Long Live the New Flesh

Freaks/Imagination from David Cairns on Vimeo.

I made this! But I don’t know why. I guess the lyric “She lit a cigarette both hands behind her back” (passable gibberish) made me think of Prince Randian’s trick (prince of where?) of lighting a ciggie without using any of the appendages he hasn’t got, in Todd Brownings’ notorious FREAKS. The rest just followed, with all the other connections a result of luck & looking.

The song is by Belouis Some (?) and it’s eighties-tastic. I saw the original video for this, a soft-porn bit of nonsense, at the cinema, but I forget what the feature was. I recall David Bowie’s Jazzin’ for Blue Jean short was on with COMPANY OF WOLVES, though. Music videos at the cinema — discuss.

I have to say, these are some of the worst lyrics I know — “So seldom witnessed, never seen.” It says something bad about humanity that the lyrical innovations of the sixties, in which narrative and rationality were jettisoned in favour of evocative imagery and surreal, poetic connections, so quickly translated into “whatever rhymes and scans.” The production is really nice, though.

Anyhow, this little piece, which I knocked off on Thursday, is probably equally meaningless/opportunistic, except I quite like the way reassembling the footage forces you to create new relationships and narratives, and the meaning-seeking part of the brain compels you to consider that perhaps birth defects are an expression of the imagination. Which doesn’t make any sense at all.


12 Responses to “Long Live the New Flesh”

  1. I guess that people these days can’t enjoy anything without contrived and childish pop music, whose origins come from musicians who failed to make it in jazz bands. Instead, they focused on an audience of twelve and fourteen year olds. This Freaks clip makes no sense and, as you say, is sheer meaningless opportunism. But who is the audience?

  2. There were a LOT of bad lyrics being written back in the Eighties. But overall I think this works quite well.

  3. Oh, I’ve never given a thought to who my audience is. For anything.

    I realize I should be making proper video essays like the other grown-ups, this was just an attempt to get back into the groove. Plus the idea occurred to me and I wanted to see how easy it would be to do. The sync isn’t as good as it might be in places (the switchblade) but it wouldn’t make sense to be perfectionist about something so inane.

  4. Chuck V. Says:

    Nice editing. Must confess I don’t rate the song much but it probably helps if you grew up with it. As someone who was once enthused by The Fixx I generally don’t let the lyrics bother me too much though.

    Never have seen a music video in the theater but I definitely approve of Jazzin’ for Blue Jean being showcased so. Great, great little film. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen that one since the 80’s so who knows what I’d think now.

  5. Julien Temple’s finest hour? I’m not sure. I remember the colours were nice, in a very 80s way.

  6. Chuck V. Says:

    Well, I was a huge Bowie fan, but even so I’d never call it Temple’s finest hour. I should probably dig it up somewhere and re-watch it.

  7. Christopher Says:

    I like it….Hadn’t seen Freaks in quite awhile (not since the DVD came out)till last month..forgot what a fine fil’um it is…Love that hand that tears open the title at the beginning and starts the film rolling.

  8. Although the movie is highly regarded as a cult item, I’m always amazed at how elegant the tracking shots are, and the compositions. The editing doesn’t match them for finesse, but all in all it’s an extraordinary piece of work. And the variety of performance styles is dazzling!

  9. John Smith’s comment reminded me that I once sent a broke, dying once-great jazz musician a donation for a fund to cover his medical expenses a little over ten years ago. I’m not one for the sort of snobbishness evinced in John’s comment. Music is music, some of it’s pretty terrible, some isn’t.

  10. Anyone remember this?


  11. Interesting… not really Eisensteinian at all, but weirdly interesting. More like Burroughs.

    A friend of mine once tried to create a piece out of entirely random moments captured while channel surfing. To his initial frustration, a narrative immediately started emerging in spite of all his efforts. In the end, he just allowed it.

  12. good point; it is more like a cut up.

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