Saturday, 27 September 2008
More brilliant trash. (I see now why this blog gets termed 'eclectic' and 'eccentric'!). This is the video for Alison Moyet's Love Resurrection, and what a bit of desert-bound, Orientalist tat it is. I always get it mixed up mentally with a terribly camp 1984 ad for Fry's Turkish Delight - 'full of eastern promise' - in which a big scimitar comes down, slicing open the gooey pink fondant.
Alison Moyet, big of voice and bone, emerges from a Bedouin tent looking rather like Gary Barlow in a burqa. She then proceeds to wander around the dunes performing everyday, homely Bedouin tasks - carrying water, sitting about, that kind of thing - whilst singing the most trashily filthy lyrics. She needs a 'warm injection' and 'for you to grow in my hand', etc etc.
Now, were I Camille Paglia*, I might go on about how this video clearly draws on the ancient fertility traditions of the pre-Islamic Middle-East, evoking the sumptuous world of Sumerian poetry, in which fertility and sexuality are sensuously enwoven, casting Moyet as full-figured Canaanite Ishtar. ('What seed must I sow / To replenish this barren land?')
According to this tongue-in-cheek reading, the 'Love Resurrection' of the title would of course be the resurrection of Adonis/Dummuzi/Tammuz, the dying-and-rising lover of Aphrodite-Inanna-Ishtar. I might add that the lyrics' blurring of ejaculation, falling rain, and the restoration of cosmic fecundity recalls Zeus and Hera's lovemaking-scene in Iliad 14**, and Paglia would no doubt opine that the complex polyrhythms of disco have their origins in primitive earth-cult. Tammuz is of course a shepherd, and the mysterious image of a goat's face reflected onto the rocks appears repeatedly during the video. This seems to be linked to the little clay goat's head which Moyet fashions, whilst looking towards the menfolk of the tribe with an unreadable expression. She then crumbles it into dust. Is she perhaps performing a spell, drawing on women's mysterious ability to control fertility, and thus taking arms against a sea of patriarchy, hitting them where it hurts?
Moyet trudges through the Yemen in a veil looking like a dispirited black stingray. Her 'little, snow-white feet' look comically tiny beneath her top-heavy bulk. Paglia might also notice the clever way in which Moyet lolls on a carpet (probably knackered after all that collecting firewood and carding wool) looking exactly like the prehistoric 'Sleeping Priestess of Malta', from c. 4000BC, pictured above. This little statuette is often adopted by adherents of feminist spirituality as a symbol of women's sacral power and closeness to the unconscious during the Neolithic. The video ends with an image of a man praying towards Mecca, followed by Moyet wandering out into the desert and raising her veil to the moon and evening sky: ancient feminine mysteries trumping male monotheism. (Or something.)
* * *
* And thank God I'm not, because, in the words of Victoria Wood's magnificent Kitty, 'I should never get any rummy played.'
** 'Therewith the son of Cronos clasped his wife in his arms, and beneath them the divine earth made fresh-sprung grass to grow, and dewy lotus, and crocus, and hyacinth, thick and soft, that upbare them from the ground. Therein lay the twain, and were clothed about with a cloud, fair and golden, wherefrom fell drops of glistering dew.'