This is a guest post from renowned director Tim Pope.
OK, I admit it: I am the one that chucked The Cure over a cliff in a wardrobe.
The main part of the video was committed to celluloid in a large, wet floored hanger in London—in fact one of the largest spaces I can remember ever filming in. Weird, given the fact that we were literally doing the claustrophobia of the cupboard’s interior.
The exterior bit was filmed at Beachy Head, a beauty spot in the UK’s west Sussex, where the snowy white rocks fall away to the ocean, 162 metres below. A frocked priest even drives this stretch of coastline in a Landrover vehicle to talk people out of committing suicide here, for which it has become synonymous, and there are on average sadly over three attempts a week.
Little did I know that I was shooting something I would be talking about thirty years later. To me, this was just another in a string of videos I made for the group. All in all, I probably did 37 Cure videos. I say “probably” because I honestly don’t know—let’s just leave that to the experts. Ask the average Goth in the street “how many videos did Tim Pope shoot for The Cure?’ and he or she will tell you, with precise dates, the meaning of the video and most of all about what haircut Robert sported that day. See, these videos seem to ‘run deep’ with people, indeed. I often, still to this day, get people contacting me to ask if their university thesis might be about our videos. I of course made, and do make, videos for many other artists, of which I am exceedingly proud: Neil Young, Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The The, Talk Talk, Paul Weller. More recently, Fatboy Slim, Amanda Palmer, The Kaiser Chiefs, others. But still it is generally The Cure ones that people want to come back to, especially as the fans seem particularly fervent and loyal.
Often on a cab ride, when it comes in the conversation to the part about what your job is, I will portray myself as a plumber, or private detective, or fireman. Anything, but to talk about ‘that’ video. However hard I try, though, it always seems to come back to: “Oh, you did the wardrobe video! I love that video! It’s my favorite from the eighties!” I guess it’s going to be etched on my gravestone: “Tim Pope. Yeah, he did the wardrobe video.” Still, mustn’t grumble, eh? Like they say, “better to be remembered for something.” There were others that (amongst the guesstimated canon of 37) have gone in deep to people’s psyches, seemingly penetrating their inner beings like syrup tentacles. “Lovecats” for The Cure saw Robert dance in circles about a room, talking about “cagey tigers,” while he sent the audience giddy with his cat-like choreography—oh, and I punched him on the nose with a stuffed cat.
“Love Song” saw him and band—Simon, Porl, Boris, Roger—in a cave of penises; shocking even to me when I saw the film back in the harsh light of the editing suite: “Oh God, I’ve gone too far this time!” “Inbetween Days”, where I placed the (very expensive) camera in a shopping basket attached to a piece of rope, so we could give the effect of Robert chucking the camera away, and then catching it again. “Lullaby”—and here we come to the point of why I am writing this now—where Robert (to quote the lyric) “feels like” he’s “being eaten by a thousand million shivering furry holes” (One of the best lines of any pop song, ever, surely?). What was I to do with the video?
Famously, Robert was shocked to see my interpretation of a spider’s mouth—go check the video for yourself and tell me if you think what ‘eats’ him resembles any part of the female anatomy. In other parts of the video, where he is bed-bound, he spent a day inside a spiderweb made from glue like candy floss and doubtless had colorful, solvent-based dreams that night. The byproduct of the glue was that it pulled out half of his hair when he tried to remove it from his face. Which, when you are a RS, is, I guess, bad news—bad news if you are anyone, really.
These videos are all part of my misspent youth—the equivalence of the “naughty things” others got up to behind bicycle sheds. Mine just happened to be a little more, erm, public. I am used to seeing piss-takes, versions, ripoffs, of my work with The Cure, but I was particularly taken with the intriguing version of “Lullaby” in, wait for it, Lego.
Yes, like most people, I have built many a building or airplane from this iconic stuff, but never a video. See it here on Dangerous Minds for the first time. Part of me wants to know why someone would go to all this trouble? To replicate an entire video, frame by frame, cut by cut, shot by shot—wow! My congratulations to the person who made it, credited on the end title card as “Lucas Tuzar.” Lucas says something, in further words, about it being “for Nicola Tuzar’s birthday” and a few others “all of them are big The Cure fans”. I don’t know if he means “big” in terms of their physical size, or he is referencing their passion for the group. Probably the latter, I would guess.
So, there you have it: one of my videos now made in Lego. Thank you, Lucas!
Below, the original Tim Pope-directed “Lullaby” from 1989:
The Lego remake: