Video Explain # 16 – Say Say Say: Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson

Opening: We see a brief shot of a 12 year old Michael Jackson wearing a cap, a golf sweater with suspenders over a nice pair of slacks looking cautiously inside a barn door as if he is watching two cows copulating. Then we see Paul McCartney’s wife with a megaphone telling everyone to gather round and this is backed by Paul McCartney who steps off his wagon with what appears to be a bottle of whiskey but is in fact “Mac and Jack’s Wonder Potion” which Paul smoothly and confidently assures the gathering crowd of rented yokels that this said potion is “guaranteed to give you unbelievable power” and it seems every person in this video clip is wearing a hat. We see Michael in the background looking over with interest but obviously he is quite shy and sensitive and yet he is mesmerized by this incredible scene unfolding. “I’ll try one” says Michael with the voice of a child raising his hand and Paul gives him a bottle of what might perhaps be Butternut Schnapps. Michael is then unable to open the bottle himself due to his incredible weakness in his hands possibly as an after effect from the war. Paul kindly opens it for him and tells him to try it which after a moments hesitation he does an sips the muddy looking custard in the bottle. For a moment Michael looks as if he is about to collapse but then recovers and does a twirl much to the delight of the crowd who murmur approvingly of this mediocre display of movement. Then a heavy set muscular man who is not wearing a hat and has been watching smiles at Michael with a knowing look and approaches him in the middle of the group and everyone knows some heavy shit is about to go down. Linda looks worried but Paul seems more tolerant of the violence that is is thick in the air like a terrible fart. Michael and the muscular man then lock gazes and go into an arm wrestling position over I presume a table or possibly a log that you don’t see and with a minimal amount of effort Michael wins the arm wrestling competition and the muscular man feigns some sort of terrible injury to his arm while the crowd goes nuts and waves dollar bills in Paul’s face to buy some of his Butternut Custard. This is when the song actually starts.

Fact: The song was recorded in London and produced by George Martin. Michael wrote most of the lyrics and Paul wrote the music and played several instruments including the bass, synth, guitar and percussion. Michael also sang on the song as did Paul in case you didn’t know that. This was Paul’s first bunch of new music after Wings sadly broke up in 1981.

Anyway back to the video. There are various shots of the suckered locals sculling down the bile from flies and then we see Paul on his wagon again (this might have inspired Eric Clapton to quit drinking) counting his money and singing and we then see he is sitting next to his stern looking wife Linda who has the look of suspecting him of having gone to McDonald’s and she takes his bag of money from him. We see the muscular man is driving the van and it is not a wagon after all more like a kind of old fashioned Ute, okay pick up truck then, whatever. Paul keeps singing until it’s Michael’s turn to sing and as he does so he appears from behind a tree on the side of the road and somehow in those few seconds appears more scary than Pennywise from IT. Michael then jumps up onto the back of the wagon, or whatever the fuck it is and the muscular man again gives the knowing look to Michael while turning back through the hole in the cab. It is now evident if it wasn’t already that this is all a scam. Paul and these other scumbags are travelling around ripping poor people off by selling yellow soapy cat cum to them at extortionate prices. But still the merry song goes on and Michael and Paul are fully into singing the song while Linda forces a smile and demonstrates how little rhythm she has by not even being able to clap her hands properly.

We see a sign that says “Mrs Ensigns Orphanage” and then a whole bunch of Oliver Twist rejects come running after the truck gleefully yelling at the heroic antics of these travelling band of blood sucking con artists.

We see some women watching the truck arrive and then Paul jumps off and puts his bag with the money over his shoulder which he then immediately dumps back with his wife who goes off with the women. Paul stays at the front gates to produce some fake flowers for the joy of the poor kids while Michael tries to upstage Paul by showing how he is unable to balance on top of a fence and falls off. But he does then turn the fall into another one of his mediocre spins and flipping his cap to the kids which they clearly are in awe of. We see Paul make a silly face and say “baby” to the kids who are just happy to not be in school. Michael hops back on the truck with Linda and Paul after giving the orphan children something they will never forget which for some reason didn’t include any of the cash they had but still they did a bit of Patch Adams service to humanity and now they are on their way again.

