Found videos from 1999

Resting bitch face, actual cows, a red room, Catholic guilt, a scenic boat trip, forecourt drama, romantic Venice, an outdoor TV and and pre-millennium tension.
Continue reading Found videos from 1999

Zed “Glorafilia”

1999-zed-glorafiliaGlorafilia is a pretty young woman who appears to be in a chaste love triangle with Ben and Nathan from Zed. I’m not sure why drummer Adrian doesn’t get to be involved, other than that he’s just the drummer.

The lyrics mention Glorafilia as “tying ribbons in her hair”, which is depicted with an elastic hairband tying up her white-girl dreads, just a bottle of Pantene away from returning to their natural silky state. And speaking of hair, Nathan Zed has bleached his hair for this video. It’s so new there’s no regrowth, so it looks more like albinism.

Anyway, the trio are off to school where we discover them mucking around in the science lab. This is not like Edward and Bella flirting over flatworms – Ben Zed manages to set his bunsen burner alight.

The three of them escape the cruel world of science and head to the beach. The two boys are in the front with Glorafilia lazing in the back of their convertible. Of all the possible seating combinations, this is the safest. Just imagine if it was Glorafilia in the front and the boys in the back. Hilariously, the drummer is following on a motorbike. He has a girl pillion passenger with him because it would be really awkward otherwise. (“Dude, why is the drummer following us alone on his bike?”)

The gang arrive at the beach, chill out in someone’s parents’ fancy beach house, have a singalong down by the shore, then a spot of beach volleyball, and a final campfire singalong. At it’s at the campfire that Glorafilia reaches out and touches Ben on the shoulder. Dude! Duuude! You’re in!

The thing I really like about Zed’s videos is they never try to be more than what Zed are. This is a popular teen band making music for teens and their videos always show that life.

Best bit: the magical paper dart that shows Zed playing.

Director: Scott Cleator
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Tadpole “Backdoor”

1999-tadpole-backdoorThere were always rumours that this song was about buttsex. Fortunately I found a definitive response, courtesy of a track-by-track commentary [which now, cruelly, is no longer online] by lead singer Renee herself who explained the lyrics of “Backdoor” thusly:

It is about our struggle thus far to make it in the New Zealand music industry, and the initial frustration of trying to get our music played on radio, TV – or anywhere really. The ‘backdoor’ part came about because we felt we were never going to be accepted by the student radio stations, we’d just have to come in through the back door somehow. And yes – for those who want to know, the metaphor of anal sex is intended. I liken our struggle to getting buggered over, and over, and over again. In a very loving and tongue in cheek way.

See, the buttsexee becomes the buttsexor. Ok, now that we have that sorted, let’s look at the video. It’s set in two places. The first is a cool industrial setting, inside some sort of factory or plant. It’s lit up with bright, flashing rock lights and Renee looks very glamorous.

The second setting is outdoors, in a grim industrial setting. It’s a grey rainy day and Renee emerges from the backdoor of a building. She’s dressed all in black and her hair is lank, looking like Carrie from Homeland on a secret mission/bad mental health day.

All around her the other members of Tadpole are dressed in white boilersuits and hardhats, rolling tyres around and tossing packages to each other. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on here. It’s a Joe Lonie video, so it seems like there should be some trick to it all. Are they actually moving backwards? Has it been slowed down? Maybe it’s just one long shot through a bleak industrial area, as a metaphor for struggling in the music industry. So that would mean the glamorous indoor scenes equal buttsex.

It’s curious. There has been a genuine attempt to feature the other band members, but they just don’t stand out as much as Renee does. This also happens with the videos for Fur Patrol and Stellar. As much as these groups are bands, they all come with charismatic lead singers who are a natural fit in front of the camera. Imagine a Shihad video that let Phil, Tom and Karl fade into the background.

Anyway, by this point in their history, Tadpole were enjoying chart success. Their backdoor entry to the music biz had worked. But the question now is, what sort of metaphor would describe the rest of their career?

