I just found out an amusing fact about old Shane MacGowan, the brilliant songsmith who founded one of Celtic rock’s most celebrated bands and is somehow still with us after years of reckless merriment, spirits having literally preserved him.
Another influential musician (albeit in a different genre) recounted something from his youth in England that involved the mischievous Mr. MacGowan:
At my previous school in London I was good friends with Shane. He and I used to sit together in the back row of English Lit. He was extremely smart.
On one occasion during a boring reading of some classic novel or other, the teacher spotted me and Shane nattering. He singled me out saying something like, “What figure of speech is ‘indubitably’… Robertson?”
Shane whispered under his breath: “It’s an onanism.”
Ha. “IT’S AN ONANISM, SIR!” I blurted out.
Which I did. Much to the delight of Shane and the rest of the class.