Guest blog – Spider Stacy is a founding member of The Pogues, and played the tin whistle on the band’s classic Christmas song, ‘Fairytale Of New York’.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCr30OVMjHA

About 12 years ago, me and my wife were in Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and [‘Fairytale Of New York’] came on the PA in the shop. It was about December 16 and it was just perfect – it just made me realise why it is actually such a good song. It’s got a real power to it and a kind of grandeur, definitely.

It had a very long and complicated genesis; it was about two years in the making almost, because it went through these various permutations. If my memory serves me right, Marcia – Jem [Finer, Pogues banjo player] is Marcia’s husband – suggested Jem should write a song about a warring couple.

Jem wrote it and Marcia said, ‘Well, actually, that’s not really very good’ and so he turned the idea over to Shane [MacGowan, Pogues singer] and over the course of the next couple of years he came up with different things with the lyrics and him and Jem were working on the music.

I think Shane gave it the New York setting; we were watching Once Upon A Time In America all the time, that was almost on a loop on the bus. Parts of the music are a bit of a steal from Ennio Morricone’s score.

It was going to be a duet with Shane and Cait O’Riordan who was our bass player – but then Cait left to marry Elvis Costello. We were stuck for a female singer and Steve Lillywhite, who was producing it, took it home and got his wife, Kirsty MacColl [to sing].

Of course she was perfect: Kirsty could sing anything and improve it 100 per cent. I am so proud of this song.