We see two old men arm wrestling presumably with the delusion that the toxic waste from Chernobyl they purchased from Paul will allow them to break the other’s persons arm off. Some younger guy is carrying a barrel which is somehow meant to be very impressive and then a much older man flexes his muscles and shows he is ready to king hit some poor bastard.

The truck rolls into a new town that looks like the same location as the last one and they see “acts wanted” at the local hotel so suddenly Paul and the gang flip a sign over on the side of the truck claiming that they are now a vaudeville act.

Fact: Vaudeville is defined as a type of entertainment popular chiefly in the US in the early 20th century, featuring a mixture of specialty acts such as burlesque comedy and song and dance. Now you know.

Paul and his gang of drug fucked psychos march into the hotel where a small array of older gentlemen who appear to be in a coma of indifference look at them as Paul tips his hat and marches confidently up to the bar.

Presumably Paul’s smooth sales pitch and possibly being a former Beatle gets them the gig as Paul is now shaving in a hotel room while Michael is deperately trying to bleach his hands white. Linda is shown strumming a guitar in a way that hints she has never played one before and could just as easily be strumming on a leg of ham or better a bunch of celery. Michael and Paul are singing into a mirror (or pretending to) and Michael dances around Paul making very crazy eyes that seem to be on the verge of exploding out of his face.

We then cut to Paul pretending to be Paul Newman from the Hustler as he chalks his cue while playing against a haggard and possibly dangerous man in a hat who is not Harry Dean Stanton. Paul takes the shot and you don’t see what he does but the haggard man looks a bit disappointed and a lady madame nods knowingly. The muscular man gets given some money presumably because Paul hustled them at pool like he hustles everyone for everything while smiling gaily and singing. We see Paul and Linda and she has heavy under liner I notice and some cheap looking blue earrings.

Michael is jumping around singing and his outfit is different than at the start and he starts telling his sister LaToya Jackson who is standing by the bar that he likes her. She tries to act unimpressed or even just try to act at all and then we see Michael leaned up against a wall and Paul pops out for a moment to make a silly face and say “baby” again. Michael still wants to seduce his sister but Paul pulls him away.

Then we see Paul and Michael putting on sort of clown faces I guess without the red noses, I am no expert in vaudeville so forgive me. I think if they were doing black face it might be okay if Michael did it but not sure on the moral point of view exactly if Paul joined in as well. Anyway, the crowd appears drunk and rowdy and Linda tries to warm them up by pointing at a board and putting her hands on a piano.

Michael and Paul appear on stage with their weird sad makeup and the crowd goes nuts as they pull a stream of handkerchiefs from their mouths. They then do a kind of chicken walk and spray the audience with something dispensed from those things you’re meant to put nitrous bulbs in and it’s likely by their movements they both just had a couple of “nangs” before the show. The crowd are eating this up.

A bit of ass wiggling and miming banjo playing from the dynamic duo as Linda sits at the piano again pretending she can play it. The crowd is going wild as the harmonica solo in the song reaches fever pitch.

Fact: The harmonica was played by Chris Smith, whoever the fuck he is.

We see the crowd and LaToya Jackson smiles, she is enjoying this and possibly wants to sleep with her brother which you might find objectionable but you have to remember this was the 1980’s and a lot has changed since then. Back then it was weird if you didn’t do it.

Suddenly some heavy looking dudes walk into the saloon, bar, doghouse, whatever and they have badges so they are probably the law. Paul realises that he is probably about to go to prison for being a pleasantly mannered con man or maybe he might just be hung in the main streets by ISIS and so he quickly changes into a dubious looking genie and starts a small obviously well contained small fire on stage. Then Linda vigorously yells “fire, fire” (which they say you should yell if you are being beaten or raped to get people to come and help you) to make people run away which they do. In fact they run out of the premises so fast I would be surprised if there were no injuries or fatalities in the crush and what would con artist Paul care anyway as long as he and his man boy Michael got away with piles of cash? They flee the building and there is a brief shot of Michael telling LaToya that she can’t come with him because he is a star and she is basically a nobody.

