It’s rare that a movie surprises me on so many levels like this. Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan, was the movie I fully expected to go into as a punk rock tribute to one of my favorite bands. It ended up turning into so much more. I got to see The Pogues with U2 on September 29th 1987. It was at a time when I had to sneak out, before cell phones and before social media. It’s so much more than that though. It was a journey of Shane, his love of Ireland, his love of music and his love of being everything Irish.
We open up to the story of something uniquely Irish. I don’t think it’s uniquely Irish for Britain or America or France or anywhere else, but it is uniquely Irish. Watching and listening to Shane talk about his first taste of Guinness at age five, sitting and talking, listening to the generation before you and what they’ve gone through while they slipped you just a wee nip was something I could identify with. Hearing the intense pride he feels in his culture, his people struck cords in all of us who are not just Irish on St. Patrick’s day. His telling of the Famine, the Troubles and the pride and sheer merriment of the Irish mixed with his music and his poetry was something that made me want to go down to the local pub even while we are in the midst of a pandemic.
Julien Temple Captures The Essence Perfectly
The movie, or wildlife documentary, is wonderfully told through the eye of Julien Temple. He had his work cut out for him. I’m truly surprised he didn’t come out with a few new bruises for his effort. The genuine love and warmth Shane feels for his friends and family is shown over hours of footage with its own Irish Punk Poet style.
For every moment with Johnny Depp; who incidentally promised the whole back end of Pirates of the Caribbean to Shane. That’s a must see moment. Shane can almost be seen as a predator in nature throughout the film. This genuine love and warmth is reflected throughout the whole film. It’s felt through Julien’s lens and into your heart as he shares a pint with someone he truly cares for.
Punk Energy Oozes Off The Screen
For every moment you see Shane laugh or smile there are the moments when the sheer punk rock energy can not be contained. He sneers at the camera. Tells his friends off. Finally at moments he looks like he wants to leap through the screen. You go back in time to his days grabbing headlines at Sex Pistols concerts for cannibalism….yes that happened and yes you can tell he loves telling that story.
The love and hate he has for past punk rock pioneers The Clash, Strummer The Sex Pistols, Johnny Rotten, and his bandmates is captured with the ups and downs that is uniquely Shane.
For the blissfully uninformed of Irish culture and the plastic Paddies who drink green beer… (seriously, who does that). It brings out a whole new side of Shane one of respect and reverence that I think is rare to get from him.
According To Shane, The Irish Created Everything And Punk
Shane explains his invention of Irish Punk Folk rock. Through his love for The Dulbliners with his father and mother (blissfully not The Wolfetones). The influx in the 80’s of cultural music into the mainstream or world rock as it was called back then, Irish culture contributed to his invention of this music claimed by Flogging Molly, The Rumjacks, Dropkick Murphys and so many bands today. Don’t believe me? Listen to “Whiskey in a Jar” by Metallica… Shane and the Pogues did it first and better. (Editor’s Note: Thin Lizzy also did a smashing cover of that song.)
Shane grabbed that moment in time and bent it over. Through sheer willpower, functional alcoholism (that’s grabbing a pint for the Irish) and sensual intoxication, that you can’t quite seem to place but can just feel, to make it his own.
So, you can check out our interview with director Julien Temple, below.
Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan is a doc for every music buff, Irishman, and punk rock person in all of us. Shane Patrick Lysaught MacGowan is a force of nature unto himself. His story is brilliantly told through this documentary that must have been like shooting down the rapids on a whiskey river while humming a Pogues song….Oh and Shane, Julien didn’t fuck it up too bad.