Monday, February 1, 2016

Video: PJ Harvey - The Wheel

Last week, there was a documentary on Radio 1 asking whether the protest song had died. Well, here's a resounding "NO!" in 72-point neon pink Gill Sans.

The video for PJ Harvey's The Wheel was shot in Kosovo, and the lyrics reference the 28,000 children who went missing during the conflict there.

Director Seamus Murphy explains:

"The song The Wheel has the journey to Kosovo at its centre. Who is to say what else has influenced and informed its creation? The sight of a revolving fairground wheel in Fushe Kosove/Kosovo Polje near the capital Pristina is the concrete reference point for the title. Was that sight alone the inspiration for the song? Without being told the stories of people who had suffered during the war, without visiting villages abandoned through ethnic cleansing and cycles of vengeance, without experiencing the different perceptions of people with shared histories, could the song have been written?

I made a return trip to Kosovo in December 2015, armed this time with the knowledge of how the project had developed. ... The enormous refugee crisis in Europe had been news for months. I spent some time on the Greek and Macedonian borders, and in Serbia, before traveling into Kosovo. It was happening in and through territories associated with recent conflicts in Kosovo and the wider Balkans. The idea of cycles, wheels and repetition once again being all too apparent and necessary to make."

It's a powerful and poignant watch - yet it never prioritises polemic over the music.

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