I panic at job interviews. Or rather, I panic at interviews for jobs I really want. The interview for my current job was made even worse by the fact that at the time the job didn’t exist so I was utterly clueless about what, if anything I would end up doing and what this all-powerful man sitting in front of me wanted.
This ended up with me expanding on my musical knowledge to the extent that when I was being asked about my grassroots involvement in promoting music, my brain finally exploded and went careering down the route titled “BRAZEN LIES.”
“Well, I’ve been in a number of music videos,” I said, inwardly crying No! You haven’t! What are you talking about you loopy cretin?
“Really?” said my future boss looking impressed. “What bands?”
“Oh, they were all really small ones, so nobody you’d have heard of. Friends of friends sort of thing.” Stop talking now Katherine, just shut up.
My brain a-righted itself shortly afterwards, but I was still feeling guilty enough about my utterly pointless lies to apply to be in a video for the brilliant Noisettes (who did absolutely killer sets at Latitude and Reading). It’s for their new single ‘Don’t Give Up’, and I trotted along to Brick Lane on Saturday looking like I’d fallen out of Shoreditch having thrown glittery socks and hairspray at the situation. (“Dress like you’re going to a gig,” said the casting man. What, sweaty and covered in work? I think bloody not.)
- Bank station bus stop C does not exist. There is only N and they haven’t changed the signs.
- Taxis from Bank to Brick Lane cost just over £7.
- A smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel at the 24 hour bagelry costs £1.59 compared to Bagelmania’s outrageous £2.99
The studio was hidden behind the sort of corrugated iron/barbed wire arrangement that makes you think of slaughterhouses and disused factories. As the studio is a disused factory, this makes slightly more sense. Inside the wrangling room like the leftovers of a student party – fag ends on the floor, a sofa so depressed that it requires the help of two people to get you back out of it, and art on the wall with what looks like a bullock-faced deer shaking hands with some kind of nightmarish cartoon. The only things that point out what it is are the tables covered in mirrors, make-up and hair stuff, the endless staff, drinks tables, a chicken in a cage and the band. The man with the green stripe over his eyes could quite easily be a party left-over.
The other extras are divided into ones that talk, ones that don’t, and one who pisses me off immediately by talking like a diva. Sweetie, there’s only one diva allowed here, and she’s the one wearing the tutu dress and having UV paint applied to her cheekbones. Much beer is bought, and drunk, then later wine is also bought and drunk. Girls are swept away to the make-up and hair chairs and come back looking like contemporaries of Peaches Geldof. Boys come back with glittery stars on their cheeks, and the three 14-year-old Pete Doherty wannabes from Guildford lurk around in the corner looking terribly cool, but not quite pulling it off due to their voices not having broken yet.
My worrying over being 20 minutes late (a mother hang-up – if I am going to be five minutes late anywhere I start sweating) are naturally kyboshed when we’re still sitting around at gone 9, on our fourth beer and munching on bagels we bought in bulk at the bagelry. Stories are swapped – one girl managed to be hospitalised after getting electrocuted by a garden tap – and the same 20-second burst of ‘Don’t Give Up’ blares out of the next door studio from time to time. Jamie the drummer comes and shakes hands with everyone in the methodical way of a cheerier politician, and guitarist Dan has his hair made bigger, while Shingai and her family joke around in hooting, whooping giggles.
A shopfitter called Adam, a lovely girl called Kim and I are the only ones not to get primped by the hair and make-up people. We look fine apparently. This is NOT the point at all – being primped is terribly important and we want it to happen to us. I lurk hopefully by the unimpressed make-up artist (clad in glorious green tracksuit top, sort of like Goldie Lookin’ Chain if they shopped in Hoxton). This doesn’t work in the slightest.
I knew about the waiting. This was not a problem. We smoked, drank, chatted more and peered at the chicken who purred disarmingly and was soft as a kitten. (“She’s called Korma and is going to be thrown across the stage”) One of the extras lives round the corner from me, another one lives near my grandparents, and Kim went to school with some of my friends. The world is tiny, even on a Saturday.
Jamie comes round with a tray of Quality Street for us. This is lovely. It’s less lovely when the chocolates turn out to be all white and elderly, but goes back to loveliness level 10 when the production manager runs off and gets some Celebrations instead. We’re, like, totally spoiled.
We’d almost forgotten what we were doing there when we finally got called in. The set was all terribly voodoo, skeletons, UV bits painted on walls, and a big Baron Samedi stick wearing a top hat that Shingai pranced around with. We were arranged around the sides of the stage - Adam and I next to the skeleton and in front of a coat rack that kept on sticking in our backs when we jumped around. The lights were fiddled with, the director shouted out for the music to go on and suddenly there was lots of music and the band were jumping around and, er, so were we.
Dancing on demand is rubbish, especially when you’ve got precisely 15 square inches to do it in. It requires too many decisions. Potentially, a whole inch of you could be on the telly so what do you do? Do you mosh (which looks fucking retarded when you’re wearing a mini skirt and are not a boy), do some kind of ridiculous dance move? Fuck it, just pretend you’re shit faced in Barfly.
After about the fifth take though, everyone suddenly got into it. Takes would be finished, everyone would clap and look around each other grinning like fools. As time went on, people got more ridiculous – “Hit the stage!” Shingai demanded and we all beat the stage like kow-towing crowdsurfers. Girls clawed the air in voodoo trances, everyone shouted “Don’t Give Up!” over and over again…and then it would all stop and we’d stand there grinning again and occasionally going “Woo”.
Just when I was getting into my half-mosh half-insane Monkee dance, Shingai grabs my hand and yanks me on stage. There is some stumbling, some swooning and then before I know it I’ve stumbled back into the fireplace, one arm lounging artistically round my face.
(“Arse first or head first?” asked RBT later.
“Arse first. It was ARTISTIC. There was lounging and it was VERY COOL,” I snapped.)
I don’t think my Courtney Cox moment will end up on film. This is probably a good thing because I can’t actually dance. (“Congratulations, you’re only a tampon ad away from fame,” texted Chris from the middle of his 42-hour Bond marathon.) I met some really nice people, had some drinks and a giggle, and got to do something that I’d never ordinarily see happening. All I need now is two more videos and I can look my boss in the face again. Meanwhile, I’m off to go and dance in front of my mirror and practise moshing on cue.
- The Noisette boys are lovely.
- Shingai has a laugh that could set off car alarms.
- She also knows a very chic looking man with blue sideburns.
- This is their first video with a proper budget and crew and everything, the last were shot by their mates.
- The Violet Orchid cocktail at the Casa bar on Brick Lane is very, very nice. The barman, however, is a bit sleazy.