Then we see Paul has now become the Great Gatsby, Michael is circa Off The Wall and forgive me but Linda still looks kind of shabby. Paul gives LaToya the fake flowers he used to enthrall orphans with previously and waves at her as their truck heads off into the sunset. Paul and Linda hold their arms up together as a kind of victory sign of the success of outwitting the law and perhaps to the incredible strength of their marriage as well. Michael sits between them as the truck disappears as their kind of quasi confusing man child that they care for but are constantly put into awkward positions trying to explain to everyone. The song and video fades ..

Fact: While filming this video Michael went to where Paul and Linda were staying which was a property known then as Sycamore Ranch. Michael expressed interest in buying it which he later did and renamed it Neverland. The rest as they say is history ..

Thank you for being explained to .. see you next time. AB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Explain 15 – Velouria – Pixies

Opening shot: We see Black Francis AKA Francis Black / Bacon Francis / Charles Michael Kittridge Jack Thompson the 3rd / Jack Bacon / Jack Black / Harvey Weinstein / Aboriginal Pancake in a red flannel shirt and some jeans standing on top of some rocks in a quarry. Next to him on his right is drummer David Knobring in a classic white t-shirt and jeans. On his left is bass player Big Deal dressed in black top and shorts and next to her is guitarist Joey Catholic wearing a sweater and jeans. The four of them start moving forward towards the camera stumbling awkwardly over the mass of rocks in a quarry while smiling with mild embarrassment as the song continues. It starts to become apparent that the footage is in slow motion and that it is highly likely that there is going to be no absolutely no single other shot in the entire music video. This is the opening shot and the middle sequence and the closing shot. It could be said that the conceptual basis of this video was a scream in the dark against the mindless fast edited derivative bullshit flooding the now almost decade old MTV but sadly that was not true.

Fact: The video clip concept was based on the necessity the band felt to do a video clip which was pressed upon them against their will so they could perform on BBC’s Pop of the Tops. In carrying out this massively unpleasant task they sought vehemently to avoid cliches such as mimed band performances and lip syncing. After shooting around 23 seconds of footage of the four members of the band climbing over some rocks they retired to the editing suite and discovered that the song Velouria being 3 minutes and 42 seconds in length was 3 minutes and 19 seconds too long to fit with the footage they had shot. The band toyed with the idea of editing the song down to 23 seconds but their record company insisted that the entire song be present in the music video for the song. They had a problem. No one wanted to shoot more footage and anyway they could not think of anything to film except for the old whoreish chestnuts of band miming to the song which of course went against their core beliefs about what a music video should not be. After much consideration and consternation it was then suggested that the 23 seconds of footage be slowed down to the point where the length of time taken from start to finish would elapse over 3 minutes and 42 seconds instead of the original 23 seconds at normal speed. Thus the video clip for Velouria was born. Not from some grand conceptual statement but because the band were lazy, incompetent and probably Communists.

More facts: Some other songs that came out the same year as Velouria include Another Day In Paradise by Phil Collins, Unskinny Bop by Poison and We Didn’t Start The Fire by Billy Joel. Suicides spiked sharply in 1990.

Even more facts: The first person to reach the camera is Aboriginal Pancake, followed by Knobring, Catholic and finally Deal.

Possible fact: Joey Catholic allegedly broke both his legs after jumping high into the air in an enthusiastic fashion at the end of the video sequence. He lands just out of shot of the camera in a heap on the ground and had to be carried to the van by the rest of the band and crew who then drove him to hospital. Joey said of the incident “I am just so glad I play the guitar with my arms”.

More possible facts: The working title for the video clip  was “What’s the big deal about jeans?”.

