Rex's mention of Interpol's new video reminded me of the short film contest they threw last year for the release of their album, Antic. Winners got $1000 to make an Interpol-inspired film, not a music video. In fact, it didn't have to have music at all. They even used the phrase "think outside the box." [By which they meant, they explained, that "Black is not the only color."]
Seven of the ten winners are on Interpol's site. For some reason, I thought it'd be nice if someone besides a Matador intern saw the concept I submitted.
I took the idea from the blog post where I read about the contest, which just happened to include headlines about Moby making a Joy Division movie and an ex-boy band member getting busted for soliciting a prostitute. Enjoy.
Unrelated Story by Gregory Allen
Cruising the city late at night on his moped, a down-on-his luck former boyband member gets arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer.
The film is shot in voyeuristic paparazzi- and COPS-style documentary video, and only Interpol lyrics are used for the spoken dialogue.
A dark SUV is parked on a deserted city street. While her two colleagues run a final check on their surveillance equipment, an undercover cop puts on her makeup and frets.
"I had seven faces. Thought I knew which one to wear."
On a livelier block downtown, snippets of music from a bodega's tinny radio drift out to the street. A man in his late thirties comes out with a Rice Krispie Treat, which he slumps onto his moped to eat. His once-expensive jacket was cool several years ago, and his once-pretty face looks tired. He stops mid-Treat and sighs.
"But I'm sick of spending these lonely nights."
He brings the Treat up to his mouth, but hesitates to bite.
"She putsÖ.oh she puts the weights into my little heart."
The cop's out of the SUV now, conferring at the window with her male colleagues.
"I'll showcase on Route 7 when I find the right place. But it takes a long time just to get this all straight."
Her colleagues nod gravely.
"In my mind, this is my free time..." she laughs as she strides away. She adjusts her breasts and runs her hand over her hair, as she transforms into her character.
After she's out of earshot, her part awestruck, part turned on colleagues finally break their silence.
"When she walks down the street, She knows there's people watching."
"The building fronts are just fronts to hide the people watching her," replies the other.
Finishing his Treat, the man looks around for a trashcan. His movement catches the eye of a 22-year old woman, one of an amped up bunchóall the same heightówho have come into the city to go clubbing. She lasers in on him. First wondering, hoping, studying, then ecstatic, paralyzing recognition. The fan tracks the manís movement. He crosses right in front of her and her oblivious gang. Donít they see him?? OMG.
No, they don't. The group's already past when the spotter snaps out of her trance and freezes them with an intense stage whisper. A second too late, the huddle of womenólike the 13-year old TRL-screaming girls they wereóall turn their heads at once, in time to see the man remount his moped. He's pedaling off before his clutch of former fans can utter a word.
The cop works it along her narrow sidewalk turf. Occasionally responding to car horns, whistles, a slowing limo. The man putts around aimlessly on his moped, looking, wanting. As the man leaves bustling downtown for sketchier, emptier warehouse district, their respective streetscapes begin to converge. A bit exhausted, she moves from the curb to a doorway to take a quick break and check her wire. She doesnít hear the putt-putt of the moped as it approaches.
"It took time, then I found you."
She whips around, startled, but she quickly recovers.
"I had my back turned," she says coyly, now totally in character.
"You didn't realize I'm lonely." That's not much of an opener. He reconsiders. "You're looking all right tonight. I think we should go." The last line heard over the wire by the copís two stakeout colleagues.
She reads him, sizes him up. Is he really looking for a trick? Cuz she'll bust him if he is.
"If you don't bring up those lonely parts," he continues, unable to capture convincingly the empty swagger he should've had, "This could be a good time. You come here to me."
The cop moves closer to the curb. In contrast to the johns encased in their blacked out town cars or SUV's, this guy sitting on a moped seems remarkably vulnerable and exposed. Looks slightly familiar, too, but she can't place him.
"Oh, what happened?" she asks with exaggerated sympathy. She strokes her hand on his head with a balletic gesture, and then turns up the heat a bit.
"Will you be my man?"
The man sighs at the brush of her hand and looks down slightly. "Home spun desperation's knowing, inside your cover's always blown."
A flash of alarm in the copís eyes. Her colleagues listening in exchange nervous glances.
"If you don't trust yourself for at least one minute each day," she eases up a bit, decides to see where this john's going. She needn't have worried, heís so lost in himself.
"Well you should trust in this, girl, cuz loving is coming our way." A sorry, empty attempt at brazen rock star swagger, what he thought had been expected of him for so long.
The cop turns his weakness into her erotic provocation. "We'll pick up those lonely parts and set them down. You come here to me." She hugs the man's head into her tanktopped breasts.
"I picture you and me together," comes through in the car in a staticky, muffled, booming voice. The stakeout cops try to stifle their laughter at the jealous thought of this about-to-be-perp snuggled up against the undercover bra mic.
"In the jungle, it will be ok," the voice continues. "If you can fix me up, girl..."
"We'll go a long way."
Desperate swagger. "Well then hook me up and throw me, baby cakes, cuz I like to get hooked."
That's their cue, the deal's done. In well-rehearsed motions, the stakeout cops prepare to make their bust. "It is up to me now. Turn on the bright lights."
The cop cools as she pulls back. "It's over. I'm gonna wrap you up tight."
Flashing lights intrude on the manís vision. Waves of anguish and disbelief break across his face as he realizes whatís happening. He looks, shattered, up at the cop, back at the approaching lights, and then at her again. With childlike impulsiveness, he takes off, furiously pedaling his moped. Without moving or making chase, the wearied cop watches as her colleagues easily chase the man down.
With now-naked need, the man rambles as he's handcuffed.
"It's in the way that she posed. It's in the way that she walks." Nods of detached acknowledgement, combined with querying looks of recognition are all the response he gets.
"She puts, oh she puts the weights into my little heart."
They hoist him into the backseat of the undercover SUV and shut the door.
About The Film
This story will be told using two invasive documentary styles: paparazzi-style stalking and the ride-along camera on cop patrol. Ultimately, these styles collide and converge, offering up a depressingly entertaining view of fame through both ends of the telescope.
The aging former boy band member will be introduced via paparazzo-style stalking, his most trivial activities still captured, first from across the street via DV with telephoto lenses, thenóas the increasingly bold photographer realizes his prey isnít fleeingóup close. A parabolic camera mic, designed to eavesdrop on a distant conversation, captures the man muttering to himself. Cameras pursue and ride alongside him on his moped. Not much market for shots of celebs of this wattage unless, of course, they lose their temper or get in trouble. Just the paparazzo's luck, that he gives up following the star a few minutes too soon.
Meanwhile, the stakeout and arrest are shot with fawning cameras tagging along with the police; hidden and surveillance cameras; and wiretaps. These visceral on-the-scene images embolden their main castóthe policeówhile disorienting the unwitting guest starsóthe perps who sometimes mistake the camera crew for law enforcement. The irony is that plenty of losers consider getting literally captured on tape to be, not ignominy, but all the fame they're likely to get. And theyíre happy to have it, as long as theyíre on the Tee Vee.
The two documentary modes map to the performer's own history and to the event itself. One mode trackedóand built the pop star's media image on the way up; the other capturesóand exploitsóit on the way down.
This story is entirely fictional. Any similarity to recent news stories about a British boyband star-turned-manager getting swept up in a London red light district sting operation are purely coincidental, even if the music website where I found out about the Interpol competition did list a link for that incident under "Related Stories." Thus, the proposed title, "Unrelated Story." "Public Pervert" would be my second choice.
[Not a reference: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/3776719.stm]copyright 2004, gregory allen