ECHOES FROM THE PAST: UnExtreme- “Get the Funk Out”, & Psychic Metal Terror- “When You Come Back To

This one may take a little explanation.

After the adventures in filmmaking that I’m currently documenting in the ‘Full Metal Alchemy’ entries elsewhere on this blog, I entered the second year of college ready for further adventures, but fully aware I wasn’t going to be able to push things as far as I had the previous year. Oddly enough, it was a music video that was put together by one of my circle of acquaintances at Pool School and Cornwall College- the semi-legendary David Nevett, a guy with Teflon skin and a passion for Scritti Polliti and Orchestral Manueveres in the Dark, who was fully capable of being phenomenally irritating and rude, and yet I probably ended up owing him alot thanks to him always managing to be a number of shades weirder, geekier and annoying than I was ever capable of being. He was the kind of kid you felt a certain degree of sympathy for– until he actually turned up and did something that made you fume in anger or annoyance, but it was the shambolic music video that he cut together to accompany Duran Duran’s track Skin Trade that made me think “Dammit- I can do better than that!” As a result, I did my usual trick of figuring out a way of fitting what I wanted to do into the Media Studies coursework that was left- and the project that leapt to mind was ‘Images in Context’. I came up with the idea of trying to explore and satirise images of masculinity by taking light and frothy music video imagery, and setting it to a hard rock track. The video I set my sights on was a dreadful cover version of ‘Happy Together’ by Jason Donovan, and the accompanying music was ‘Get the Funk Out’ by the somewhat over-masculine rock troubadours Extreme.

Two afternoons of lip-synching and general bufoonery later, I had plenty of footage which- thanks to an accident- had no sound recorded, meaning that editing the thing together and getting it to synch up was an absolute bloody nightmare. The end result is something I’m still proud of– and considering it was put together on a VHS edit suite, it’s a pretty sharp bit of editing. Unfortunately, what I was forced to admit afterwards was that my hopeful satirisation of frothy music videos didn’t really work, mainly due to the fact that I got so carried away with the performing and the editing that what I ended up with was a rock video in different clothes (which also, for reasons best known to my 17-year-old self, referenced Bob Dylan’s ‘Don’t Look Back’, and the video for ‘Can’t Stop This Thing We’ve Started’ by Bryan Adams) that didn’t fulfil the brief I set out to acheive. It’s a daft and silly five minutes of fun, frolics and truly surreal dancing, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted.

So- we present, for your delectation, the fifteen-year-old spectacle of myself, Tristan Barratt, and Gary Annear as ‘UnExtreme’, performing ‘Get The Funk Out’. Lock up your daughters– and, to be honest, anyone else who might be in range…

I wasn’t about to admit defeat, however. Time was short, and I didn’t have a tremendous number of resources– but after a certain amount of thinking and pondering, I finally realised I had gotten it the wrong way around. Instead of pasting frothy visuals to hard rock music, it’d be far more interesting to take all the usual rock cliches, and set them to the most incongruous music possible. With a little aid from fellow Theatre Studies student Simon and his drum-kit, as well as a fabulously unconvincing blonde wig, I was soon kitted out with all manner of rock accessories, and filming an all-new video. It wasn’t easy- time was running short thanks to other commitments, and I barely got enough footage to cut together the kind of video I wanted- but I was able to cut some corners and recycle footage by feeding it through a TV monitor and then recording the results, giving the image a grungy hand-held look. Combining hard-rock black leather with the Stock-Aitken-Waterman sounds of ‘When You Come Back To Me’ by Jason Donovan, I was aiming generally at all the ridiculous cock-rock cliches that were always prevailant in rock, but with hindsight, I also ended up accidentally spoofing certain sections of the music video for ‘The Fly’ by U2.. Either way, what I ended up with finally hit the comic level of oddball lunacy and satire that I was aiming for, and it’s another project I’m still hugely proud of.

As an encore- here’s more lipsynching action from myself, Tris, Gary and Simon as hardcore rock gods ‘Psychic Metal Terror’, with our anthemic standard ‘When You Come Back To Me’. Brace yourselves…

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