Monday, May 13, 2013

The End of The Rainbow

I made a video once. Well, I say madewas in. As it was explained to me all I had to do was meet up beforehand in order to expound on a few of the more flowery metaphors in the song over a couple of roll ups and a nice cup of tea, and then turn up and wait in my trailer until called for my close up before the light went. It certainly sounded like a good deal to me – a couple of friends at Suffolk College got a piece for their year-end art and media coursework and we got granted all rights in perpetuity to a promo that we could send to MTV, always assuming we had a friend who could link two VCRs together for long enough to run us off a few copies.

Meeting done, storyboard cut and pasted*, backdrop decorated, televisions procured and raw videotape sourced we assembled at an old airbase somewhere in the middle of Cambridgeshire which was enjoying a new lease of life as an arts and media hub, by which I mean it was no longer used for storing mustard gas or nuclear weapons, but had had a brazier dragged into the middle of the largest bunker and a few plywood walls half-heartedly nailed together in order to partition off a few of the less draughty corners for the use of the likes of us and, as we were to discover later, a band who were absolutely determined to get the intro to The Doobie Brothers’ China Grove bang on, no matter how many times this meant them starting over.

The shooting schedule seemed reasonable enough and so we got on with looking moodily off camera while miming our parts, hitting various marks and cheerfully faking a conversation while ensconced on a sofa which was intended to portray us as louche, detached observers of the scene. D.P. Hammond, our moodily-lit bass player, took the detachment bit to method acting levels by actually getting so involved in reading the paper that he missed his cue – although his cue, fortuitously, was to 'start reading a paper'. He, it should be said, was generally laid back to the point of the metaphorically horizontal anyway, and was once late for a rehearsal at his own house. We honoured him with an instrumental called “Donald Finally Wakes Up but Then Falls Asleep on His Way to The Bass Amp”. 

Drummer Gary meanwhile manfully stomped on a kick drum pedal for about twenty minutes while it was lit and shot, and then enthusiastically joined in with dropping three televisions off a balcony in order to capture the best angle on tape before tossing the resultant detritus into a skip outside, only to be rewarded with a further cathode ray tube explosion which launched either a screwdriver or a chisel (reports vary) whistling past his ear in the dark.

 Singer Steve donned a coat and scarf and channelled his inner Jim Kerr whilst being arranged carefully around a discarded toy tank, had newsreel footage projected on to his face, and rushed to catch the last of the light as a deeply significant metaphor burst into flames before our collective fret frottaging gurns. Pretty much the last shot to be completed was the alarm clock ticking down the sixteenth beat hi-hat intro from a deliberately significant two minutes to twelve. Listen, it was the eighties. Have you not heard Two Tribes..!?  

After two (freezing) days on location we were done, the crew (who’d stayed over in the bunker while we fled to the sanctuary of central heating and hot baths at home) finally went back to their digs to thaw out, to edit in the newsreel footage in in post-production, sync the video footage to the ghetto blaster-based playback and approve the final cut.
Here it is…


Thanks to Lord Tilkey for archiving and posting on YouTube. Turns out we didn't need MTV after all. Just an awful lot of patience and Tim Berners-Lee.

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