1984 - Play at Home INFO
|Play At Home (Documentary)|
09/04/84 - TV - Play @ Home -
09/04/84 - TV - Play @ Home INFO
The Creatures - Weathercade (Video) YOUTUBE
THE GLOVE A Blues In Drag (Video)
Siouxsie - Circle (Video)
Siouxsie - Eve White/Eve Black (Live), Voodoo Dolly (Live) & Helter Skelter (Live)'.
Play At Home
ROBERT SMITH's Monologue
If Iíd known then all of this would have been completely different it wouldnít have been like this. It wasnít that, it wasnít that at all, nothing so clean, nothing so perfect. Was it far? I canít really remember, donít know. There were three reasons, I felt sick, most of them were asleep and it just didnít feel right at the time. Baby baby, baby baby. Was it as cold as it is here? Itís not cold here, itís been a lot colder. Moving, moving moving, always like you want to leave, if you want to leave just go. Anna? Chance? what have they got to do with it?, what have they got to do with it? What have they got to do with it? If you looked at them in a certain way they jumped like that, like that, like that. Why donít you just listen, It wasnít that it wasnít that at all, nothing so clean, nothing so perfect, nothing so clean, nothing so perfect it wasnít like that canít think canít think, itís too late I canít stay here anymore, no I donít, no no I canít stay here anymore
The origins of this venture have been outlined in past issues of the magazine, but just to re-cap... around the time of the Royal Albert Hall concerts in '83, the group were approached by the RPM film team, to participate in a soon (then) to be filmed programme for Channel 4 TV, called 'Play At Home'. RPM's original idea for the series was, that each programme would be split into two parts... half consisting of the group performing 'live' in concert and the other half in their home environment (hence the title), but this changed and the group (s) are given an open reign regarding the programmes contents (within reason). Then RPM proposed the filming of the Royal Albert Hall concerts. So, after negotiations... so the group could work the prospect of RPM filming to their own advantage i.e. the recording of the Nocturne video... RPM were allowed to film.
The Wonderland angle for the programme originates from the period when Steve and Robert Smith were recording The Glove album (Blue Sunshine)... completely off the top of his head, Robert produced the little gem, 'the Banshees shouldn't be doing tours, they should be doing something really ambitious like 'The Wizard Of Oz' on stage'.
It took the group ages to think of a theme for the film, then Steve remembered Robert's words of wisdom and thought they could do something similar... like 'Alice In Wonderland'... which would tie in nicely with their Wonderland records.
the suggestion aroused everyone's imaginations and the most ridiculous ideas emerged (which were eventually included in the film), like Siouxsie suggesting they (the group) could all be Alice. Once they had a starting point... instead of writing it off as just plain silly, everything started moving and things developed from there.
Each member of the group formulated a story for their solo spots in the film...
STEVE'S STORY... he's always been fascinated by assassins and what possesses someone to go out and cold bloodedly shoot someone famous. He already had something partly written on that theme, so he completed it as his individual contribution.
the idea was to make it appear as timeless as possible... Steve in the room putting the gun together, a figure that could have been any assassin, anywhere and at any time. The teletyper was used as the medium through which reports of a shooting were disjointedly revealed... the accompanying narrative being the voice of someone reading directly from the teletyper as each word appeared, trying to comprehend what is happening, but being prevented from doing so because all the reporting seems to have got confused in the transmission... different assassinations (attempted and successful) from different periods of time (Kennedy, The Pope, Reagan), tumbling together from the teletyper keys.
BUDGIE'S STORY... was based on the (now deceased) Stanley Holloway monologue 'Albert and the Lion'. When compiling inspiration, he called on different periods of his life, from childhood memories of listening to its recital on scratchy 78 r.p.m. records... through his personal attempts at reciting it with his mates down the local pub, never being able to remember the proper words and substituting his own... to the monologue being part of a cassette tape, the only thing he possesses with his mother's voice on it.
