A fun family barbecue, a symbolic carnival ride, a chilled out love song, attack of the clones, and a portrait of the artist as a young, etc.
Down at the hall, pink liquid dribbles, a lazy Monday, good girl gone bad, kung fu pose-off, and a lonely lady.
Continue reading June 2008: Gin Wigmore, Goodnight Nurse, Greg Johnson, Hera, Iva Lamkum, Luger Boa, Lydia Cole
’06 Bonnie and Clyde, Greg’s Americana, angry graffiti, and the children (who are the future).
Continue reading June 2006: Goodnight Nurse, Greg Johnson, Hinewehi Mohi & Joel Haines, Ill Semantics, Katchafire
A diabolical casino, teen romance, a shady lady (and man), bad suits, a tropical winter, a punk house and a wander in the countryside.
Continue reading August 2005: Elemeno P, Goldenhorse, Goodnight Nurse, Greg Johnson, Kimbra, My Life Story, OG
A cowgirl workout, Manhattan sightseeing, poets, kitchens, cafes and that cinema in Auckland where the carpet always feels like it’s going to peel off.
Shona’s last video, the Nixons’ first, a cold day, and a hearty dose of Hamilton bogan rock.
The video centres on a clown. We meet him alone at his house, before he sets off into the city. The futuristic looking Britomart station has been used a lot in music videos, so it’s really refreshing to see the clown take a train to Britomart and walk through it as a commuter, not as a cool dude in music video.
The clown entertains some kids in QEII Square, but sadly loses his colourful bunch of balloons. Seriously bummed out, he goes to drown his sorrows at a corner bar where Greg Johnson has also been drinking.
At this point I should also note that none of the geography in the video has been faked. It would be actually possible to replicate the clown’s journey from the train station to the bar.
The sad clown gets a drink and begins to remove his wig and makeup and – hey now – it’s comedic actor Jon Gadsby! It’s a really good piece of casting. Gadsby can properly act and does a decent job of both the clowning and the sadness.
It’s a really nicely shot video too. Every scene is pleasingly framed and the overall video has a dusky palette like the Brannan Instagram filter. In the end, when Greg joins the sad clown for a drink, it seems like the perfect way to spend an afternoon.
Best bit: sad clown popping up in the transparent lift.
Director: Tim Groenendaal
Next… one afternoon in Frankton.
This video looks like it was shot on a smartphone, only it predates the modern smartphone. So I think we can just assume it was a cheapie.
This time Greg is in Los Angeles, the city where he now lives. But the “Kiss Me” video has the curiosity of a newcomer as it excitedly explores the city. There are shots of the secretly cool downtown area, the crazy life on Venice Beach, the mighty Watts Towers, a classic LA motel, and journeys into the desert.
Most of the time when we see Greg, he’s superimposed over the top of all the travel footage. So there he is with a billboard advising motorists “All you need is lube” hovering over his face.
At one point the camera lingers on an airline departure screen showing an Air Tahiti flight to Auckland. There doesn’t seem to be any connection to the rest of the video, but it seems like the sort of thing a homesick New Zealander might do upon seeing the name of their hometown flashing upon a screen.
The video feels like it’s lacking a conclusion. The song is about two lovers about to part, the video show Greg on the other side of the Pacific, but he seems quite happy there. Perhaps the lure of California has overshadowed any potential love interest.
Best bit: Greg, in the dessert, standing in front of a sign saying “Fried Liver Wash”, drinking a beer.
Next… the sum of the parts.
So, here’s a simple concept – Greg Johnson goes for a wander at Piha, while the girl of his dreams lounges about the house. Well, let’s just hope he doesn’t go tracking sand in the house when he comes home.
“I’ve been exploring your mind,” sings Greg. “I found giant rivers, mountain ranges never climbed.” This is accompanied by Greg walking alongside a piddly little beachside creek. But hey, if the giant rivers are imaginary, the ones in his actual environment don’t need to be Amazonian.
Greg’s beach scenes are shot in sepiatone, with a sense of it being deliberately scratchy old film. But back in the house, things are a little brighter.
The footage of the lady in the house is shot like a nostaglic, dreamy Instagram-style filter. She sits around, smiling at the camera. Sometimes she’s rolling around in bed, other times she’s curled up in a corner. Do we assume this is home video shot by the song’s narrator? Or has a rogue hipster film-maker snuck in while Greg is out?
There is a third party to this saga: the guitarist. Sometimes when Greg’s out walking, we also see a guitarist. Most of the time he’s up in the dunes, like a wandering minstrel who’s just happened to enter Greg’s world.
By the end of the video, there’s a lot of split screen, showing Greg, the girl and the guitarist. But the best thing about the video is that it ends with one of those amazing west coast sunsets, with the wet black sand reflecting the golden light. No wonder Greg went for a walk.
Best bit: the person who does a cartwheel on the beach. Yay!
Director: James Holt
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… in the ring.
Greg Johnson takes a further step away from the straight folky video of “Isabelle” and introduces a popular video theme of the ’90s – freaky friends. But being a gentle acoustic folk-pop song, it’s a classier version of the usual leather and latex scenario.
We find Greg lying on his canopy deathbed, surrounded by his nearest and dearest. He’s so poorly that he starts to imagine a curious collection of people. There’s an elegant angel, played by Tandi Wright who was just months away from becoming known as the trouble Caroline on “Shortland Street”.
And model Colin Mathura-Jeffree can be spotted along with a geisha, a strongman, a corseted lady and a blue-painted person. These were the innocent days; the days before he had a flavour of gourmet ice cream named after him. It’s a strange side effect. Almost 20 years later these supporting players in the video suddenly stand out as celebrity cameos.
While the bedside anguish goes on, Greg has a flashback in the form of a home movie. We’re off to the seaside with a small boy and his mum, a free-spirited, dreadlocked lady. I assume that Greg is the person filming the outing, the recipient of loving states from the woman and the boy.
Back on the bed, there is still great sadness. When even a fabulous geisha can’t cure all ills, you know it’s bad news.
Best bit: child Greg’s hipster-style pencilled-on moustache.
Director: James Holt
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… the love revolution revisited.