was a really romantic man,” she said.

Clarke also said the pair “both enjoyed watching programmes about royalty” and that MacGowan “thought a lot about the Royal Family” despite being “an ardent republican”.

He was a “contradiction” because “he had this huge love of England and also of Ireland”, she added.

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