Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Nicola Roberts: A Life in Videos - Part 3 

It's the night before Nic-mas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, save the whirr from our DVD player as we watch through another couple of Girls Aloud videos in our continuing celebration of Nicola Roberts' contributions to their art. It's a hard life, sometimes. We've moved on to their second album now, but never mind what the neighbours are gonna say, here's what we think:-

The Show

Disappointingly for some, this director is of a less literal bent than some the Girls have employed in the past, and so there's not a single shot of them hanging around anywhere in their underwear, let alone the kitchen. Instead it's set in the Curls Allowed - arf - beauty salon, run by Kimberley, with the other Girls as her willing employees. It's perhaps fortunate that they're now all making a few pennies from this pop lark as their less than professional treatment of the few, screamingly metrosexual, punters who turn up to be beautified and merely end up as the butt of a few pranks at their expense is unlikely to encourage return visits and the all important recommendations to friends.

Nic, who we are reliably informed in the opening shot of the video - and it's quite right that she should be fronting their comeback single - is playing the role of "Chelsea Tanner" - Do you see what they've done there? Probably not as it's not exactly a reference which anyone in GA's target audience is likely to recognise, but never mind - who is the salon's tanning expert, although judging by the swathes of St. Tropez all the Girls were covering themselves in at this stage in their career, being an expert doesn't necessarily equate with knowing when to stop. This was also the first sign of Nicola's distancing herself away from her ginger roots by, umm, dying the fuck out of it. Boo! Hiss! Grr! Etc!

But the Girls don't just perform the treatments in this salon, oh no! In a bid to cut costs after the budget was blown on the fancy plasma TV in the reception area, they haven't bothered to employ any juniors and so have to clean up the place by themselves, but the Girls don't mind. Taking inspiration from Mary Poppins they've decided to make a game of it and have concocted a dance routine to perform while they do the sweeping up. And no doubt taken enough mind bending drugs so that they too imagine they're dancing around with cartoon penguins and can fly by the simple expedient of holding up an umbrella. The choreography here is performed with aplomb, with Nicola's mastery of the brush very much a show stealer, no doubt thanks to the weeks of practice she put in before the video shoot. And after, come to think of it. Indeed, still today the other Girls insist she practice this sequence over and over again "And make sure you practice into the corners and all the tricky bits as well", they cry, "And don't just rehearse it under the rug like you did last time, we'll be checking".

She follows a similar slapdash approach to the role of tanning specialist as the other Girls do with their roles. One gentleman initially appears to have the words "Dream date" inversely tanned on to his body, in itself hardly a good look and pretty much the equivalent of having "Moron" printed upon your forehead in biro, but a quick flick of the towel - and her hair - by our heroine reveals that "Dream on Dateless" is, in fact, the message imprinted upon his torso. A similar trick, proving that if a gag's worth doing, it's worth running into the ground, is performed on her other customer, where "Big" quickly becomes "Big Ego". A laboured arf.

Sarah's, who runs the hairdressing arm of the salon, prank is no less hilarious, as she gives the three gentlemen in her care ludicrous hairstyles which they all react to with horror - though given that one of them was seen earlier sitting back quite happily with curlers in his hair, we're at a loss to quite why he seemed so shocked to discover that his hair was now a bit curly - including, in some subtle, subtextual bullying, the bloke who's style has undergone no change whatsoever other than the fact it's now a shade of ginger. Grr. Boo. Hiss. Etc.

But the working day comes to an end, Nicola tosses her towel over her shoulder while giving the camera one of the most excellent facial expressions ever to be recorded and the Girls all clock off after a tiring day. It is not revealed whether any of their customers got their money back.

Love Machine

Welcome to the Eskimo Club, the coolest nightspot in town - arf - and the Girls are out and about for a night of dancing in some rather fetching dresses. Hooray! They arrive, sit down and order some drinks. Nicola appears to be inordinately fascinated and impressed by the cliched antics of the cocktail waiter, who's tossing around the ingredients like an alcoholic juggler. She's clearly never been in a Henry J Beans before which, to be fair, is something she should be proud of.

It's not all sitting around for the Girls, though, as despite the fact their shoes are clearly unsuitable for prolonged bouts of standing around, they're all keen to be up and dancing, both amongst the lensflare and underneath the glitterball, and while their video directors have moved away from the literalness of their first few promos, the choreographers have moved closer towards it, with pretty much every single lyric being acted out for the hard of hearing by the Girls. Cheryl's attempt to act out "turning into tigers" while still retaining a modicum of dignity is particularly impressive, if ultimately failed.

This vid is very much a group effort, with none of the Girls really getting to do much to stand out on their own. The largest solo performance in the whole affair even possesses a Y chromosome, as the cocktail waiter takes centre stage to dance around, still chucking bottles and shakers around, while the Girls hang around in the background and clap, oblivious to the queue of thirsty, angry punters, lining up at the bar and desperately wondering what sort of shitty service they offer in this place.

Finally, after just one dance - and to their own song, how egocentric can you get?! - the Girls leave. Or do they..? In actual fact, only four of them head out through the revolving door at the end, and Nicola isn't one of them. We can only assume that she's pulled so the other Girls are leaving her too it and are heading off to another club where the guys are less choosy. Either that or they've quickly finished off their drinks and snuck off laughing the minute she went to the toilet. Bitches.