The Shane MacGowan Story:
If I Should Fall from Grace

(Pop Twist, 2001)

Shane MacGowan is a phenomenon. He writes some of the most poetic lyrics in modern music. He performs with the best-known artists. He sings with a rare passion. He has a destructive love of the gargle. He can be extremely funny. He can be obnoxious in the drink. He is far from being an "oil painting." He attracts millions of fans to his music and by extension to Irish music.

This DVD was produced by Emdee Productions for the Irish language television station TG4, a small station that has done more to promote Irish music than any of the bigger networks in Ireland. It is a magical documentary that gives us rare insights into the life and mind of MacGowan. It is not a biography, more a sketch of his life, but it abounds with little gems that only film can produce.

For the music fan it can be a sort of Shane MacGowan's Greatest Hits album. There are performances of 17 songs, and these in themselves are worth the cost of the DVD. The performances can act as a souvenir of the many live performances that fans will have attended, from TV's The Late Late Show, when he performed with the Dubliners, to the Galway Arts Festival performance and numerous clubs. There is also the video of "Fairytale of New York."

In between performances of songs we get performances of life. Shane can be one of the wittiest of speakers and he shows this here. Glimpses of a trip back to his Tipperary home are beautiful in showing the down-to-earth, common-sense Irish character of his family.

As with all DVDs there are extras. On this release you get the outtakes, interviews with Nick Cave, Philip Chevron and others. There is also a stroll in the countryside, and for the budding performer you can sing along with the maestro.

For the music fan and the person interested in the life and mind behind the music, this is a great DVD.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 15 May 2004

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