If I Should Fall From Grace | Chicago Reader

If I Should Fall From Grace

Like Dylan Thomas near the end, singer-songwriter Shane MacGowan has become a sort of Celtic train wreck, celebrated for his epic alcoholism as much as his art. This 2001 video portrait is fascinating, but I was transfixed less by MacGowan's slurred remarks than by his efforts to direct a drinking straw into his mouth. Inspired by Irish hellion Johnny Rotten, MacGowan and his English band the Pogues bucked the synth-pop trend of the early 80s with a lively marriage of punk and traditional Irish music, and director Sarah Share wisely downplays the band's uneven live performances in favor of music videos that better convey MacGowan's gift as a lyricist. Former Pogue Philip Chevron and doom rocker Nick Cave make some acute observations about MacGowan, but the most revealing moments involve his companion, Victoria Clarke, who argues that drinking is necessary to his work. She's a classic enabler, though perhaps no more culpable than the fans who cheer him on. 94 min.


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