Lazrus “Infinite Boxes”

2004-lazrus-infinite-boxes“Infinite Boxes” was the second of Lazrus’ two funded music videos. This time the song is about the pain of a relationship break-up. The video sees Lazrus play a postie – and according to Amplifier, this was also his real-life day job.

The video opens with Lazrus’ mate telling him he’s posted him something to help with the break-up. Lazrus is at work, sorting mail, being hassled by his boss. And we get a minute and a half of Lazrus mooching around the sorting room, which is pretty boring to watch.

Thankfully get out on his bike to deliver the mail and with it comes a star-studded tour of Grey Lynn. Along his route he meets Charlotte Dawson (RIP), Tame Iti, Stacey Jones and Marc Ellis (being a no-frills Hugh Hefner in his driveway). There are also other people that I don’t recognise, though Amplifier notes that one of them is Alex Behan who was host of the ill-fated New Zealand version of Top of the Pops.

Eventually Lazrus makes it home and finds the package from his mate waiting in his own letterbox. It’s a box of tissues, no doubt one of the “infinite boxes” he mentions in the chorus.

It’s quite a cool, catchy song, so I can’t help feel that the video is has really missed its mark with the long, boring sequence in the mail sorting office. It’s almost two minutes before the divine Miss Dawson appears and things get interesting. If you have Charlotte Dawson and Marc Ellis and Alex Behan in your music video, don’t hold back!

Best bit: the revelation that Lazrus even wears his woolly cap to bed.

Director: Stephen Baker
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… kiss kiss bang bang.

Lazrus “Scribble”

2004-lazrus-scribbleLazrus was an Auckland MC who had the sweet song “Scribble”. Like a lot of rap songs, it’s a song about writing a rap song, but the production nudges it into being a cool summer jam.

The video casts Lazrus as a lonely cleaner, mopping up at Alleluya Cafe. But a sticky floor is the least of his worries. Over in the toilet, a succession of visitors (all played by Lazrus) graffiti the toilet wall. They each express themselves through the medium of marker pen, spray paint or lipstick, with little concern for the watching security camera.

The graffiti is all pretty rubbish and doesn’t even come close to the quality scribblings I’ve seen in the ladies loos at the King’s Arms or Mighty Mighty. The toilet antics aside, the strongest scenes are Lazrus along at Alleluya with the Auckland night time skyline in the picture window behind him.

The website Thread has an interview with Lazrus from 2004, where he talks about the video. He reveals that the video had to be changed at the last minute after their original location fell through, adding ” I never intended on dressing up in drag or anything.” Maybe there’s an unrealised video that would have been better than this one, but the “Scribble” video doesn’t feel like a last-minute job.

In the interview Lazrus also says, “no disrespect to NZ On Air, but the $5000 you get is never enough to pay for everything, so favours have to be pulled left, right and centre.” But the $5000 was never ever intended to pay for everything. In 1991 NZ On Air budgeted an average music video production as costing $10,000, halved that for the funding, with the expectation that the artist (or their record company) would match that. If $5000 isn’t enough, then, yeah, you call in favours or chip in some cash yourself. Or wait another decade until music video production becomes really cheap.

Best bit: the Sky Tower, looking gloriously framed by St Kevin’s arcade.

Director: Stephen Baker
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the old sawing-the-lady-in-half trick.