Home

The Temptation of Victoria & Bizarre Love Triangle (‘I don’t believe in reincarnation because I refuse to come back as a bug or as a rabbit!’)

Leave a comment

Following on from the last post, here’s another ‘official’ New Order video made years after the song’s release. Shot fifteen years ago by filmmaker Michael Shamberg, this came with the title The Temptation of Victoria and the sticky-fingered Victoria here – who I really think should work on her technique – is played by Victoria Bergsman of The Concretes.

Although Temptation marked a real shift away from the Joy Divisionisms of Movement, some have speculated that the video was inspired by Ian Curtis having admitted to stealing records in his youth.

And I reckon with that long raincoat of his, he would likely have made a better job of the schnaffling game than Victoria, who with that pixieish hairstyle kinda reminds me of Annik Honoré when she was discussing Curtis in Grant Gee’s 2007 Joy Division.

Re-watching that documentary, it’s strange to think how many of those closely involved in the Joy Division story are now no longer with us. Ian himself obviously, Martin Hannett, Rob Gretton, Tony Wilson and most recently, Annik Honoré.

And now Bizarre Love Triangle. This was shot by Robert Longo at the time of the track’s release as a single in 1986. An American artist, Longo established his reputation with a series of massive monochrome charcoal and graphite drawings Men In Cities, where men in suits (and sometimes women) were depicted while moving – writhing, tripping, stumbling, falling – against a white background.

He began expanding his artistic range and filmed some videos for bands, REM’s The One I Love being the best known of these. Like fellow NYC based artists David Salle and Julian Schnabel, Longo then progressed into cinema. He directed big budget cyberpunk thriller Johnny Mnemonic in 1995. The film failed to recoup its budget, critics mostly disliked it and Keanu Reeves found himself nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actor albeit he didn’t ‘win’. Maybe not surprisingly, Johnny Mnemonic would be Longo’s first and last feature film directing credit.

Rewind. Since Temptation, New Order have continued on a roll with their singles and the roll would continue until 1990, at the exact moment John Barnes was allowed to rap on World in Motion. I digress but hearing a snatch of that awful new Euro 21 track last night reminded me of a rule that should always be adhered to – football and music should never mix. While I’m at it, I’ll let you into another crucial rule: Bono and music should never mix either.

If you’re wondering about the title Bizarre Love Triangle, according to Peter Hook while in conversation with Vic Galloway in Glasgow’s Mitchell Theatre, it came from a headline in the News of The World, a scumbaggy former Sunday newspaper that specialised in sex scandals involving mainly celebrities. And vicars. This triangle involved a vicar, his wife and one of his parishioners. Oh err.

Anyway, Bizarre Love Triangle is the band at their infectious best with jaunty riffs, headrush (synth) strings and another sharking Peter Hook bassline (absolutely triumphant in those final twenty seconds). It’s very 1980s even though the ‘Every time I see you falling / I get down on my knees and pray’ chorus could have come from a northern soul obscurity. The video is even more of its time with the kind of rapidfire editing beloved by MTV. Longo also inserts a couple of lines of dialogue (partly quoted in the title of this post), the relevance of which escapes me though I refuse as well to come back as a bug or a rabbit. Maybe a panda, because even though all you do is slob around munching bamboo all day long, everybody loves you and thinks you’re super cute. Saying that, you could argue that a rabbit would have a better sex life. I digress again.

Okay, let’s play the ‘this is now X years old and guess what was happening X years before it came out’ game. Released in 1986, Bizarre Love Triangle is now 35 years old. 35 years before, the Witchcraft Act of 1735 was finally repealed at Westminster, Churchill was re-elected and King George VI gave his Christmas speech on the BBC, the country’s one and only TV station. Big hitters in the charts? Rosemary Clooney, Perry Como and Nat King Cole..

These things rarely work, but here’s an entirely unofficial fan made video that uses existing footage taken from Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express.

Maybe I’m biased as this is one of my favourite films but I reckon the images and music work really well together in places, especially when Faye Wong’s character (with another pixieish hairstyle) is fooling around.

For more on New Order: http://www.neworder.com/


For more on Peter Hook: https://peterhookandthelight.live/

Age of Consent & Candidate (Two For Tuesday)

Leave a comment

‘Have you seen the new video for Age of Consent?’ a pal asked recently, as we got to talking about New Order just after the release of the super-dooper deluxe, definitive and expensive as hell version of Power, Corruption and Lies which contains the video above, filmed by rising Danish talent Tine Reingaard.

‘Seen the new video?’ I wasn’t even aware there was an old one.

This not so terribly old one had been shot by Amos Poe in 2011, by which time the band had become Hookyless, an event that saw my interest in New Order nosedive, albeit it had been slowly declining for some time before.

The Godard of No Wave cinema, over the past 45 years, Poe has made many lo-fi independent films featuring the likes of Debbie Harry, John Waters regular Cookie Mueller and even Robbie Coltrane. His 1991 crime movie Triple Bogey on a Par Five Hole gave Philip Seymour Hoffman his screen debut back when he was plain old Phil Hoffman. Poe’s also directed cult cable TV show, Glen O’Brien’s TV Party. He’s produced films. He’s written screenplays. He’s taught film.

In his book Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes, John Pierson tells an anecdote about a visit that Poe made to the cinema where the author worked in 1981, angling for a retrospective of his work. ‘He didn’t just want to make movies in New York: he wanted to make a movement in New York like the French Wave – a whole “film generation” of cheap, 16mm, black-and-white features.’ Pierson thought he was ahead of his time but couldn’t offer him a retrospective. Poe’s comeback took him by complete surprise.

‘Well, if you’re not going to show my films, could I be an usher?’

Now, there’s a man with a passion for cinema.

Poe is likely best known for Blank Generation, the music documentary he co-directed with Ivan Kral in 1976 and which I covered here. Since that post, due to a long running lawsuit over profits from licensing fees for screenings of the film, Poe has legally lost his co-directing credit for the documentary together with his ownership of several of his other movies.

Worse still, the ending of Blank Generation has been changed and the directing credit reassigned to Cindy Hudson, the wife of the now deceased Ivan Kral, which strikes me as being wrong, wrong, wrong. You can read more about the case in this New York Times report.

Anyway, here’s Poe’s visual interpretation of the opening track of New Order’s 1983 album Power, Corruption & Lies. Simplicity itself. Shoot a girl dancing (she’s namechecked as Betty Kelly) in grainy, washed out Super 8 and edit together ever more frantically as the song reaches its conclusion by which point the images are almost blurred to abstract shapes in places.

More recently – about a year and a half ago – Poe was commissioned to film a video for Joy Division’s debut LP as part of a project titled Unknown Pleasures: Reimagined. This aimed to give ten different directors the chance to shoot a ‘filmic re-imagining of the music in 2019’.

This is Poe’s take on Candidate:

I think this might be a pretty good promo. For some mainstream modern day act that’s maybe hoping to appeal to, say, the Lana Del Ray fanbase. But not for any song ever performed by Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris.

For more on Amos Poe: http://www.amospoe.com/

For more on New Order: http://www.neworder.com/