Tall Dwarfs “Fragile”

1998-tall-dwarfs-fragileThe Tall Dwarfs only had two music videos funded by NZOA, but in both cases they took the funding and made it go far. In this case, the video utilises the magic of green screen to have four layers of video.

The background layer is Queen Street upside down, and I think this is the first time Queen Street has been seen in its less glamorous daytime form. It’s a chance to revisit the street before most of the pink pavers were ripped up in favour of serious bluestone.

So what’s the purpose of this wander around town? Why, it’s to visit the record company. The upside-down camera visits Flying Nun, which looks about as cool as I’d have imagined. Posters and photos adorn the walls, and the camera come across stacks and racks of CDs and LPs. Oh yes.

But remember, this is just the first layer of video. The second is another upside down video, inset in the main image. It shows a bleak urban landscape, weeds, motorway rails, sometimes mirrored in two halves. On top of this is Messrs Knox and Bathgate on percussion and guitar. They have bandages wrapped around their heads and are wearing what look like surreal, fragmented lucha libra masks.

And the fourth layer is the mask-and-bandage-clad dudes popping up again, either separately or together. When the chorus comes along, they’re joined by a hand-drawn “FRAGILE” wobbling over them. This might count as a fifth layer. Crazy.

For a song that’s about fragility, both Alec and Chris and the video itself is wrapped in layers of protection. What’s it protecting? Well, at its heart, it’s a really fine song.

Best bit: the Flying Nun office visit.

Director: Chris Knox
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… inside a Hawke’s Bay art deco gem.

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