The song Velouria contains the lyrics “And how does lemur skin reflect the sea?”

The band broke up three years later as a result of constant fighting between Aboriginal Pancake and Big Deal who both accused the other of being “incapable of loving a child”.

The last 17 seconds of the video is a slow motion shot of some rocks in front of a quarry.

Velouria was not nominated for best group video in the 1990 MTV video awards which was eventually awarded to Love Shack by the B52’s.

None of the band were professional rock climbers at the time the video was made in 1990.

Thank you for being explained to. Cheers. AB

 

Video Explain 14 – Videodrome (1983) Original Theatrical Trailer

 

Sounds of static sporadically and flashes of swirly colour and we hear the lead character Max (James Woods) being asked probing questions by someone as to why he enjoys watching Videodrome so much.

Max (James Woods) and Nicki (Debbie Harry) are seen concentrating intently on something on television and taking a wild guess I would say it is probably Videodrome.

We see some tacky comic strip imagery of skulls and what not that seem to be from the movie Creepshow or possible Heavy Metal.

A voice over says that Max is a victim while we see and hear Max describing to a woman in a suit the potency of his headaches. He suddenly realises that his headaches started when he first read the script to Videodrome sent to him by his agent.

Nicki (Debbie Harry) is seen super imposed over a painting of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe to create the effect of unease and nausea. We see a woman with her tongue poking out in different garish colours while a male vocalist from a band starts making squealing noises.

A bald guy with a mo (who’s head may have exploded in Scanners) talking to an unseen audience via television about how wonderful Videodrome is and how it will cause mass hallucinations which will change human reality. We see Max is watching the broadcast on a television and is touching it in a way that suggests he wants to fuck it.

More tacky comic strip imagery that David Cronenberg probably would not have endorsed this time of a big eye.

Max’s face reacts disturbed at the sight of the pop gun in his hand starting to mesh with the flesh in his arm. Max knows however that this is just classic Cronenberg and starts to relax into the experience.

Nicki’s lips shown in close up on the television set appealing to Max to come to her while Max seems busy working out how he can fuck the television.

A comic strip hand is shown sliding down the screen and the seeming condensation or snot or whatever creates the words Video Drome.

Max asking a guy in a suit why he thinks that he needs help. The guy in the suit says because he’s James Woods and therefore clearly disturbed.

We see a comic strip image of a space satelite shooting a lazer or something

Max is shown making a fist and looking a bit sweaty and quite a bit like Steve Guttenberg while he makes a proclomation about his ongoing support for Adolf Hitler.

A hand holding the same pop gun as before is shown emerging from the TV as an extension of the screen to signify that 3D televisions can be more interactive than you may have previously thought.

We see something or other explode in semi darkness

The title credits are shown with a voice over saying the name Videodrome while a second voice is heard in the near background also saying Videodrome but the sound is slowed down and repeats over and over in a way that is somewhat silly.

A voice over tells us that Debbie Harry and James Woods are in the movie with a still shot of each of them possibly lifted from a television image to add extra resonance to the overarching themes of the film.

The voice over tells us that the film is shocking and that the guy who directed it also directed Scanners so obviously it is a film you should take your Grandparents to see.

The sound of a brief explosion is heard and then we see the standard credits for the film. I note that Rick Baker did the special effects. He also did the practical effects for American Warewolf in London and is a genius.

The length of the trailer appears to be 1 minute 55 seconds.

It’s been explained. Hope you’re happy about it. Cheers. (AB)

Video Explain # Lucky 13 – Dan Cross – Can’t Beat The Feeling

 

Over the drone of some kind of demented bagpipes we see the opening shot of a clearly disheveled and drunken Costa Georgiadis lying in a field of empty beer cans. There are subtitles to the vocals to help you comprehend them. The first one says “it’s the real feeling” and straight away you know you’re in for a good time here.