Best bit: Renee’s Sporty Spice high ponytail.

Director: Joe Lonie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The Stereo Bus “Touchdown”

The “Touchdown” video is based on a continuous pan from left to right. Against a plain white background, various band members pop in and out of frame, along with a dog, a bottle, a chair, and other domestic items. It reminds me of a suburban version of the first 15 seconds of INXS’s “I Need You Tonight” video.

The video has a very minimal feel to it, so it’s the moments of liveliness that really stand out. Lead singer Dave Yetton gets most of the close-ups, having pretty much perfected the art of singing close-up camera-face emotion from his previous videos with the JPS Experience and the Stereo Bus.

The song feels melancholic and that combined with the minimalist video threatens to produce a cure for insomnia. Fortunately guitarist Jason Faafoi – who at the time was also Jason From What Now – has a mesmerising star quality that the other members don’t. Even when he’s doing something as ordinary as sitting at a table, he’s much more interesting than the other band members who happily play their part in the background.

Every time Jase comes on screen I’m like “Yay! It’s Jason!” Even though he’s still being a blank-faced Stereo Bus dude, he’s smizing, bringing some secret joy to the video.

After a six-year period dominated by the digital orgies of Supergroove and the twisted rock worlds of Shihad, the simple effects of “Touchdown” won Best Video at the 2001 New Zealand Music Awards.

Best bit: when Jason’s bottle misses the rubbish bin.

Directors: Michael Lunsdale, Alex Sutherland
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Stellar “Every Girl”

1999-stellar-every-girl>A girl walks into a bar. The girl in this case is played by Boh Runga and the bar is staffed by the other members of Stellar. Immediately, a man walks up to Boh hands her a $20 note. It’s been defaced, with “Can I buy you a drink or” disrespectfully scrawled across the Queen’s face, and “would you rather have the money?” on the karearea side. What should she do, Timaru? The money or the drink?

Boh takes the money and runs to the bar where she purchases something that looks like a Red Bull and vodka. The $20 is given as change to a blonde woman, who has evidently purchased a $30 glass of red wine with a $50 note. She staggers to the dance floor where a sleazy guy tries macking on her. She pulls the $20 out of her top and shoves it at him. This is all starting to resemble the 1993 film “Twenty Bucks”, which follows the travels of a $20 bill in an American city.

Sleazy guy buys a drink, and again the $20 finds a new owner in the form of a woman who lip-syncs the line “I don’t need a man to complicate me”. She brings two cocktails over to her ladyfriend. Liquored up, they rush off to the loos for some adult fun, shoving the magical $20 at another woman who’s loitering in the loos. This woman wets a paper towel and we get a close-up of her wiping her armpits. Yay.

Armpit lady hits the dancefloor and gets down with a boofy-haired guy, who then pickpockets the $20. Are all the men in this bar douchebags? But karma catches up with the thief. The $20 falls out of his pocket and Boh eventually finds it again.

If you’re wondering what Boh has been doing during all this, well, she spends most of the time dancing, with frequent close-ups showing her flat stomach. The rediscovery of the $20 is quite enough for her and she leaves with it, perhaps to continue the chaotic path of the twenty at another bar.

This video hasn’t aged well. A bar full of people dressed in turn-of-the-millennium finery doesn’t look fresh or sexy in 2012. So I have to keep reminding myself that all the hair and all the clothes were once the dopeness.

Best bit: the bathroom payoff, a modern etiquette.

Shihad “Pacifier”

1999-shihad-pacifierIt almost goes without saying that the “Pacifier” video is largely based on “A Clockwork Orange”. Except, judging by the YouTube comments, some whippersnappers haven’t seen the film and angrily accuse Shihad of ripping of Rob Zombie’s “Never Gonna Stop” video.

