Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Pet Shop Boys - “West End Girls”
I have no idea what is going on in this video, but we’ll give it a run.
We start out with somebody walking past a store where small children seem to be trapped behind glass. You’d think this would be an unsavory experience, but they look like they're smiling, so who knows. Then the camera starts whizzing all over the place, jumping from one thing to another, and it’s very unclear what we’re seeing. (Was that Brad Pitt eating a corndog?) People are walking around in tight jeans and we have an abundance of neon signs. And somebody who might be Martina Navratilova appears to be very invested in whipping her hair around like there's a prize if you annoy the most people.
The frenzied imagery finally stops and we see Neil Tennant sashaying along some street, apparently having just had his hair fluffed and/or having just purchased a trench coat that makes him look even skinnier that he already is. There are some other people with him, but I don’t know if they are part of the band, members of a security detail, or people who just like walking along a street on an overcast day.
Close-up of Neil’s face. He’s looking very serious. But the British always look serious, so we aren’t really learning anything.
Oh, now Neil is standing in front of a pink steel door, belting out the first part of the song. There’s another guy standing beside him, but he doesn’t look really pleased to be here, and his image is kind of faded. And why is Neil doing that thing with his left pinky?
Brief glimpse of somebody’s nose. Beats me.
Back to the pink wall, where Unknown has moved behind Neil, and Neil continues to sing in a manner that draws attention to his interesting hairdo. And the growing realization that perhaps Neil might not have an actual jaw. Unknown Man glances off to the left, desperately searching for cue cards that might let him know what is going on and what he needs to do next. (Wait, is Unknown actually Chris Lowe? Maybe. We’ll just keep calling him Unknown for now, because that’s artsy and stuff.)
Now Neil and Unknown Chris are standing near some odd stairs. Then they’re walking on some elevated crosswalks, and descending some other odd stairs. (Are they trying to find the subway?) Shots of crowds of people heading various places, and then a shot of Neil with an exclamation point over his left shoulder. What does that mean? Are those rude little Germans bombing London again?
The punctuation symbol goes away, replaced by Unknown Possibly Chris. Neil bellows some more, and Chris continues to be uninterested in anything that might be happening. Now the boys are walking past a bookstore, then they’re in a mall trying to avoid being run down by the camera, then a double-decker bus whizzes by because you haven’t really seen London until you’ve managed to not get run down by one of those, and then we’re apparently on a helicopter tour of famous London images.
Back to the… I don’t know, place where Neil and Chris are walking around and pretending that there’s not a camera tracking them. Chris actually shows some signs of life by performing a quick dance step. Or he might have tripped over something. Not sure.
Now they’re walking along the Thames River (I’m assuming) and it’s still overcast, so I’m not sure that London gets a lot of sunshine, so this is probably not a place that Katrina and the Waves should visit. Shot of the river water, then a nice composed shot of the guys with the Tower of London or maybe Margaret Thatcher’s house in the background. (Chris is still not interested. That dude is basically over everything.)
More shots of various random people, including a woman with earrings that could double as anchors for a cruise ship. We also learn that people like to eat while walking. And gamble. Or at least do something with machines that appear to be gambling devices. Maybe they’re just inspecting them to make sure the bells and whistles are pleasing.
Oh wait, now we have lots of those tiny European cars racing past what might be a government building, or a hotel, or a royal residence with crappy security. This doesn’t escalate into a riot or an embassy bombing, so I don’t know why this footage is included.
And there’s Neil again, singing some more with that exclamation point and some neon pink lettering that experience tells me has something to do with questionable venues where small women walk on your back for money. (I really don’t think Neil would be interested in such places, so the mystery deepens. Chris is nowhere to be found at this point, so perhaps he’s much more receptive to the back-walking.)
Dramatic image of Neil glancing off to his right. But nothing happens. So he sings another line of the song and then glances again. Still nothing. Dude, is somebody missing a cue or do you have an attention deficit issue?
We end with the camera traveling along a street and showing lots of people waiting in lines to get into places that are apparently popular. But we don’t know these places and we don’t know these people, so the emotional investment just isn’t there. We fade to black as Neil whispers the final lines of the song.
But seriously. Where the hell are the West End Girls? Did I miss them?
Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.