Chris Knox “My Only Friend”

2000-chris-knox-my-only-friendThis is a love song. Chris Knox might be best known for his iconic love song “Not Given Lightly”, but “My Only Friend” takes things to a whole nother level, with his heartfelt declaration of love for his then partner Barbara Ward.

The video has the usual DIY feeling of Chris’ previous solo and Tall Dwarfs video, but there’s a real sense of vulnerability here in both the song and the visuals.

The video consists of film projected onto different parts of Barbara’s body. It starts with a simple animation of two hands passing a love heart, projected on Barbara’s belly. In another animation, a hand caresses her skin. It’s pretty cute.

But things get more personal. Chris’ face is projected on the side of Barbara’s head. As the song progresses, we also see Chris’ face projected onto Barbara’s face, with almost perfect alignment, making two become one. The song is about having an all-consuming love for another person and the video depicts this with raw honestly. It works in both general terms and also as a very personal, very specific statement.

It’s sad to watch this now and to know that Barbara and Chris are no longer a couple, but I look to the title of the song – “my only friend”. I get the feeling that while they may no longer be sweet lovers in the night, that friendship remains.

Best bit: the animated hand stroking the real belly button.

Director: Chris Knox
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… drop me out!

Chris Knox “Half Man Half Mole”

1995-chris-knox-half-man-half-moleThe video is – as its end credits note – made by Barbara Ward and her boyfriend Chris Knox. So as it’s a Chris Knox joint, there must be animation involved. This time the medium is claymation and we follow a little orange fellow, like a rougher, pointy-nosed Morph.

This indie Morph is a troubled character, tormented by not fitting in, getting hassles from other plasticine characters, and with thoughts of death running through his squishy head.

With making an animation, it can be tempting to cut down on the laborious process by repeating footage. There is a big repeated scene in this, but it cleverly follows a reprise in the music and adds something new the second time around.

“Half Man Half Mole” is clever, cute and a little edgy. He made good videos, that Mr Knox did.

Best bit: the spooky Halloween wall.

Director: Chris Knox, Barbara Ward
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Chris Knox “One Fell Swoop”

1994-chris-knox-one-fell-swoopThe first time I heard “One Fell Swoop”, it sounded like a sequel to or a reworking of “Not Given Lightly”, both musically and lyrically. It manages to both be an intense declaration of love, but it also sounds like an apology for perhaps earlier forgetting to express such feelings.

The semi-animated video is a classic Chris Knox work and is as homemade as his music. During the verses a left hand (bare but for a ring on the middle finger) opens and closes with the beat, unfurling to reveal a piece of paper with the last word of each line.

But it’s not all a hand job – at almost the halfway mark, Chris’ head and shoulders turn up for the power chorus. Set against a green screen of rapidly changing images (lots of abstract art pics, as well as album covers from The Stooges’s first album and The Clean’s recently released “Modern Rock”). I like to think that Chris rounded up his favourite LPs, making the song as much about love for music as love for another person. Priorities, yeah.

Best bit: the lyrical hand actions – so much easier than Daft Hands.

Directors: Barbara Ward, Chris Knox
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Dave gets naked.