But with the lineage settled, the next question is why is the “Pacifier” video so strongly based on “A Clockwork Orange”? I’d guess it was chosen to contrast the ‘ultra-violence’ of “A Clockwork Orange” with the peaceful wish of Shihad’s lyrics. Except being a music video, it can’t actually show any violence. It’s just implied with intense stares coming from droog Jon.

Back when this video was first released, I remember discussing it at the late great It bothered me that the video had borrowed so much from “A Clockwork Orange” but had done so little with it.

It made me think of Joseph Kahn’s brilliantly fun video for the Faith No More track “Last Cup of Sorrow”. That video is based on the Hitchcock film “Vertigo”. It starts off being a pretty faithful reproduction of the original, then it gets deliciously weird.

I mentioned this on the forum and was surprised when Tom from Shihad (a forum regular) commented to say he kind of agreed. He’d not been convinced by the premise of the video, but the band being a democracy, he was happy to go along with it.

And more than a decade later, I still have the same issue with the video. The concept of “Pacifier” seems little more than, “Hey, we should do it like A Clockwork Orange!” Even Rob Zombie added his own bits.

When the song concludes with a euphoric “Come on, let’s take a look outside”, it seems a missed opportunity to use some lovely New Zealand outdoorsness, the sort that features in Shihad’s video for “A Day Away”. I want to feel the stress and tension of the lyrics, then have a wave of soothing love and calmness wash over. I don’t want to see giant codpieces.

But there’s one difference between my old thoughts on and now: the name change. A couple of years later, Shihad felt compelled to change their name and settled on Pacifier. That brings a certain melancholic feeling to the scenes at the milk bar with “Shihad Pacifier” emblazoned on the walls, like the rebranding was kicking off before anyone knew it was going to happen.

Best bit: the droogs hooning around a Shell petrol station.

Director: Jolyon Watkins
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next: would you rather have the money?

She’s Insane “Broken”

1999-shes-insane-brokenI’m vexed. She’s Insane seem like the kind of band I would have actually seen live in the ’90s and I probably would have enjoyed them and thought they were cool. But without having had them imprinted on me in the ’90s, they just seem a bit flat.

Again the lyrics sound like dummy lyrics that don’t actually say much. (It might be about cocaine. I’m not sure. This is New Zealand. Cocaine is for property developers.) This song sounds a lot like the Pixies, particularly “Where Is My Mind” with some sub-Santiago guitar. And this time the vocals sound more like Tanya Donnelly of Belly. It’s just a big 4AD homage. It also reminds me a bit of Bush. What a confused family tree.

The video is based around a performance filmed in a gloomily lit space, all black and green. Sometimes we see band members behind water-splattered glass. This does not appear to be an actual window getting rained on. Rather it’s a sheet of glass that is wet because it is in a music video.

The visuals are more successful when the focus is just on the band doing their thing. But there’s not a lot of that. The darkness of the video and tight camera shots mean the band is more suggested than shown.

The thing is, it’s not a bad song and the video does look pretty sophisticated at times. If things had just been tightened up all over, it would actually be really good. I guess this is what frustrates me – She’s Insane just never seem to quite get everything working.

Best bit: the wet glass, in need of a good squeegee.

Next… nothing like a bit of the old ultra-violence.

The Nomad “Where Are You”

1999-the-nomad-where-are-youAfter Salmonella Dub’s earlier excursion to the Gathering, The Nomad’s video also uses footage from the popular turn-of-the-millennium festival. Specifically it’s G2000 which saw in the new millennium, and is also known as the one where it rained and rained and rained.

The video, directed by Chris Graham, uses footage from the Nelson area festival as well as stuff shot around Wellington. The scenes are sliced into thin horizontal or vertical stripes, directing the focal point to particular scenes, whether it’s a sweeping panorama of the festival, a shirtless man standing in the mud or downtown Wellington.

Digital effects allow festivalgoers to appear in front of different backgrounds, even overlapping with Wellington. There’s a sense of real life impinging on the escapism of a vacation… and vice versa.

