Jem Finer

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Jem Finer
Birth nameJeremy Max Finer
Born (1955-07-20) 20 July 1955 (age 66)
Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England
Genres folk punk, electornic, experimental, field recording
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Instruments Banjo, mandola, guitar, saxophone, hurdy-gurdy
Years active1977–present
Associated acts The Pogues

Jeremy Max Finer (born 20 July 1955) [1] is an English musician, artist and composer. He was one of the founding members of The Pogues. [2]


Life and career

Finer was born in Stoke-on-Trent, England, the son of political scientist Samuel Finer. He took a joint degree in computing and sociology at Keele University. After college, he travelled around Europe and spent some time working on a barge in France.[ citation needed ] He settled in London, where he met Shane MacGowan, Spider Stacy, and James Fearnley with whom he founded The Pogues. He has worked in a variety of fields, including photography, film, experimental and popular music and installation.

Primarily a banjoist, he also plays other instruments, including mandola, saxophone, hurdy-gurdy and the guitar. Apart from MacGowan (with whom he co-wrote several songs, including "Fairytale of New York"), Finer was the most prolific composer for the band. [ citation needed ]

He appeared on all the band's albums until their breakup in 1996; he was one of only three original members. During that time he also appeared on MacGowan's solo album The Snake and The Levellers' self-titled release; he continued working as a musician and composer after leaving The Pogues.

On 1 January 2000, the Finer-composed Longplayer piece of music was started; this is designed to last 1000 years without ever repeating itself, and as currently implemented exists in both computer-generated and live versions. [3] Longplayer represents a convergence of many of his concerns, particularly those relating to systems, long-durational processes and extremes of scale in both time and space.

Finer was "Artist in Residence" at the Astrophysics Sub-department of the University of Oxford between October 2003 and June 2005, making a number of works including two sculptural observatories, Landscope and The Centre of the Universe. Finer and Hamburg-based swamp pop legend DM Bob have recorded and performed together since 2005, releasing their album Bum Steer in August of that year and co-producing the debut album by the experimental pop band Marseille Figs. He has written articles on copyright and the Creative Commons License. [4] In July 2005, Finer won the PRS Foundation New Music Award [5] on the basis of his proposal to build a device that will automatically "compose" a song of indeterminate length by harnessing the creative force of the weather. His proposal read:

The countryside is shot through with holes in the ground; wells, mine shafts, fissures, bunkers, ventilation holes. In this piece of music the venue is a deep shaft in which there will be placed, at different heights, bowls of different sizes and tunings pivoted about their center of gravity, the instruments. The players, the drips of water, will strike the bowls, ringing them like bells. As they fill with water their timbres will change, and the delicate equilibrium of their pivots will cause them to sway slightly, modulating the tones. Overflowing, a bowl will drip into ones below it.
Amplification will be facilitated by a tube rising up from within the shaft, into a brass horn twenty feet above the surface. Akin to the bamboo tube in the Sui-kink Tsu, the horn not only amplifies the sounds but forms a sculptural object, a focus in the landscape. The work was constructed and installed in King's Wood near Challock, Kent over the summer of 2006. [6]

In March 2012, Mobile Sinfonia, a global composition for ringtones was launched, developed during a year spent as a non-resident artist at the University of Bath. This piece concerns mutual invasion of soundscape via ringtones. He later received an honorary doctorate from Bath. [7]

He is working on a number of new projects continuing his interest in long-term sustainability and the reconfiguring of older technologies, including a series of hurdy-gurdy recordings, Spiegelei, a spherical camera obscura featuring Finer's innovative 360-degree projection system [8] and Supercomputer, a 5 bit mechanical sculpture which computes minimal musical scores. [9]

Related Research Articles

The Pogues British punk band

The Pogues were an English or Anglo-Irish Celtic punk band fronted by Shane MacGowan and others, founded in Kings Cross, London in 1982, as "Pogue Mahone" – the anglicisation of the Irish Gaelic póg mo thóin, meaning "kiss my arse". The band reached international prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s, recording several hit albums and singles. MacGowan left the band in 1991 owing to drinking problems, but the band continued – first with Joe Strummer and then with Spider Stacy on vocals – before breaking up in 1996. The Pogues re-formed in late 2001, and played regularly across the UK and Ireland and on the US East Coast, until dissolving again in 2014. The group did not record any new material during this second incarnation.

<i>If I Should Fall from Grace with God</i> 1988 studio album by The Pogues

If I Should Fall from Grace with God is the third studio album by Irish folk-punk band The Pogues, released on 18 January 1988. Released in the wake of their biggest hit single, "Fairytale of New York", If I Should Fall from Grace with God also became the band's best-selling album, peaking at number 3 in the UK Album Charts and reaching the top ten in several other countries.

