The “Venus” video is seemingly about a girl who’s on the run from the law. She’s James Feelers’ sweetie, and while he sings his song for her, she’s escaped a greasy cop who’d been holding her at a sleazy motel room, run away to a remote gas station, stolen a car and driven to the Feelers gig.
But here’s the curious thing – the Feelers gig is at the Hastings Municipal Theatre (now called the Hawke’s Bay Opera House). The theatre has an elegant Spanish Mission-style facade, an extravagant art nouveau interior and is a Category I listed building with the Historic Place Trust. And the video loves it.
This isn’t just a random gig. The camera relishes the theatre’s lush interior, swooping all around. Sometimes it’s just an excuse to show the balconies packed full of Feelers fans, but other times the camera lingers on features of the lush interior decor.
Because I’m a bit of a building nerd – because I spent half an hour googling too figure out where it was shot – the theatre shots are more interesting to me, to the point where the plot fades into insignificance.
Except the ending is still powerful. Venus enters the theatre and smiles at James Feelers. He sees her but he cannot react as the greasy cop is standing off to the side. Venus runs off. Is she running because she realises his lack of reaction means the cop is there? Or does she take his blanking to be a cruel rejection, casting her out onto the mean streets of Hastings? sniff Don’t worry, Venus. Napier’s only 20 minutes away.
Best bit: the lingering glimpse of the fancy ceiling.
Director: Duncan Cole
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… a very easy chair.