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If I Should Fall from Grace: The Shane MacGowan Story (2001)

Music videos and archived footage supplement recent interviews in this documentary of ex-Pogues singer Shane MacGowan. We follow his life from the early days in Ireland and England, through... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
...
Himself
Philip Chevron ...
Himself
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Herself (as Victoria Clarke)
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Himself (archive footage)
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Himself (music video: "That Woman's Got Me Drinking") (archive footage)
Philip Gaston ...
Himself
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Himself (archive footage)
Kirsty MacColl ...
Herself - Song "Fairytale of New York" (archive footage)
Maurice MacGowan ...
Himself
Shane MacGowan ...
Himself
Therese MacGowan ...
Herself
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Herself - song "Haunted" (archive footage)
Deirdre O'Mahony ...
Herself
The Pogues ...
Themselves (archive footage)
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Storyline

Music videos and archived footage supplement recent interviews in this documentary of ex-Pogues singer Shane MacGowan. We follow his life from the early days in Ireland and England, through his formation of - and later dismissal from - The Pogues, to his new band The Popes. Shane's family, friends, and former bandmates comment on the music, the rumors, and the alcohol. Written by sienel

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27 July 2001 (Ireland)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title is taken from The Pogues' 1987 album "If I Should Fall From Grace With God." See more »

Quotes

Philip Chevron: If you had issues with alcohol there was no better - trust me - there was no better place in the world to bury them and hide them in than in The Pogues.
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Soundtracks

You're the One
Written by Michael Kamen and Shane MacGowan
Performed by Shane MacGowan and The Popes with Maire Brennan
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User Reviews

 
Vital yet bittersweet
16 December 2003 | by (Countryside, IL, USA) – See all my reviews

My one-line summary says it all. This movie is a must for fans of the Pogues and Irish music in general. The performance and video clips are fantastic. One of my particular favorites is the sequence where an incomplete collection of the band members, all quite young, are performing a raucous song (Waxy's Dargle) and Spider Stacy is using a drink tray as a tambourine by bashing his head into it. Looks like it would have been great fun to see live.

As were the Pogues themselves, of course. I had the good fortune to see the band in concert four times between 1987 and 1991, and have seen the Popes twice since then (and tried a third time - see below.) In all cases it was a visceral experience. The music surged through my veins and Shane's almost completely unintelligible singing provided a counterpoint. (One generally had to know the lyrics to the songs pretty well to sing along with them; little help was to be expected from Shane. But that was part of the experience.) The highs in this documentary are high indeed.

But the utter enjoyment is somewhat tempered by the footage of the current-day Shane McGowan. The alcoholism that eventually led to his ouster from the Pogues has had its predictable, ever-increasing effect on him. (The last time we tried to see the Popes, we got to the House of Blues in Chicago and were told at the door that Shane had not been able to make it out of Boston. Seeing this documentary, I think my suspicions as to why were more or less correct. Not that it was hard to deduce.) There is a tinge of sadness in watching recent clips and trying to decipher what he is saying. Were he not who he is, the observer would think he is seeing a barfly on a particularly bad night. But Shane is who he is; the Pogues would probably not have been the phenomenon they were had he been habitually sober. Genius is often driven by demons, and this is clearly the case here.

When all is said and done, the tinge of sadness and pity is there, yet Shane does not come off as in any way pathetic, at least in my opinion. Ultimately you just appreciate all he has meant to the music world and wish him some more time to contribute.

Bittersweet also describes the brief appearance of the late Kirsty McColl, singing her duet with Shane (the greatest Christmas song ever written, "Fairytale of New York." I'm only partially facetious in that statement.) I saw her in concert once, in 1995 or so. Great show. But she was run over by a speedboat in Cozumel just before Christmas a couple of years ago, in full view of her children. A damn shame.

No question, this one's a must. 9/10

P.S. There is a current band that comes close to filling the hole the Pogues left. They are called "Flogging Molly." The musical style and performance level is very close to the Pogues in their prime. I think it's not quite there, because they don't have the key ingredient of McGowan's booze-soaked voice, but they're damn good. Buy some CD's and give them a listen - you won't regret it. (And, no, I am not employed by them!)


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