<i>Red Roses for Me</i> 1984 studio album by The Pogues

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Fairytale of New York 1987 single by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl

"Fairytale of New York" is a song written by Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan and recorded by their London-based band the Pogues, featuring singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl on vocals. The song is an Irish folk-style ballad and was written as a duet, with the Pogues' singer MacGowan taking the role of the male character and MacColl the female character. It was originally released as a single on 23 November 1987 and later featured on the Pogues' 1988 album If I Should Fall from Grace with God.

Philip Chevron Musical artist

Philip Ryan, professionally known as Philip Chevron, was an Irish singer-songwriter and guitarist and record producer. He was best known as the lead guitarist for the celtic punk band The Pogues and as the frontman for the 1970s punk rock band The Radiators from Space. Upon his death in 2013, Chevron was regarded as one of the most influential figures in Irish punk music.

<i>Hells Ditch</i> 1990 studio album by The Pogues

Hell's Ditch is the fifth studio album by The Pogues, released in November 1990, and the last to feature frontman Shane MacGowan as a member.

<i>Waiting for Herb</i> 1993 studio album by the Pogues

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<i>Peace and Love</i> (The Pogues album) 1989 studio album by The Pogues

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<i>Longplayer</i> Musical composition of 1000 years duration

Longplayer is a self-extending composition by British composer and musician Jem Finer which is designed to continue for one thousand years. It started to play at midnight on 1 January 2000, and if all goes as planned, it will continue without repetition until 31 December 2999.

Spider Stacy British songwriter

Peter Richard "Spider" Stacy is an English musician, singer, songwriter, and actor. He is best known for playing tin whistle and sometimes singing for The Pogues.

James Fearnley Musical artist

James Fearnley is an English musician. He played accordion in the folk/punk band The Pogues.

Haunted (The Pogues song)

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The following recordings and films feature music played on the hurdy-gurdy.

<i>Pogue Mahone</i> 1996 studio album by The Pogues

Pogue Mahone is the seventh and final studio album by The Pogues, released in 1996. The title is a variant of the Irish phrase póg mo thóin, meaning "kiss my arse", from which the band's name is derived. It was the band's second studio album recorded after the departure of Shane MacGowan, and features Spider Stacy in the role of lead singer.

Fiesta (The Pogues song)

"Fiesta" is a single by The Pogues, featured on their album of 1988, If I Should Fall from Grace with God.

Misty Morning, Albert Bridge

"Misty Morning, Albert Bridge" is a 1989 single by the British-Irish folk rock band The Pogues. It was composed by banjo player Jem Finer and featured on the band's fourth album, Peace and Love. It was the Pogues' last single to chart in the UK Top 50 before frontman Shane MacGowan left the group in 1991, stalling just outside the top 40 at number 41. It was the only single from the album to chart. The song is about the famous Albert Bridge, London. The accompanying video was directed by Peter Dougherty and was produced by Nick Verden for Radar Films.

<i>The Best of The Pogues</i> 1991 greatest hits album by The Pogues

The Best of the Pogues is a greatest hits album by The Pogues, released in September 1991. The album was dedicated to the memory of Deborah Korner.

<i>Poguetry in Motion</i> 1986 EP by The Pogues

Poguetry in Motion is an EP by The Pogues, released on Stiff Records in the UK on 24 February 1986, and in the US & Canada on MCA Records. It was the band's first single to make the UK Top 40, peaking at number 29 and the first Pogues recording to feature Philip Chevron and Terry Woods.

<i>The Very Best of The Pogues</i> 2001 greatest hits album by The Pogues

The Very Best of the Pogues is a greatest hits album by The Pogues, released in April 2001.

<i>Essential Pogues</i> 1991 greatest hits album by The Pogues

Essential Pogues is a greatest hits album by The Pogues, released in November 1991.


  1. "Jem Finer (Jeremy Max Finer)". Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  2. "The Pogues" Retrieved on 2006-08-14
  3. "LongPlayer". Retrieved 14 August 2006.
  4. Finer, Jem (14 July 2004). "Download revolution". The Guardian . Retrieved 14 August 2006.
  5. "Jem Finer wins the New Music Award". PRS Foundation. Archived from the original on 28 September 2006. Retrieved 14 August 2006.
  6. scoreforaholeintheground website. Retrieved 22 September 2006.
  7. "Jem Finer: Oration". Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  8. "Yorkshire Sculpture Park press release". Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  9. "news_cb1_2.htm". Retrieved 22 July 2020.