I only started making videos for my songs after my old friend, the artist, writer and editor Kellie Strom, made one for me.
Kellie hit on the bright idea of using copyright-free footage from archive.org to accompany my song, When There Was a World Outside. It's an odd little song and Kellie really captured its mondo melancholy, I think. As well as enhancing my tracks no end with his assemblages of clips from various sources, Kellie also sent me down the road of making batshit little no-budget shorts of my own.
The first video I made myself was for Normal Service Will Be Resumed. Using vintage footage and mocked-up newspaper headlines, the clip attempts to tell the story of a scandal that bears a distinct resemblance to the News International phone hacking imbroglio, which I was writing about in work a lot at the time. They say one should always overreach themselves creatively, and I certainly did that here.
I kicked things up a notch with Video Shop, wherein I ventured beyond archive footage into creating footage of my own. With a bunch of finger-puppets purchased off Amazon, plasticine, cardboard, sticky-tape and pound-shop LED flashlights, I told a terrifying tale inspired by The Ring and a video shop I worked in aeons ago. And by “inspired by”, I mean I ripped off The Ring. In a twist that absolutely no-one could’ve expected, Video Shop won an award at the London International Film Festival in 2014.
Buoyed by my unexpected elevation to “Award-winning Director Status,” I threw myself into my next project. That sucked, so I did Spacehound 4000AD instead. As a slightly surfy, sci-fi instrumental, I thought Spacehound could be the theme to an old kids’ TV show. So, for the video, I created a credit sequence for that imaginary show. UPDATE: Thanks to what I imagine was an over-zealous spam filter, I only learned a week ago (in 2022) that Spacehound made the Official Selection for the TMC London Film Festival in 2016.
Kellie made a bunch of videos of John Dog songs, which you can see here on his YouTube page. I love them all, but I have a particular fondness for this one. The Moon on a Stick could be the song I’m most proud of, so it was a real delight for me when Kellie paired it so effectively with beautiful Super 8 footage of my home town shot by our mutual friend, Caroline Jacobs. Trivia fact: this song contains a secret, wholly non-ironic tribute to Val Doonican, who I loved as a child.