Some Cool Things I Did This Year – Videos

Minimal effort video using a toy camera, iMovie and Logic for the music.

What I Learnt From BUG Today

handfed-house-2Fundamentally, we’re all fucked. We’re fucked and we’d better run. Not, as Nick Cave would have it, to the City of Refuge, because that’s toast, that’s yesterday’s safe point and brother, it ain’t safe no more that’s for goddamn sure. No, if I’m reading the subtext of BUG 11 (The Director’s Cut) right – and I like to think that I’m reading it right – we’ve all got a whole load more running to do to get to the Safe Zone.

The Safe Zone is here at BUG. It’s all over the place. The signs could not be clearer. Everywhere I look, whether it’s ‘Handfed‘ by Above The Sea, or ‘Caskets‘ by Damien Jurado the Safe Zone is in your face. It’s a fucking wood cabin out in the middle of nowhere watched over by a moody time-lapsed sky and home to the most arid colour palette this side of Quantum of Solace. And even here it’s not bloody safe. Instead of the everyday nuclear catastrophes of imploding economics and spending something like five hundred grazillion pounds on bankers, the Safe Zone is full of burning houses, dead people on telephones and really primitive medical operations. Hardly a haven of tranquility.

And even if we’re not being burned, gassed, anaesthetised and buried alive we’re still surrounded by horror and ghastliness. An exploding thermocline of what looks like badly applied wall filler threatens to sandblast crap Scotch tossers Glasvegas. I’d put a link in but a) the video and the song are bloody dreadful and b) it’s on a site run by Carling, who even if I bothered to drink alcohol, I wouldn’t touch with someone else’s ulcerated liver. Glasvegas are everything that’s wrong with major label bands. More bloated and festering than U2 ever were (although I may change my mind when the U2 album finally emerges), Glasvegas are like Guns n’ Roses without BOTH Slash and Axel.

Glasvegas aside, the rest of BUG 11 is class. Rex the Dog‘s ‘Bubblicious‘ is class stopframe animation (which leads to the bizarre ‘Rex The Dog cooks dinner for Goldfrapp‘, which in turn shows that there’s no place for weirdness that can’t be found on YouTube). zZz‘s ‘Running With The Beast‘ is the most perfect homage to the late Tony Hart, the sort of action painting extravaganza that encourages young children to take up art as a career along with vegetarianism. And there are laughs aplenty as vaguely-too-old-to-be-doing-it Metallers Red Fang take on the might of the local Dungeons and Dragons reenactment society and come off covered in Monty Python gore in ‘Prehistoric Dog‘. As the comments on YouTube say, “They remind me of Mastodon but better”. And frankly, that’s pretty damn good. At least better than Mastodon.

Previous BUGs have always included a few interviews with video directors, this one didn’t because we had missed the first showing (BUG 11a) due to lax ticket purchasing behaviour and had to put up with no directors. However, this was actually a good thing as many of them aren’t very interesting and when they are being interesting they require audience participation from Downstairs Charles, which surely can’t continue. Instead we get a view into Adam Buxton’s laptop, which features premature ejaculation, copraphelia and bloody big Monster Trucks shrunk down into teeny weeny modelmaker view and set to music by Myrobotfriend. And while I can live without the first two thank you very much, the Monster Trucks were fucking great.

YouTube commentators once again reveal the real truth, “This is incredible,” they say, “The focus and wide angle make everything look like scale models. This video broke my brain.”


Went off to BUG 07 this evening at the BFI for another evening’s revelatory music video malarky punctuated by Adam Buxton’s ranting and the reading of various expletive laden missives from deranged YouTube viewers for whom the concept of constructive criticism is utterly alien.

As usual the mix was pretty funny, more for the pre/post match analysis than the actual videos themselves. The videos weren’t aided by a frankly shite sound system, which was conveniently blamed on Frank Sinatra for some vaguely logical reason that currently escapes me but made perfect sense at the time and served to explain all the circumstances behind Frank’s death a few years ago.

BUG logo

My picks were Interpol‘s Rest My Chemistry, which is what all MP3 visualisation tools dream of becoming when they grow up, super trippy shit; Flight Of The ConchordsLadies Of The World, which was every movie Will Farrell has ever tried to make distilled to 4 minutes 51 seconds; and Josh Raskin‘s animation of 14-year old Jerry Levitan‘s interview with John Lennon in 1969, I Met The Walrus. The sound quality on this may be really shit, but in this case we can’t blame Frank Sinatra, as it sounds like it was shit in the first place. Doesn’t stop the animation being fantastic though.

However, my personal favourite was the video for Aussie Rules post-rock group Pivot‘s In The Blood. As usual it confirms one of the key Rules of BUG (aside from Rule 1 ‘Don’t mention BUG as the tickets sell out fast enough as it is and we don’t want any more competition for places thank you very much’), namely the best video stories are all reserved for obscure guitar/metal/thrash monkeys and that no matter how hard you try you can’t ignore the fact that there is always room for creative stupidity. This video starts where Spielberg‘s JAWS and Todd HaynesSuperstar: The Karen Carpenter Story leave off, so it’s crazy dolls v plastic sharks with lashings of claret.

Quality moment was during the interview with director Dougal Wilson. Now Dougal may be creative and all his videos have at least one interesting idea in them even if they are someone else’s, and yes Bat For LashesWhat’s A Girl To Do is pretty fucking neat in a ‘I’m ripping off Donnie Darko‘ sort of way, but those Goldfrapp videos are bloody terrible. Either that or the new Goldfrapp album is simply godawful cokebaiting eartrash. Anyway, Dougal is relating his many curious run-ins with people recently and culminates in a story of how in BUG 06 he has a run-in with someone who dared to accuse him of actually making money out of the music video racket. Both Buxton and Dougal are about to vent spleen on the hapless malcontent, when up stands friend of the Palace, Charles, saying, ‘It’s a fair cop guv, it was me’. At this point they can’t simply howl him down as he is embracing the moment and have to invite him onstage to universal acclaim. Fortunately Charles’ moment won’t go away as it was being filmed, probably for future use in one of Dougal’s videos.