The Pogues are synonymous with good craic - they've been doing it for years, since the early '80s. They opened their account with the album "Red Roses for Me" in 1984 and earned their first Top 20 album with the splendidly debauched 1985 follow-up, "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash". A handful of hits and more long-players later, a certain Christmas ditty continues to return to the chart like a breath of fresh air and has done so annually since 2005.
Ask anyone over the age of 30 what their favourite Christmas single of all time happens to be and the response is likely to be comprised of either Slade's "Merry Christmas Everybody", Wizzard's "I Wish It Could be Christmas Everyday", Wham's "Last Christmas" and Bo Selecta's "Proper Crimbo". OK, I might be kidding about the last choice (I really meant Justin Bieber's "Mistletoe"), but better than all those put together has to be the perennial festive favourite, "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl acting as drunken frontman Shane MacGowan's matriarchic foil in a bittersweet love song, dedicated to a pair of bickering down-and-outs. The perfect lyrical blend of benevolent balladry and a sozzled shindig.
Also returning almost-annually are its creators. Shane MacGowan, Spider Stacey and co are treasure enough for a live Christmas bash and once again the Irish punk-folk maestros will be gracing a London stage for a great knees-up.
The O2 Arena will witness a full-on raggle-taggle hullabaloo on 20th December with a very special guest in support - Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. Fresh from his recent Olympic appearance and another triumphant year, Turner is an appropriate choice for the role and will have the whole arena warmed up nicely before The Pogues let rip.
We have tickets to the show on sale now, priced from £32.50.