July 30, 2021

Shane MacGowan, a rock and crazy epic


Slumped in his wheelchair, the enfant terrible of Irish folk-punk, the singer of the Pogues, chuckles with a clear throat – vocal cords and voice worn out. Shane MacGowan, 63, may appear to us the body exhausted, exhausted by too much excess, he keeps the sharp mind of the guy who is not told. And of his life, he has not forgotten anything. His childhood in Ireland, his exile in England, family, alcohol and drug abuse, music, politics… He goes back in time without regrets, with an irascible character but with an intelligent, poetic and funny speech. He is a character on whom several films could be written. The one made by British filmmaker Julien Temple, known for his musical documentaries (Joe Strummer : The Future Is Unwritten, dedicated to the founder of the Clash; Obscenity and Fury, on the Sex Pistols), contains, by itself, a few.

Crock of Gold, as cheeky, deep, punk as the artist to whom he is attached, reconstructs a legend by using archive images, reconstituted scenes, film extracts, cartoons made for the documentary, testimonials, of conversations filmed without Shane MacGowan’s knowledge. The latter having been clear before the shooting – No fucking interview ! – We had to be cunning. The constraint was a boon. It forced the director to take side roads to reach the most intimate side of “The spoiled rotten star, the least cooperative” that he had known. The creativity shown by Julien Temple finally rose to the height of his extravagant subject and produced sparks. The film, rock and crazy epic, where the sublime is juxtaposed with disaster, captivates from start to finish. Whether or not we know Shane MacGowan.

Childhood and biblical atmosphere

It all starts with sequences reconstituted in black and white which bring back to the childhood of the singer. A farm, geese, donkeys, haystacks: it is in this biblical atmosphere of the Irish county of Tipperary that the young Shane grew up until the age of 6, in the midst of his parents and his family. kindergarten. “It was a bit old-fashioned but very republican”, he laughs. In the house, neither water nor electricity, but Christmas every day, parties every night during which uncles, aunts, neighbors drink, sing, dance until morning. At 5, Shane drank his first beer. He never stopped again.

You have 44.69% of this article left to read. The rest is for subscribers only.