Sunday, December 02, 2012

YouTube of the day

"Dr Mabuse", by Propaganda (directed by Anton Corbijn).

As I'm sure you all know by now, I have been obsessed with this song ever since it first revealed itself to me, on the radio, around 1984. It's an obsession that takes a bit of work, because there are so many different versions, edits, etc of it, reissues, ZZT trademark multiple single releases, that it's impossible to know if you have gotten to the bottom of it. (Me, I have a 12". I have no idea which one. It's got "Femme Fatale" on it as well. And Paul Morley's hand is all over it.)

So anyway, it came as a bit of a surprise to discover the existence of this video, which only came to my attention recently, thanks to the title of one of the several "Mabuse" versions that appear on a very handy new Propaganda compilation, "Noise and Girls Come Out to Play". (Is Mr Morley still in the house, or have they developed a computer program to emulate his gnomic prose?) (I should say, I mean that as a compliment.) Of course, as a piece of music you can't really go past the full ten-minute opus. It's got everything, including a drum machine solo (which must have been devilishly difficult to pull off). But this clip is worth a look and listen, both as a concise version of the song itself and as a kind of 1984 time capsule: the hair, the po-faced expressions, the pseudo-mystical nonsense, the title cards, Corbijn's trademark black and white camerawork (not a lot of colour and light, is there?).

But what really makes it for me is the discovery, right at the very end, that Claudia Brucken has the sweetest smile. It makes you wonder why in all the publicity photos they make her put on the most serious "teutonic" face. I suppose it wouldn't have fit the image, but it's such a waste! I think I could happily leave it frozen at the 4.27 minute mark forever.