Rubicon “Funny Boy”

2001-rubicon-funny-boyRubicon return with more punk-pop high jinks and this time they’re engaged in a fierce tennis tournament at the tennis centre in Parnell.

Playing triples (a form of doubles tennis, the interwebs tell me), their first opponent is the Nerds. Remember how nerds used to be scrawny guys with straight-parted hair, neat shirts and glasses? And then remember how guys who dressed like that became hipsters, while nerds were chubby guys with bad skin, World of Warcraft accounts and Game of Thrones t-shirts? Yeah.

Rubicon then face their next opponents, the Babes, a trio of attractive young women. It’s classic male gaze, with plenty of slow pans up the team’s legs. Bassist Gene is so flustered by all this carry-one (women! with legs!) that he dumps a bucket of water over his head.

In between matches, we also see Rubicon rocking out in the stands, both during the day and at night, making good use of the different areas in the stands.

The final opponents are Rubicon’s foes The Bad Guys, last seen in the video for “The Captain”. This time they’re wearing red-haired monster wigs. The Rubicon lads set the tennis ball machine on the Bad Guys and they’re soon out of the competition. Somehow Rubicon have also beaten the Nerds and the Babes, meaning they’ve won a giant comedy cheque for $20,000, which they accept making Doctor Evil finger poses.

Best bit: rather than wrangling friends as extras to fill out the stands, Rubicon use cardboard cut-outs.

Director: Scott Cleator
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the old razzle dazzle.

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

Zed “I’m Cold”

Here’s the thing – this video is hosted on the YouTube account for Universal Music New Zealand. The description says it’s the “official video”. But it’s not the official video. I think this is just a live performance from Ice TV.

The proper video itself isn’t currently online, though Nga Taonga enticingly describe it as: “Zed begin playing “I’m Cold” at indoor gig before fleeing from itrate barman/ club owner. They resume on city rooftop.” (Director: Scott Cleator, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)

But it’s Zed. Zed are strangely growing on me so I feel compelled to properly review this video rather than just throw it in the remainder bin with the other missing videos.

The video starts with some shadow hands announcing that Zed are about to perform on Ice TV. We then meet the band sat in a bare studio, still a three piece, geared up with acoustic instruments. They all look so young and so innocent (polar fleece vest!), and yet there’s Nathan King belting out feelings of emotional numbness. Though he does a little self-conscious eyeroll when he sings “The night is cold and someone’s taken my bed.”

And just when the song threatens to get too moody and too mature, bassist Ben breaks out the rap. It’s a semi-nonsensical ditty (for which I will blame the Red Hot Chili Peppers) and manages to be a delightfully weird counterpoint to Nathan’s big chorus.

So there they were. Three young dudes with a number one album and some decent songs. The only way was up.

Best bit: Nathan’s polar fleece vest – keeps out the cold.

Next… a farewell to the Faction.

Zed “Oh! Daisy”

Oh, hello young Zed. When this song was first released I didn’t like it because it rhymed “cow, yeah” and “go figure”. That’s still an awkward rhyme, but it’s not a terrible song.

Zed look so young in this video, and I think they were still in their final year of high school when this was released. But it’s a good pop tune that makes me wonder if the whole band were just massive music nerds.

The video stars a young man who sits down in a park with “Daisy” magazine (and you can see the ripples where a mock cover has been glued to another mag) and a glitter-encrusted Viewmaster. The magazine contains Viewmaster disks that let him “enter Daisy’s world”. But he soon discovers it’s not just 3D images – he’s actually there.

Daisy’s a manic pixie dream girl, complete with long braids, black lipstick and a giant flower in her hair. She actually looks about 10 years older than the youthful protagonist, which is a little weird. In the Viewmaster virtual reality, the guy hangs out with Daisy and her friends, plays cricket (aw, Christchurch!) and gets a flyer to Daisy’s house party.

While this is all going on Zed are off playing the song. They’re dressed all in sportswear that’s about the same shade of blue. They look young, a little nerdy but with a strange kind of potential. Also, Nathan King had amazing cheekbones.

At the virtual reality party, the young guy is disappointed to see Daisy blowing bubbles at another boy. He’s been making a daisy chain for her, but accidentally treads on it, but just when about to make a move, he runs out of Viewmaster slides. Panic!

But it’s ok – Daisy has become real and joins him in the park. They laugh. They smile. They joke. Yay! But what if another guy buys Daisy magazine? Is she beholden to anyone who puts her disk in their slot?

Best bit: the look of sheer agony when the guy realises he’s crushed the daisy chain.

Director: Scott Cleator
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a bunch of Irish travellers.

Trillion & Claire Falloon “Deep Sleep Song”

1998-trillion-deep-sleep-songJody Lloyd, brother of the previously funded Dermania Lloyd (with Mink), is otherwise known as Trillion, maker of electronica. He’s also has an extensive video archive of all his works, with Trillion, Dark Tower and other things. This makes me very very happy indeed!

Directed by Scott Cleator, “Deep Sleep” takes place in what appears to be an art gallery exhibiting a most curious collection. Live humans and taxidermied animals are on display while intrigued artophiles browse the offerings, while Mr Trillion strolls around his creations.

Singer Claire Falloon is filmed with harsh blue and green lighting, presenting her as simultaneously grotesque and pretty. It’s refreshing to see, given that most videos don’t hestitate to totally glam up the chick singers.

The song is dark and moody and the video gets that without ever going too far. It’s a perfect example of the uncanny – taking a familiar experience and twisting ever so slightly for it to take on an undescribably uncomfortable feeling.

Best bit: the gallery guests holding glasses of wine, an authentic detail.

Director: Scott Cleator
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… bowl-o-rama drama.