I have to say, this “forcing myself to sit down and watch the videos” project is going really well. First of all, I really AM sitting down and watching each video I write about, which right there, is a miracle. I’m sure some of you are wondering why – and I’ll get to that in a minute. Secondly, I have very clearly forgotten how many of their videos are absolute GEMS, particularly if you’re in the mood to laugh.
This week, I gave myself the task of watching “Friends of Mine”. Interestingly enough, up until just a few years back, I didn’t even know the video existed. I can remember watching it for the first time, deciding that Simon had gotten much much better at lip syncing since those early days. After that, I don’t think I ever really watched it again, until today.
This is sadly common for me these days. I just don’t watch videos very often. Like many of you I’m sure, I have drawers filled with DVD’s of the band – even things that have been recorded from interviews and TV shows. I rarely watch them. Music videos are the same. As much as I miss having MTV – and I mean the “real” Music Television – I have to wonder how often I’d really sit down to watch it anyway. That’s part of the reason I decided to do these “video vanguard” posts, in an effort to entice myself to watch videos I haven’t seen, or really paid attention to, in years.
I think it is in that vein where I miss my childhood and teen years most. I can’t remember ever feeling guilty about sitting down to watch videos, even if I had homework to do or chores to finish. I sat down anyway. These days, I rarely turn the TV on during the day, opting instead to listen to a book on Audible if I’m cleaning or doing chores. I almost never sit down on the couch during the day. It’s either I’m sitting in my office chair typing a blog, or I’m up and about the house. That’s why I decided I’d focus on videos for a change. It gives me a reason to enjoy something I once loved doing, which is silly, but it works!
As I sat down to find the video for “Friends of Mine” on YouTube, I had already made up my mind that the slant of this blog would be asking the simple question, “Why didn’t the band push this video?” (Turns out that this video was shot for a British TV show and was never an “official video”) Granted, “Friends of Mine” wasn’t a single, but I couldn’t think of any reason why they wouldn’t have wanted more people to see the video. I mean, it wasn’t even included on the video album or even on Greatest as an easter egg. Then, I played the video. Funny how much I’ve forgotten…
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the most professional video ever done. Fine, fine. I’m still amused, however. If I could just post out the quality of Nick’s manicure along with that signet ring of his. If only my nails could be so well done. Alas, I have an apple orchard to plant, and fence posts to install. Next time through life, I’ll just be a rock star. Seems easier on the hands.
Then, is the table scene, where the band, and really I should clarify that it is Nick and John, seem to be playing cards. Except, they’re really not. There is one scene where John decides to discard his entire hand, and if that’s not weird enough, they’ve decided not to even bother including Andy or Roger. Maybe they didn’t know how to play the game. The oddest part of this whole video is that as the music begins, Simon is sitting at the table, but faced away as though he was looking out of a window, then he turns around and gets up, leaning over the table, and lip syncs the song while the rest of the band, must be taunting him. Now, I can’t prove that, but I can point out that while the band is out of the camera frame, Simon continues to glance in what I believe is John’s general direction, and then he seems to forget the words….as one does when they look at John Taylor, am I right?
Interwoven into this compelling table scene are shots of the band performing the song. I’m sad to say that Simon’s lip syncing really isn’t any better in the performance scenes, but his dancing and theatrical looks at the camera more than make up for it. Also worth noting, I’ve never seen Nick move more than he does in this video. It’s genuine dancing going on back behind those keyboards, and my guess is that once Nick saw the end result, he vowed to never dance again. (well, at least until they got to “New Moon on Monday”…another video for another day.)
So many questions left unanswered:
- Why cards?
- Why wasn’t Andy and Roger playing?
- What was distracting Simon so much?
- What about those military uniforms, anyway?
- What on earth was so damn funny?
- Most importantly, what were they drinking?!
I have to say, the whole video is wildly entertaining, especially now with thirty or forty years hindsight! It is obvious that “Friends of Mine” was filmed early on in their tenure as video vanguards, because they don’t seem as though they’re taking the whole thing very seriously. In fact, the best scene of the video is the one in which all of them lose their composure and laugh hysterically. About what, no one knows. (My bet is that they didn’t think some crazy mom from California would be watching their videos four decades later and commenting on it, either!)
I love how inventive and innovative the band and their video directors became over the years, but there is something special about these very first few. They were the beginning, before the band became the “Biggest Band in the World”, before they were overly aware of themselves and their fame. They weren’t done on a huge budget, in exotic places, or with even much of a storyboard. The videos relied on the band themselves, whether they were performing or just being themselves at a table playing cards while the singer lip synced. As one does…I guess. In many ways, these first few videos remain as a window into the people the band were before the rest of the world knew them. A rare view, to say the least.
Next time, we’ll take a look at the official (non-anime) video for Careless Memories.