Ponderings About Picture Show

Source Unknown
Smith drops a few thoughts on their videos

Why Can't I Be You?

Boogie on down in daft costumes

"A fan said to me, I wish I could be you. In the song I turned that around. I wanted to be a polar bear but I refused to wear the head. We filmed the dancing in Dublin. We met this Irish dance teacher in a bar the night before who looked like Alastair Sim but more manic: she showed us some steps. The obvious phonetic depiction of the word "can't" (a pair of lips) was nothing to do with me - it's the childish side of Tim Pope's award-winning nature. It seems crass now. We thought it would be seen once, fleetingly, on telly."


Moping about on patios overlooking the sea

"It's about a girl I know who had a particular way of laughing. "I used to sometimes try to catch her/But never even caught her name" was poetic license: I did know her name. I also called it "Catch" because Hansa used to say, You write good songs, but there's never a catch. It cost twice as much as any other video we've made: 120,000 pounds. Lol ruined it. We made this beautiful video and this old bastard in coal miner's jeans wanders down the spiral staircase not even bothering to pretend he's playing the violin."

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Midgets in sunglasses

"This was about three strange sexual experiences: in the basement of a club, on a ferry and at home in my bedroom. Lightning striking was an analogy. I was thinking of a children's book - Earthfast (by William Mayne) about a boy hit by lightning and going back in time - and of that bloke in the Guinness Book Of Records who's been hit numerous times. I told Tim Pope I wanted us to look like a lowdown funky soul band. He translated "lowdown" as "dwarf" and "soul band" as "black-and-white". Polydor said it wouldn't get shown. It didn't."

Just Like Heaven

Dream-like gallivanting on a cliff's edge

"A serious video. This is my favourite song on the "Kiss Me" LP. It takes two incidents from real life: the main one happened where it was filmed, on Beachy Head, 15 years earlier. The song's about hyperventilating - kissing and fainting to the floor. Mary dances with me in the video because she was the girl on Beachy Head, so it had to be her. In the song she goes over the edge and disappears: poetic license. The idea is that one night like that is worth a thousand hours of drudgery."


Nightmares about a spider

"I woke up one morning with the first two lines - "On candystripe legs the spiderman comes/Softly though the shadow of the evening sun". I actually drew in boxes what I wanted the video to look like. We did it in a kind of Christopher Lee way. I refused to have the real spider on me: they had a bloke there with an antidote and I tried but I couldn't. I was kind of a throwaway video - Jim Kerr didn't understand it, my nephews did. Given the choice of audience I'd rather have my nephews."

Fascination Street

The Cure perform their American single

"Awful. The original idea was a Doctor Who video, that's why there's a phone box and a clock, with rooms within rooms, done very tackily. But it was done on a low budget. Normally Elektra and Polydor both give us money, but this was only for America, so only Elektra did. The fantasy got lost. I was thinking of Bourbon Street in New Orleans when I wrote it - I was getting ready to go there and I thought, What the fuck do I think I'm going to find? It's about the incredulity that I could still be fooled into looking for a perfect moment."

Love Song

The Cure sit in different chambers of a cave

"I gave Mary a tape of it for a wedding present. She went away to the other room to listen to it, then smothered me with kisses. It's the most upfront, true, frank and honest thing that I've ever sung. It's about love, but also about the inability to ever really know someone. I was disappointed with the video. The idea was of a fairy cave going on forever, but it looked very cramped and posed. The opening shot is terrible, this lingering shot of a huge phallus that makes no pretensions to be a stalagmite at all."

Pictures of You

In the snow surrounded by palm trees.

"I lost the pictures I always carried around in my wallet. I realised that I'm clutching old pictures of things, even taken before my birth, to give me a sense that things went on then. After spending a lot building the "Lovesong" set we just took three Super-8 cameras to the place I thought it should look like. I wanted a sunny feel, but it mentions snow in the words. Snow looks like sand in black-and-white, so I thought, Let's start as if it's in the sun, then pull away and you'll see a blizzard. The old adage "The camera doesn't lie" isn't true."

Never Enough

Freak show at the end of a pier

"Never Enough" is about never feeling satisfied with anything I do. There's elements of the reactions you get to success too. That's what it's like sometimes, like being stuck at the end of a pier in a freak show. It's an excellent video. It was also a play on how we could end up. I've seen other groups just acting out things on a small stage in front of a bunch of other freaks. I wear a ball and chain, and when I fall towards the water, the thing that's holding me has saved me to put me through more years of hell."

Close To Me (Remix)

Underwater japes in a cupboard

I told Polydor they couldn't put this remix out as a single without a new video. It picks up where the other one left off (they had fallen off a clifftop in a wardrobe). Also, Pap (Tim Pope) had done a really good under-the-sea video with Tom Tom Club, Oceania. I like the video: it's really colourful and throwaway. The feeling of the original song is summed up by "I wish I'd stayed asleep today" - the futility of it all. Sometimes you get to nine in the evening and you can't think of one decent thing you've done all day."

Last Revised: Monday, 15-May-2006 15:00:00 CDT

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