We see Costa in a nice pair of shorts staggering awkwardly down the street as if he’s soiled himself. Then he walks morosely out of an IGA holding a 1.25 litre bottle of something labelled “CROSS CLEAR COLA” and then in the next shot Costa is taking a very healthy swig of this strange substance and appears very intent in his concentration to both continue walking and drink heartily without spilling a drop all over his lovely beard.

Trivia: If you look in the background of this street walking tracking shot I have it on good advice that you can see the words “Kings Cross” written next to the door of someone’s house. This is what in street slang is referred to as an “Easter Egg” or a “Whore’s Chestnut” where the director deliberately puts in subtle additional visual clues as a further linkage subliminal or otherwise to the author of the song and in this case his messianic obsessions about personally experiencing crucifixion.

He then approaches a door of a house. The number of the house is 419. Ask David Lynch if this means something.

We see Costa’s ominous looking shadow standing outside in the door window from the internal corridor of the house as he opens it and walks inside looking intently down towards the floor.

Trivia: If you look closely here my lawyer tells me you might just see Dan Cross himself hiding in the doorway holding a crucifix.

In the next shot as the phrase “can’t beat the feeling” is repeated we see Costa seated on the toilet with a crisp looking meat pie in one hand and the same bottle of CROSS CLEAR COLA in the other and he swigs generously from the bottle as if it is literally saving his life. It is noted that Costa perhaps due to his increased quest to quench his thirst does spill a little down his front.

We see Costa reaching down into the fridge. A pair of Blundstones are visible in the background. We see Costa’s hand as he reaches for another bottle of CROSS CLEAR COLA and  that he has 3 and a half bottles more of this stuff safely tucked away for occasions such as this when the thunder of a hangover reaches catastrophic levels of putrid resonance. Costa is clearly losing competent use of his basic motor skills as he attempts to pour some CROSS CLEAR COLA into a  pretty small glass spilling liquid all over the place but eventually gets enough in there so he can drink from it, which he does. He then does it again with a manner suggestive of a kind of a fury or anger at the way he is represented on kids television, but we also see that his strength is clearly coming back. This stuff works! “Every drop is love” is written and sung as this scene plays out and we believe it so stop fucking wasting it you drunken Aussie cunt. More precious CROSS CLEAR COLA is spilled but then Costa gets a much bigger glass and this takes it up a level but he still manages to lose a disturbing amount of this clear liquid gold down the front of his chest.

We see Costa now reaching into his cupboard and that there are even more bottles of CROSS CLEAR COLA in his house and he takes yet another one presumably to drink and this may be the point where you suspect the hero of this story has some kind of death wish. “Ride the flavour train” we see written as Costa is now outside in the garden drinking even more as his addiction to the incredible flavour and refreshment of CROSS CLEAR COLA has undone the final screw that was holding his brain and his spine together. He grimaces slightly. Then we see Costa close to the ground as his head and face are sprayed with a kind of ferocious ejaculate of CROSS CLEAR COLA as the words “and it will fuck you hard” are displayed beneath. Costa seems confused and his hands move back and forth awkwardly like an electrified puppet trying to fold a napkin.

In the garden (still) and Costa sways back and forth as he is sprayed at a longer distance by a larger volume of CROSS CLEAR COLA. His manner is both awkward and sensual as if simultaneously embracing and repelling being soaked in this other worldly seminal drink. In the next shot Costa appears to have been temporarily blinded by the flow of CROSS CLEAR COLA directly into his eyeballs but fights on heroically.

Suddenly Costa is lying on the ground (presumably still in the garden) with his eyes closed holding a bottle of CROSS CLEAR COLA. It is what we had feared! Costa has drunk so much liquid in a short period of time he has now got hyponatremia and his life is in danger.

