Victoria Mary Clarke (born plain Victoria Clarke, the Mary added for effect), best known as the long-term partner of Shane McGowan, is an angel channeler, journalist, writer and broadcaster. Sipping on her herbal tea, she tells me what it’s like to mingle with Kate Moss, Pete Doherty and Van Morrison – who hearts Shirley Bassey apparently.
LC: What did you do before becoming a journalist?
VMC: When I left school I bought a suitcase of the disco balls you put on your head and sold them on the street. I was really passionate about clothes so I decided to open a clothes shop.
I went to London and bought bags of second-hand clothes from Portobello Road and Butt Lane and brought them back on the bus and sold them in Cork in a shop called Mesopotamia, between two rivers it mens.
I did get a place at Trinity but I didn’t take it because I didn’t like students. I was into meeting rock stars, even at that age. I figured that the clothes thing I loved doing, it gave me an opportunity to travel to London a lot and that’s how I met Shane, I was only 16.
LC: Can you remember the first conversation you had with Shane?
VMC: Yes, he came into the pub and said to me ‘it’s my friend’s birthday, buy him a drink?’ and I said f**k off.
LC: What was the first piece of work you got published?
VMC: It was an interview with Gerry Conlon [of the Guildford 4 who were jailed for a crime they didn’t commit]. That was because Shane’s sister had started dating him, well not really dating but corresponding when he was in prison. Shane had written a song to help him get out of prison, The Birmingham Six and the Guildford 4. So, they came to meet us and I was like ‘wow, this is great can I interview you?’ and he said ‘yeah ok’. I was really excited.
LC: What has been the most exciting part of your career so far?
VMC: It’s hard to say, they’re all exciting at the time they’re happening. Getting the Vogue cover story was really exciting. Kate Moss asked me if I would interview her for Vogue – they had asked her to edit the magazine – and it didn’t work out because of her episode that we won’t go into. As a result of that, they said ‘we really like your stuff and we would like you to try other stuff’ so that’s how I got it. So quite a lot of the work I’ve got has been through nepotism.
LC: Has there been a difficult moment in your career so far?
VMC: I suppose some of the people I’ve interviewed haven’t been the most forthcoming; you know the ones who won’t say anything? Even though you know they would be really interesting but just don’t want to talk.
Van Morrison was quite tricky. He didn’t want to comment on anything really, he didn’t even want to comment on the songs so it was really hard. I had to keep finding things that we were mutually interested in. I discovered how much he loves Shirley Bassey.
LC: Who was your most exciting interview?
VMC: To be honest, Shane was the best person to interview because he’s the most forthcoming, he doesn’t hide anything, and he tells stories – he doesn’t just give you answers – so that makes it very easy for the interviewer because you have to just sit there and turn the thing on.
Pete Doherty was also good like that, because he was also very forthcoming and also very, very funny and again a natural storyteller and knew how to create something almost like a fairytale; create drama, create intrigue, create mystery.
LC: You’ve recently published a new book, what’s it about?
VMC: It’s called Angel Advice for Everyday Situations. I’ve picked 60 situations that have happened to me that could potentially happen to other people. Your dad gets really ill, or you get cancer, or somebody you know gets cancer, you worry about money or someone loses their job. I asked the angels to give advice about 60 such situations.
LC: How did you get into angel channeling?
VMC: One of the people, I met, instead of reading your fortune, channeled your guide for you. So she would just sit there and the voice would come through her and it would start talking to you and be like ‘hi’ – her guide was called Ortan – so hello I’m Ortan very pleased to meet you, what can I do for you? It was actually like he knew. What he said to me made me feel better about my situation.
By Liam Cahill