What elevators are to smart modern TV shows, country houses were to British literature and later on, British music videos. Country houses were where the important things happens. Town -meaning only London, for of course if you go by British literature, you basically visualise Britain as a wide green garden and countryside with a big smoky city in the middle- is where people go to make money and do other boring things. Country houses are where the important rich people gather to make love and stories and murder. The route from town (London) to country and back is glorious, glorified.
This is a blog post which is very important, because I have been thinking about it for some time now, and it is about two of my favourite ever music videos, and both involve country houses and the route there and back.
Both Oasis’s Don’t Look Back in Anger and Deep Purple’s Perfect Strangers start with shots of the road and the country, people arriving, the wide gates opening. And both show things, important, amazing things happening in the country house, things which break your heart, things which dazzle and confuse. And they both end with departures, people getting in cars and vans, driving off. The end. The end of the music, the end of the weekend, the end of life as you know it. Something in you, in your heart changes a little each time you watch those music videos, and listen to the music.
Apart from the country house, the two have nothing in common, and I am comparing apples and oranges. The video for Perfect Strangers has absolutely nothing to do with the song Perfect Strangers. That the song tells a rather humdrum story of a secret love, an adultery or something. There is a woman, presumably. There is no woman in the music video. It’s all about the men, the men drinking, the men teasing each other, the men creating, the men playing music, the men hanging out. The men having the best time of their lives. It is about the intense bond of friendship and creativity, work and play. The story of the song has absolutely nothing to with the story of the video, and the viewer/listener realises quickly that that any of those men would happily throw any woman under a bus for the sake of any other of those men. The song Perfect Strangers is merely a literary device, as it were, a piece of theatricals, to celebrate the important thing: the friendship and intensity of these men together.
Don’t Look Back in Anger is completely different: the words and the images are not disjunct, and there is no celebration going on. Even though it is a country house and there is a lot of partying. People wander around, looking confused, desperate, unhappy, angry. There is loss, there is sorrow, there are girls who look sarcastic, bewildered, anxious. It is hard to make sense of what is going on, only it is clear that a lot of unhappy sex is involved. There are no men here, just angry boys; no love, just a lot of swirling feelings. Everybody seems brittle, artificial and phoney, unlike the men of Perfect Strangers who seemed real, genuine and their natural selves. Maybe having women and girls around does that to you? In the colourful country house of Don’t Look Back in Anger, drugs are floating around, in the solid house of Perfect Strangers there are plenty of shots of good solid whiskey. In Perfect Strangers, the men do healthy things like cycling and rowing in fresh air, in Don’t Look Back in Anger, the boys stand longingly and stressfully at the top of the stairs, and stare and stare.