Saturday, 28 July 2012

'Ask' - The Smiths (1986)

"Spending warm Summer days indoors,
Writing frightening verse,
To a buck-toothed girl in Luxembourg."

Morrissey wants you to hang out of a car door. Speeding down a motorway. With a video camera. Sounds like a dream job. This was the brief given to an old work colleague of mine called Chris. (No, not that Chris. Or this Chris. There are too many people called Chris in my life.)  

In 1986, The Smiths commissioned a short film from director Derek Jarman to support the release of ‘The Queen Is Dead’. The agreement seems to have been ‘you can do what you like, just don’t expect the band to appear’. Chris was the cameraman on the wildly expressionistic results  – and he appears briefly in the background to the playful video for ‘Ask’ that was recorded the same year.

When I met Chris, nearly a decade had passed and he was a salesman at the video production company where I got my first job. You could tell his heart was elsewhere. And most days his body was elsewhere too, as he continually called in with increasingly inventive excuses as to why he wouldn’t be coming in to the office. Two favourites were…
"I slept in a graveyard."
"I’m chained to a bed and haven’t got the key."

But I think he topped both of these the day he sent us a fax from his local library:
"Can’t make calls today. Lost my voice."

And he never returned.

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