Normally, when you hear from a doctor to a pop star, they'll be sat in a wood-panelled room, sweating a bit and trying to explain why the signature on the barbiturate prescription does, indeed, look like theirs.
So it's nice to hear a positive story for a change. In fact, "positive story" is probably underselling this one. It's more like a Christmas Miracle wrapped in a tale of human endurance.
It's the story of Darragh Mulrooney, the dentist who gave Shane MacGowan back a mouth full of teeth. The Independent has saluted this extraordinary work:
Shane recorded most of his great works when he had some teeth to work with,” Dr Mulrooney says. “The question on everyone’s lips is how it will affect his voice. The tongue is a finely attuned muscle and it makes precise movements. We’ve effectively retuned his instrument and that will be an ongoing process.”(Does MacGowan have a reputation for having gold teeth?)
MacGowan’s new teeth make at least one concession to his notorious reputation. A single gold tooth was added to his smile at the singer’s request. Asked what he thinks, MacGowan, a man of few words, says: “I’m getting used to them … it’s good to have teeth again. I feel better about the way I look.”
It's a bit harsh, though, being offered a full set of realistic choppers and asking for an old-school one in the mix. Like being given a robotic prosthetic arm and demanding that one of the fingers is just a hook.