Addendum, mid-March: EMI, the money-grabbing bastards, have decided to block this worldwide. I wouldn’t have minded but it was fine when I uploaded the thing. In any case, it can’t be helped, so I’ve included the Viddler link. It should now work.
The first question: Can you, in fact, get enough footage for a six-minute Kraftwerk song from a single episode of Doctor Who?
The answer is yes. Almost.
When I was in my early twenties, at the halfway point of a course I abandoned not long afterwards, I taught a creative writing seminar for the rest of our teacher training group. My friend and I agreed at the time that the best way to teach creative writing in a classroom was to focus your students. If you give them a blank sheet and tell them to write a story, you’ll get a lot of procrastination. But if you tell them to write a story about X, or in Y words, your results will probably be better. We communicated this to the group by means of references to Jerry Springer, Peanuts and Bagpuss.
Some thirteen years later, I still believe that the occasional bout of enforced concentration is good for the soul, and that’s what I had in mind when I put this together. It stemmed from my initial play-through of Trans-Europe Express on a cold January afternoon – its sparse electronic landscape a perfect accompaniment to the wintry scenes I surveyed around me – and the realisation that ‘Showroom Dummies’, with its minimal (but cutting) lyrics, was perfect subject matter for a video about the Autons. And more to the point, no one appeared to have done it yet. Which gave me another chance to land-grab, and that’s great, but why has no one done it? ‘Rose’ is seven years old, and there are nods to the Kraftwerk / Doctor Who connection all over the web if you look, so why did no one think of marrying these two before now? Presumably people have less screen-time and more of a life?
Focussing on one episode made me scour it with a greater intensity than I usually afford these things when I’m doing a montage. You look for the silent glances, the meaningful stares. In the end I think it came off rather well, but I admit I ran out of steam at around the five minute mark, so you get an early fade. Still, you do get to see the Autons dance, after a fashion, so it works.
There is, almost certainly, another version of this video somewhere containing footage from ‘Spearhead From Space’ and possibly even ‘The Pandorica Opens’. But I won’t be making it. I think I’ve had enough of Kraftwerk for a while. I’m off to listen to Jerry Springer instead.