The scenes of Wellington contrast with the Gathering. Wellington is dry. People look more purposeful and less out of it. The breakdancing happens at a specific time at a specific place, where as at the Gathering, hey, anything goes. In Wellington, the graffiti is traditional and conservative; at the Gathering people make art by smearing mud over their bodies.

But as the main refrain of the song goes, “All you have to do is be you.” Whether sloshing around in the mud at festival or hanging out in Cuba Mall is your thing, all you have do to is do it, man.

Best bit: watching people getting muddy from the comfort and privacy of my own home.

Director: Chris Graham
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the windows need cleaning.

Mary “Kissing Booth”

1999-mary-kissing-boothWhat’s inside Mary’s kissing booth? Let’s take a look. The video is set at night at a fun fair, with all the romance and intrigue that brings.

The fairground is populated with a number of interesting people. There’s a guy in a cowboy hat, a bearded dude, a fortune teller, an older woman, a candyfloss girl – some of whom are played by members of Mary.

All these people are drawn to the kissing booth. From the outside it looks like a simple tent, but it turns out to have a Tardis-like interior. Inside it’s not just the band playing the song, but a selection of fairground attendees who’ve been drawn to the pash shack.

These people also give spoken testimonies of the kissing booth experience. The older woman gushes, “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. It was beautiful – just beautiful.” What? It’s just a tent with some smoochy people in it. The older woman is so taken by her kissing booth experience that she goes on a fairground ride and throws up. I hope the booth has some Listerine.

“Kissing Booth” is another fun guitar pop tune from Mary and the video is a perfect match to the song. By the way, if you think this video makes kissing booths looks appealing, here’s a cautionary tale. A couple of years ago some friends of mine had a kissing booth at a party. Everyone who took part in the kissing came down with a bad cold. Be careful out there, ok?

Best bit: one of Mary flirting with herself dressed as a guy.

Director: Matt Palmer
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… mud, mud, glorious mud.

Fur Patrol “Now”

1999-fur-patrol-nowThe video opens with the startling image of Julia Deans with glowing orange eyes, holding up a comedy voodoo doll. Just what is going on here?

Before any answers are given, the video flips into a parallel universe. Fur Patrol are performing in front of a large audience at Wellington Town Hall (or possibly Auckland Town Hall). It looks like it might be part of a festival rather than a headliner gig, but they’re still playing to a huge crowd who are loving it. [Commenters Lisa and Sam have figured it out. It was a Victoria University orientation gig at Wellington Town Hall in March 2000, where Shihad and HLAH-side project Baconfoot also played.]

The video is directed by Chris Graham, whose work we’ve previous seen with Upper Hutt Posse’s “Dread on a Mission” video and Te Kupu’s “Vision” vid. With “Now” he both captures Fur Patrol’s live energy and gets a bit arty with the strange world.

Yes, back to the strange world. There’s Julia lookin’ fierce, wearing a tracksuit and standing in a not-quite-natural world that seems inspired by Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” video. But wait – it’s not just one Julia, it’s two, a green-screen clone to add vocal harmony. There’s also a grumpy-faced small girl with two dolls, a snake, and the other Fur Patrol members hanging out with dogs.

The band also gets to have fun with great balls of CGI, including one that looks like a Swiss ball with a CGI baby surrounded by an orange plasma glow, and two smaller balls with Julia’s eye and lips. It’s a bewildering world of crazy. Parts of the CGI feel like someone mucking around with all the cool new toys in the edit suite, but other stuff – like the two Julias – just feels normal.

This all makes the live footage seem a little dull in comparison, but there’s one moment from the town hall that stands out. Julia does a sideways kick, revealing that she’s wearing a skirt over trousers – long flared trousers with a tunic-like top hanging down. It’s like hitting the late ’90s/Wellington style bingo.

Best bit: the clever cut from Julia reaching towards the camera to a concergoer doing the same.

Director: Chris Graham
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… pucker up.