2 Dec 2023

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

4:15 pm on 2 December 2023
(FILES) Shane MacGowan of British group The Pogues performs on stage at the British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park in central London, on July 5, 2014. Shane MacGowan, songwriter and lead singer of folk-punk group The Pogues, has died aged 65 after a long illness, his wife announced on November 30, 2023. (Photo by LEON NEAL / AFP)

Shane MacGowan, pictured in 2014. Photo: AFP / Leon Neal

By Annabel Rackham, BBC News

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.

Victoria Mary Clarke told BBC Radio 4's Today programme she was "very much in favour" of the track, which also features Kirsty MacColl, 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' 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 16-year relationship with MacGowan 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.

This story was originally published by the BBC.