Thursday, May 11, 2006

Video of the week: Lullaby

What's this? It's a dead one of theseGrowing up in Belfast in the 1980s you were allowed two musical choices: goth or metal. Not realising this, I plumped for shameful secret option three: pop - instantly marking me as an outcast, and forcing me to pour scorn on all other forms of music as a sort of social survival mechanism.

Secretly, though, I liked some of the bands my classmates / sworn enemies were into. Guns'n'Roses weren't that bad, and I had a secret tape of Siouxsie and the Banshees for the days when Kylie didn't really suit my mood (which was more often than not between the ages of 13 and 16).

But one band you could never confess to liking was The Cure. If you did, you'd instantly be descended upon by three rather alarming ginger goths who would stamp on your head with their Doc Martins until you confessed that you didn't love Robert Smith like them and could never, never, be his wife.

It was a shame really, because The Cure were superb. Their videos were one of the main reasons to watch the ITV Chart Show - a sort of pre-MTV video channel that only lasted for an hour on Saturday mornings and was inexplicably set on an animated roller coaster.

Lullaby was always my favourite Cure video. The Times called it an exquisitely
frightening homage to the film Poltergeist
. I preferred to think of it as an exquisitely frightening homage to the song itself.

The basic premise is that Robert Smith is trapped in a living nightmare, where he realises he's about to be eaten by the spiderman. Not the one who slings webs, you understand, but a rather more sinister spider man with "candystripe legs" - an image which for some reason brings to my mind the Cat in the Hat. But it's probably not him either.

In the video, Smith is gradually encased in a cocoon of spiderwebs before being dragged into what looks like a giant furry vulva and eaten. It wasn't exactly tailored for early morning TV, but it does make a fantastic job of evoking the surreal gloominess of The Cure's music. It was so good, in fact, that it won Best Video at the 1990 Brit Awards.

As was the case for most Cure singles, this video was the work of prolific British director Tim Pope. He's still in the business today making promo clips for KT Tunstall and The Darkness - both of whom I'd like to see being eaten by spiders for real. Ironic, no?

  • Buy The Cure's Greatest Hits CD/DVD at Amazon

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