I took a few days off (it’s called a weekend workaholics) and spent it on Inisturk far away from the world of music and media but despite that, I still felt the excitement on a remote Ireland around the new Girl Band tune and the video through friends gushing through Viber and Facebook notifications
It’s been a thrill to watch Girl Band’s rugged suit of tightly-coiled, high-strung, black-comedy, stream-of-consciousness rock music form over the last year and a half in particular. With the alliance of Bob Gallagher on the music video front, both the band and the director have found a partner to elevate the art. The video for ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage’ was morbid, shocking and fun while the video for the band’s new song ‘Paul’ is a twisted, funny riot.
Juxtaposing escapist debauchery and profanity with the sanitised world of kid’s TV programming is an obvious idea but Gallagher, as he explains below, digs deeper to show us that costumes and masks are of course, a front for the reality of the person behind it, in a thoroughly convincing and entertaining way. Cáit O’Riordan also features as a TV producer.
As for the tune, ‘Paul’ does contain the brilliant lyric “nice ronnie anyway” for starters and like ‘Garage’ and ‘Lawman’, it does convincingly fresh things with rock music dynamics that are original and thrilling.
“The idea came about from shooting an audition tape for my friend Kate for a kids TV show job. She’d curse if a take didn’t work out, which in the context I thought was hilarious. I’ve often watched kids TV with my Goddaughters, and every time I do I can’t help but wonder what it’s like for the actors behind the scenes. What the dynamics are like? There’s such a sheen on those shows of happiness that I thought it would be interesting to look at the flip side of that with a character who is full of self loathing but has to literally wear a big grin on his face. While I was researching I watched a documentary about Big Bird and there’s a line in where he Carol Spinney says that a woman was complimenting his performance but that she couldn’t see that inside the costume he was crying. It’s quite tragic. I think everyone has experiences of having to put on an outward expression and feeling trapped, so Paul’s costume is a visual extension of that. He’s inside the suit, at a distance from everybody around him, but wearing this absurd smile that’s totally false to what’s going on inside.
When the pressure of living that life comes to a head he gets to be himself, and in a bizarre way he gets acceptance from his hero Big Rooster, so I see it as a bizarre but happy ending.”
Niall Byrne is the founder of the most-influential Irish music site Nialler9, where he has been writing about music since 2005 . He is the cohost of the Nialler9 Podcast and has written for the Irish Times, Irish Independent, Cara Magazine, Sunday Times, Totally Dublin, Red Bull and more. Niall is a DJ, founder of Lumo Club, event curator and producer of gigs, parties & events.