Strawpeople “Scared Of Flying”

1999-strawpeople-scared-of-flyingSomething funny is going on here. This video features people in animal masks with subtitles revealing their inner thoughts. That also describes Garageland’s video for “Kiss It All Goodbye”. I don’t know who directed either video, but I wonder which came first and if there was any crossover intended.

The subtitles surely take their inspiration from Jake Scott’s video for REM’s “Everybody Hurts” video, which popularised useing subtitles to show the inner monologue of characters. I like how groundbreaking video techniques slowly trickle down to New Zealand videos, twisting and mutating and taking on their own life.

Anyway, this video shows a black and white world where everyone wears animal masks. As well as scenes of inner city hipsters doing cool things, we also see children in animal masks. In particular there’s a young boy with a toy aeroplane. He hurls his plane off into the air and a his bog-standard fox mask somehow has an expression of joy on it.

We also get glimpses of a distant figure running across a lush green field towards a group of wind turbines, later echoed by a girl twirling a flower with all but three petals removed, resembling a wind turbine. This video was only shot about three years after the first group of windfarms opened in New Zealand. It was exciting and new.

The mask-clad urbanites are bothered by their thoughts, things like, “I’ll show them! They’ll see!” “Was she looking at me funny?” and – lol – “Animals!” So it’s a troublesome, bleak place. But will anyone have the guts to pull off their animal mask and escape? Why yes, the child will.

The lone figure on the field is revealed to be a boy – I assume the model plane boy from earlier. He’s running towards the wind turbines and the video takes on a weird feeling, a cross between a profound statement about man’s place in the world and a Meridian corporate promo video.

Best bit: extravagant animal mask bartender sloshing out a line of cocktails.

Next… super secret agent.

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