Movie Review: Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan (2020)


Title: Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan
Release Date: December 4, 2020
Director: Julien Temple
Production Company: Infinitum Nihil | Nitrate Film | Wild Atlantic Pictures | BBC Music | Warner Music | Screen Ireland
Summary/Review:

“People were always calling me a poet, but it’s very annoying to be called a poet when you’re a musician, because it means you’ve wasted your time writing the music.” – Shane MacGowan

This documentary is a straight-forward biography of singer/songwriter Shane MacGowan, most famous for his work with the Celtic punk band The Pogues, in that it covers his life from birth to the present.  Straight-forward except that delightfully-weird animation that is used to recreate key moments of MacGowan’s life as well as what seems to be found footage to complement archival footage of MacGowan, his family, and The Pogues.  MacGowan credits his childhood years on the family farm in Tipperary, Ireland with moulding is life.  He started to drink at the age of 6, but also learned traditional music and lived on a land that still bore the scars of the Great Hunger and the Irish War of Independence.

The movie features original interviews with MacGowan and archival footage where he talks (mumbles, really) about his life and inspirations. There are also scenes of him in conversation with his friends actor Johnny Depp and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.  Interviews with Macgowan’s parents, his sister Siobhan, and wife Victoria Mary Clarke fill out the story.  I would argue the main flaws of this film is that it is overly long and repetitive.  If there’s one thing anyone knows about Shane MacGowan is that he drinks a lot, so that point didn’t need to be beaten to death at the expense of, say, learning more about his songwriting process.  Still, this is an insightful film about a complex and talented man.

Rating: ***

#TryPod Day 6: The Irish and Celtic Music Podcast


All this month, I’ve heard about the campaign to spread the news of podcasts called TryPod.  As I am a voracious listener of podcasts (you can see the complete list of my current subscriptions and other recommendations on my podcast page), I figured I ought to participate while I can.  So I will post about one of my favorite podcasts every day for the last 9 days of March.

Today’s podcast is a music podcast.  I’ve always been a fan of Irish music of all types dating back to my childhood when I went with my parents to pubs from County Kerry and County Galway to County Kings and County Bronx.  The Irish and Celtic Music Podcast presented by musician Mark Gunn allows me a weekly wallow in jigs & reels and the occasional rock & roll rave-up for an hour or so.

 

One great song I discovered through the podcast is “Tired By Kids” by the band Poitín, who are from the Czech Republic!

 

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 19: “The Drunken Piper”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

19. “The Drunken Piper” by Natalie MacMaster w/ Cookie Rankin

Sure, this is a Scottish tune by way of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, but you’re three sheets to the wind by now and who can deny the fine fiddling , singing, and rhythm on display.

 

24 hrs of St. Patrick’s Day 17: “If I Should Fall From the Grace of God”


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I’m posting one of my favorite Irish songs every hour.

17. “If I Should Fall From the Grace of God” by The Pogues

The revolutionary band The Pogues blended punk rock rage with traditional Irish sounds to pretty much redefine Irish music. I could recommend several albums, but here’s one track that shows them at their best.