But what’s this? In his other hand he now has a cassette copy of “Shopping” by Dan Cross and it seems that somehow owning this music Costa will escape the terrible effects of water intoxication. Did I give away that CROSS CLEAR COLA is just tap water? Who cares. Drink and be merry and get yourself a copy of Shopping if you want some extra protection. That’s it folks. It’s been explained. Hope you’re happy about it. Until next time. Cheers. (AB)

Video Explain 12 – George Harrison ‘Crackerbox Palace’

SOMETIMES I’M GOOD SOMETIMES I’M BAD

Englishman dressed as a nanny pushing a pram. A spirited George Harrison pokes out from the pram, singing. Three surgeons and Dracula appear in front of the Crackerbox Palace sign. George Harrison sings, the nanny stares at us. A castle. A gargoyle. Garden gnome people appear from shrubbery. They disappear. George Harrison sings in a schoolboy outfit. He picks his nose.

A woman in lingerie beckons from a tree. An army general points at George Harrison. A framed picture has the writing ‘Crackerbox Palace’ A man wearing a policeman hat and a general are in front of a danger sign. Policeman hat guy smokes. General stares at us. War victim skeleton behind barbed wire. Garden Gnomes dance and nod in the water.

George Harrison sings. He is floating backwards towards the castle. A gargoyle monk. A castle. More gargoyles. George Harrison sings cross eyed. He opens the doors of the castle and looks around. George Harrison is on a bed, two lingerie models appear. Then they all disappear. View through a door, various people welcoming, including garden gnomes.

The person at the end of the line up is Dracula. We see Dracula next to George Harrison in a chair. Dracula turns into a woman. The woman then turns into several people then back into Dracula form. George sings in front of a menagerie of freaky people. Two women sway back and forth on a seat as George Harrison drives, singing on a lawn mower with people on the back.

The Queen waves from the castle. A young child in make up takes off his magic hat.  Garden Gnomes dance near the water. George Harrison is dressed as the Mad Hatter with a bunch of freaky people. The Queen again. Freaky people stare at us and George Harrison sings. Everyone waves as the camera zooms out. The End.

TRIVIA:

  • The song came out in 1976.
  • George Harrison based the song on a meeting with a man who looked like comedian Lord Buckley. The man happened to be Lord Buckley’s manager and took him to his place, dubbed ‘Crackerbox Palace’
  • Eric Idle from Monty Python directed the clip.

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Video Explain 11 – Mr Bungle ‘Quote Unquote’

HE’S HITLER AND SWAYZE AND TRUMP AND TRAVOLTA

Clown in a suit carrying a suitcase. He is running. Flashing lights at a party. A mannequin’s eyes. Clown in suit. Party lights. A man in a robe does a Nazi salute. He is holding a crucifix. A doll. A gimp from above. Party Lights. A headless doll amongst a pile of dolls. A man is dancing amongst the party lights. The gimp is now singing.

The gimp is holding a crucifix. More dancing at the party. More gimp singing. We see a monster. Flashes of green. A moth. A face appears through feathers. A man hangs from the roof. There are more men hanging in the foreground. We see their feet hanging, back and forth. We see five men hanging from hooks. A man with spikes coming from his face looks on, as does a man with a mask and a pig faced man. They are all hanging from hooks. A man in a long coat stumbles across train tracks with a doll. The gimp is singing again.

The gimp is surrounded by strobe lights. A clown pushes a doll on a swing. Men hanging from hooks. Dancing amongst flashing lights. A man in mask stares down the camera. The gimp sings. Another man in a mask pulls a small saw out of his jacket. A doll covered in feathers. Some train tracks. A man in a suit and other men in masks at the dance party. A woman dances, clown in a suit shakes his head.

The gimp sings. Clown in a suit has a larger butcher knife. The gimp keeps singing. Old man mask person plays with their face. A doll’s head is knocked off. Television hanging from a hook. Man in a robe and mask does the Lord’s prayer. Doll’s head spins around on the ground. We see the gimp and flashes of purple things. A man hanging from a ceiling. Fade out. The End.

TRIVIA:

  • The song was originally called Travolta but was changed for legal reasons.
  • The video was banned from MTV.
  • The gimp singer is Mike Patton from Faith No More.