Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Nicola Roberts: A Life in Videos - Part 2 

Our celebration of Nicola Roberts much underrated contribution to the art of the three minute pop video continues today as we career helplessly towards the end of the Sound of the Underground era. WARNING: Contains fridges.

Life Got Cold

Which happened many years ago. Well, three to be exact. The Nicola actually gets quite a bit of screen time in this vid, presumably as a result of finally being awarded the quota she was denied in the last two, presumably because the more downbeat tone of this song necessitated a more mean and moody look for the video and if there's one thing that Nicola can do well, it's using slightly too much fake tan. But if there's two things, then looking moody is definitely the other one.

In a bid to keep the moodiness theme going, the director has racked his or her brains to try and think of the most suitable location in the world to set this video and, with the sort of brilliant flash of insight which only a truly talented auteur could come up with, has decided to half arsedly set it in New York by showing a New York Post newspaper machine in shot on a couple of occasions. A similar demonstration of his powerful imagination can be seen by the fact that he's decided to represent the lyrical theme by having Nicola stand next to a fridge for the vast majority of her appearances and using a lot of blue lighting. In short, he's not the sort of director Shitdisco ever want to get involved with, not unless they have very high powered showers and access to industrial strength body wash.

The fridge against which Nicola reclines against so fabulously is located within a somewhat dingy bedsit, where the rain lashes against the window with unconvincing volume and the central heating appears to be on the blink - look! Her life is getting even colder! He got paid for that! - but she doesn't just get to hang out in such a squalid location, even if it probably did offer more luxury than the dressing room that we suspect she was given - "Look Nicola", they would have said, "It's a little picture of you, it must be your room", "But it's Nadine that always wears the skirts", she would have argued to no avail, looking up at the stick figure stuck to the door, "And I can't see any reason why I'd need that many cubicles", but we digress. Not only does she get to hang around the kitchen in her outerwear, she also gets to hang with the other girls on the bus during the chorus. Unfortunately more bullying is in evidence here as, despite the fact that other than the girls, the bus is completely empty and there's an embarrassment of spare seats available, Nicola is still forced to stand at the back of the bus, holding on to the rail for dear life, while the other girls use the seats to stare menacingly at her, with threats of violence no doubt hanging in the air if she even thinks of resting her weary legs. Either that or the director just reckoned it was a nice piece of composition.

Now, at this point in proceedings we should really be looking at the Some Kind of Miracle video, which would no doubt have been set in a deconsecrated church and featured a breakdancing vicar, but for reasons best known to themselves, the powers that be decided not to bother releasing this as a single, consigning it instead to the box marked "Greatest Number Ones that Never Were" (See also Amy Studt's Ladder in My Tights), so we shall instead move on with a look of grumpy disdain upon our face which Nicola herself would be proud of.


And, as the DVD excitedly informs us, this is the exclusive new edit we're looking at here, by which they mean they couldn't get clearance for the Love Actually footage, the soundtrack for which this song came, so instead they've stripped it all out, changing the video from one in which Girls Aloud were sneaking around the Prime Minister's house in a desperate search for a scandal which could bring down the government, a job they could have achieved more easily by drawing the public's attention towards both the fact that the Prime Minister is Hugh Grant and the existence of the film The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain, to one in which they're sneaking around a fancy house with no purpose or reason whatsoever, except possibly to get a sneak preview of the Love Actually script, so keen were they to find out what was going to happen in it. A notion so preposterous that only a fool or, indeed, Richard Curtis would even consider it to be a plausible plot.

But, for whatever reason, the girls are breaking into someone's house like a troupe of sexy criminals - The Pussycat burglars anyone? No? Please yourselves - and, not exactly being experts in the field of crime, they've decided not to dress in the more traditional greys, blacks, and dark colours more normally suited to activities where you don't really want to be seen, and have instead chosen to dress like sexy, futuristic, American sports players in big, bright, primary colours. Of course, this isn't their biggest faux pas in the whole keeping-their-activities-under-wraps side of the project; the fact they're singing, dancing, and generally running around the place like a horde of baby elephants is probably going to give the game away anyway. Perhaps they're hoping that their antics will be disguised by the horrible purple lens flare effect, which the director is clearly worried will go out of fashion unless he uses it in every single sodding shot, despite the fact that it's never been in fashion, unless you consider "title sequences from dodgy sci-fi series" to be fashionable. Which they aren't.

buoyed up by her performance in the previous vid, Nicola is keen to get involved this time around and is quick to jump on the bed as the girls attempt to listen through the wall to hear what sorts of shenanigans are going on in the other room. Unfortunately Nadine has been similarly buoyed by the amount of screen time Nic had just enjoyed, albeit in a more negative way, and quickly leaps in front of her, making sure her shot is obscured. We also wouldn't put it past her to have been the one who suggested that Nic lead the party as they try and get down the stairs without being caught, no doubt realising that if they were to be found by security, the perceived leader would be the first to find themselves on the wrong end of a punishment beating. Boo to Nadine. Nicola, however, appears to be oblivious to all the plotting and machinations going on around her, preferring instead to spend much of the video spinning around happily as if one of her parents was a roundabout.