I hope you've all watched the new Comet Gain video, for "Love Without Lies"? It's a great music video, shot by Pavla of TAF, and a veritable who's who of UK indiepop 2008. I recognise a few dozens of people, if not more. It was shot in August in Glasgow and London, with lots of footage from The Buffalo Bar of course. But part of me is happy that I don't pop up somewhere in there, as Brogues first thought. The part of me that still resists the idea of the cool. Indiepop has always been one of few subcultures not struggling under the weight of trying to be cool. Unlike for example punk, post-punk, metal or any other group of people who survive their teens by hardening themselves to the world - or 'growing up', in their own way. Of course we have also grown up, and there are kids out there whose parents were part of the 80s pop scene as much as the punk generation has settled down and started familys. We too, have hardened ourselves, but we have done so through inverting the reaction, ironically. By opening ourselves - to love, friendship and hope. Since when has listening to Comet Gain been cool, I have to ask? Not during the years I've listened to them - that's for sure. And least of all now, after the half-arsed gig at Indietracks and a farewell to their faithful fanbase with a record that compiles a heap of tracks from 7"s and 12"s that those fans are likely to have lining their walls. And about three unreleased tracks, let's not forget.
The 'hipster condition' is also a problem with TAF, and I seem to recall kind of the same thing happening during the height of the Swedish indiepop craze 2002-2004. Here at least, it ended with the mock superiority of the so called 'indie talibans'. My feeling was that it wasn't exactly a welcoming community, and you were not accepted into it if you didn't have the right clothes or listened to the right bands. The same thing seems to be happening in London now. Thankfully, the Swedish hipsters soon moved on to electro pop, and other newfangled trends. These things are never really about the music.
The video unarguably portrays the indie kids as cool - and 'kids' are what you see. Where are the older indiepop fans, the overweight, and the plain hideously ugly people? Stephen Pastel seems to be the only one above 35 in the video, cause he's still hip apparently. Or maybe just a child at heart. He smiles nervously into the camera from behind the turntables, as if this is exactly the sort of racket he hopes the footage will not turn up in. And maybe it seems silly to mention the way that drinking and smoking are presented as natural accessories to vinyl fetishism and unruly hair, but still. If I was fifteen this would be the sort of people I'd look up to (and imitate, cause I wouldn't dare to be myself). Our lives are as decadent as anyone else's, but perhaps we should try to change this rather than cementing bad habits. Nothing's been edited out, and I don't think it should be, but maybe this simply isn't the right forum for cinéma vérité.
Looking at this video is like entering a world so completely different from visiting Indietracks this summer it's not even funny. Apart from the fact that probably no one could've looked cool in that terrible heatwave, what would strike you about that crowd is the wide spectrum of people. It wouldn't have surprised me if the local employees in the buffet had started talking about Primal Scream in '85 with me. That's why it was so funny to hear Harvey sing the following in the church:
Take a trip to Anorak City
All the girls are young and so pretty
And the boys all walking around
They're all really groovy in Anorak Town
Take a trip to Swanwick Junction,
In the buffet they're serving up luncheon
So don't let your credibility slip
Let's all take a trip to Anorak City
Blasphemy, if ever I saw it! The only thing you need to do now is replace 'anorak' and 'Swanwick junction' with London and the Highbury & Islington tube stop. I bet the hipsters would be abhorred to be called 'groovy'. *Shudder*
Having said all that, cinematographically and photographically it's a brilliant video - and a fantastic new single of course! And you should also check out Pavla's video for Slow Club's ep track "Come On Youth", which apart from some gritty Super 8 shots, also features an interesting narrativity.