When he sat down to write what he could remember of the words (as providence would have it), a half hour Stanley Holloway special came on the radio. He recorded it and transcribed the original words, then changed them to tie in with the inclusion of one of the animals he and Siouxsie (as The Creatures) adopted at London Zoo... Gregory Peccary, in the place of the lion.
When it was definitely decided that the 'Albert and the Lion' angle was going to be used, it was necessary to obtain permission for its use from Mr. Holloway's estate. They liked Budgie's version and agreed to its use.
SIOUXSIE'S STORY... she decided that her story would represent a twist on the 'yellow brick road' (re: The Wizard Of Oz), which related to her recently (then) experiencing a really awful time, when in answer to repeated requests, she had gone home and the resulting visit was a complete disaster. What happened on that occasion ;prompted her to vow never to go home again (in retrospect maybe an over reaction, but under the circumstances a natural one... the kind I'm sure we've all been party to at sometime in our lives). At that moment in time, Siouxsie felt as though she was part of a living nightmare, just like the character in her story.
If that's left you thinking surely Siouxsie's real experience could not have been as horrific as the one portrayed in her story, think again. There are different extremes of horror... the horror experienced by the girl in the story has an element of the unbelievable intentionally injected into it, so that in the end you're left feeling relieved, whilst thinking 'well that couldn't happen'... whereas what Siouxsie experienced during her real return home was far more horrific in comparison, the horror being intensified by the fact that what happened to her was very real.
This (Siouxsie explained... and I agree) can be just as relative during dreams... if you are dreaming about every day life (and situations) and really nasty things are happening to you, or people you know really exist (outside the dream), the emotional reactions experienced are far more intense than those experienced when you dream of something so unnaturally horrific that it renders itself unbelievable.
ROBERT'S STORY... well, he'd left it later... and later... and later... until, when the deadline was upon him... he sat down...paused momentarily... and proceeded to create what you see on your TV screen... something that cane be seen as self interrogation... an interpretation of a sate of mind... his own?... maybe...
The idea behind the Wonderland theme, is that the Banshees have their own little world... which is why everyone (then) was involved in the making of the film, to give a glimpse of some of the things that go within the world.
The most interesting outcome of the film has proved to be how much more revealing it is compared with anything they've done before in the respect that it's more revealing (characteristically) of the four individuals that are (at least were, since the filming and the actual screening, Robert left) the Banshees. This is naturally more noticeable in their individual stories, each one being almost totally directed by its author, with the absolute minimum assistance from the TV people (who they found extremely easy to communicate with), the group also remained involved with everything right through to the final editing. On viewing their stories, they appeared as mini solo films, which proved revealing in the sense that each individual members character emerged in a different way from how it does on stage, records or during interviews. This is probably due to the fact that each film was made with an individualistic approach as opposed to the usual group one.
The 'Mad Hatters Tea Party' scenes proved to be equaling revealing, as the Banshees were portrayed as possessing much more of a sense of humour than they've ever been credited with, conclusive evidence that they can (and do) laugh at themselves.
On to the musical interludes... in the same way that Wonderland is the label and the (mental) family, in order to present the film as a complete little world unto itself, the group decided to feature a song by each The Creatures (Weathercade), The Glove (A Blues In Drag) and for the finale Siouxsie and the Banshees (Circle). Choosing to do this, presented The Glove with only two options for inclusion... either of the instrumental tracks from their album. They couldn't use a track with Robert singing, it would have put more emphasis on him and upset the balance of their appearance... and they couldn't introduce Landray as a third element, because it would have made the idea of keeping all the musical interludes confined within the four members of the Banshees, redundant. By keeping to their original idea, they maintained the impact of them coming together as Siouxsie and the Banshees to perform Circle at the end of the Wonderland section of the film.
The programme ended with the inclusion of the Royal Albert Hall footage filmed by RPM... Voodoo Dolly and Helter Skelter.
I think the film was always destined to be different from anything else the Banshees have ever done (the only other thing similar being videos... but they're designed to be more representative of the song, rather than the group) and because of that, was bound to surprise a lot of people... which it undoubtedly did, though I think some of the harsher comments made about the film were unprecedented.
Billy 'Chainsaw' Houlston