The frontman of the iconic Irish punk band Shane MacGowan takes us through his life in this almost unreal documentary. A life marked by alcohol and drugs, which influenced the fact that at the time of the filming of the film Shane, he was also tied to a wheelchair and, regardless of the fact that he put together artificial teeth, he looks really bad. Even worse than we remember him when, in his younger days, he was drunk on stage with a total of three teeth in his jaw, and his lifelong enjoyment of alcohol must have taken its toll. However, unlike many of their fellow musicians, who killed themselves with alcohol and drugs in their youth, and now that they are in some serious years, they are acting and smart, joking about healthy life, yoga, tantric sex, peace in the world, ecology, climate change and I don’t know why, Shane is still the same as we remember him.
Even though he barely talks, he still has a cigarette and a glass of beer in his hands, so at one point he says, I practically stopped drinking. And let his recognizable smile through his teeth and take a sip of Guinness. The strongest advantage of this documentary is that Shane himself guides us through his life. And that from his early childhood in the Irish province, where he was already introduced to alcohol as a five-year-old, to his adolescence and youth in London, and his later success with the Pogues and the later stage when the situation seriously took a toll on his career. Watching this documentary, it is impossible not to draw parallels with one of our musicians and poets, from whom the media (thanks in large part to his behavior) created a caricature and a clown.
Of course, we are talking about Goran Baret from Majki, about whom we can read and watch in recent years and even decades only when he does something stupid. And then everyone makes fun of him, those idiotic memes are made that are sent in WhatsApp groups, and I find all this terribly sad because this same Bare is our greatest poet, a true rocker and bohemian at heart, whose greatness we will probably understand and appreciate only when he it won’t be. It’s a similar story with MacGowan, to whom the first association for many is that ugly snout with more eyes than teeth, drunken chatter and anecdotes about drunkenness. Shane is also aware of the image he has created in the public eye and does not run away from it, but this film also shows how much, much more this man is.
And this is equally fascinating and shocking, a completely unbelievable story that the experienced rock documentarian Julian Temple enriched not only with numerous archive recordings, but also with animations, as well as clips from various films that focus on Irish history. Narratively, it is arranged linearly, so we start from MacGowan’s childhood all the way to the present, and an interesting fact is that the interview with the protagonist is not conducted by the director, but by various people from his life. Of course, Shane is aware that his life was not exactly exemplary and that no one in their right mind should look up to him, but his lucidity, honesty and sense of humor continue to fascinate him.
Although he was expelled from school when he was 14 or 15 years old, his well-readness fascinates him, especially his knowledge of Irish literature, which has been his inspiration since childhood. One simply has to respect the fact that this man brought Irish traditional music back to the music scene, actually brought it into modern times and brought it closer to the rest of the world. It’s an extremely emotional film because Shane honestly talks about all the traumas of his life, difficult moments, what shaped him and what his mission really was. Of course, the film is full of anecdotes and numerous crazy and unreal situations, because after all, it is the life of Shane McGowan and “Crock of Gold” is a perfect example of an excellent rock documentary.