Crock of Gold review – Shane MacGowan's colourful, chaotic life

It’s excess all areas in Julien Temple’s fond documentary of the Pogues frontman

A lifelong chronicler of punk and of music’s excessive, transgressive fringes, it’s a wonder that it took Julien Temple as long as it did to turn his attention to Shane MacGowan. The frontman of the Pogues, famous for his ground-glass delivery, the gutter poetry of his lyrics and his fondness for various intoxicants, is a gloriously disruptive subject for a documentary. He once ate a Beach Boys album. But so colourful is his history that this is just a throwaway aside, barely meriting half a minute in this breakneck mosh through his life.

Temple has always used archive material playfully; here, it’s particularly riotous, like a chaotic patchwork quilt tacked together by one of Shane’s drunk aunties. As for MacGowan himself? Blurred around the edges, with a terrifying death rattle of a laugh, his beer-soured presence in the film is a glowering counterpoint to the tendency, from some interviewees, to sanctify him as some kind of fallen angel.

  • Crock of Gold is in cinemas now and on digital platforms from 7 December

Watch a trailer for Crock of Gold


Wendy Ide

The GuardianTramp

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