Dom Joly: My big adventure in small-screen pop

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The Independent Online

As you read this I will either have become a phenomenally successful video director or I will have lost several new friends. I have agreed to direct the video for Wig-Wam, the musical collaboration of the fabulous Betty Boo and The Independent's own Alex James from Blur. The whole thing is a bit of Cotswold Posse project in that we all tend to get muttered about in the same pubs. We tried to get Liz Hurley and Anne Robinson to do a "before and after" plastic surgery joke but Robinson didn't see the funny side. Shame.

The joy of music videos is that everyone seems to be winging it. I've negotiated a "get out of jail free card" by insisting that I wear a shirt with the words "I've got no idea what I'm doing" on it. I think everyone thinks that this is some sort of post-modern-irony thing but, actually, it's the simple truth. This was confirmed to me when I found out what Damien Hirst charged Blur for the Country House video. I wept quietly in a corner. I suppose if you don't ask, you don't get.

I have made a couple of previous forays into the world of the music "vid". At the height of Trigger Happy TV, I got a call out of the blue from Ian Brown's manager, who wanted to know if I'd be interested in directing a video. I played it cool for about three seconds and then started muttering like an idiot and nearly blew the gig.

A week later, King Monkey wandered into my little office to hear my ideas for the video. I have to admit to being a tad nervous as he had just been in prison for air rage and I was worried that he might realise that I was just a posh chancer. He turned out to be absolute charm itself but I think he quickly sussed the posh chancer bit. It might have been when I sold him my theory about the "single shot" video.

These are always hailed as masterpieces, for example the Massive Attack "Unfinished Sympathy" one where you just follow the singer walking down a dodgy part of Los Angeles without any cuts or edits. To me these are an enormous con as all you have to do is press record on the camera and follow the artist for three and a half minutes and bang - that's a wrap, there's your video sir, that'll be £300,000.

That's what I thought at the time anyway. Poor Mr Brown had to suffer a whole day in the West End being goaded by the public as we tried to get our "masterpiece" to work without someone jumping in front of the camera or me falling over a dustbin or a car hitting somebody.

We eventually handed over the paltry results to his management who didn't seem overly thrilled. This was compounded by the fact that, on his next single, they hired a professional to take our idea and do it properly. It was much better.

Even weirder was a phone call from "Hooky" the famously low-slung bassist from Joy Division and New Order. I was summoned to "Gracielands" a recording studio owned by Lisa "been around the world and I, I, I" Stansfield. There I pitched an idea about a "point of view" (POV in the lingo) shot of something coming out of a lake like some monster and running through a forest until it got to Hooky and delivered him a letter. It was palpably crap but no one seemed to care and Hooky seemed to be happy that someone had bothered to consult him about the whole thing.

I can't remember what happened but I pulled out in the end and didn't make the video. This didn't seem to deter the record company, though. I remember wandering into a record shop and seeing the single on sale with a large sign above it proclaiming that the video was directed by "Trigger Happy TV's Dom Joly." I don't know who made it, but I hope it was good.

So, anyway, I'm going to do my best - it's on a roof, like The Beatles, causing chaos, like the Sex Pistols, with cat costumes, like... Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber. Shit, what have I got myself into? Ah well, it's only rock'n'roll, and I like it.

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