I seem to spend a lot of time crying these days. It’s OK, it’s 2015 and men are allowed to cry, presumably into the mossy well of their beards. And besides I have two very small sons which means that their mother and I spend a lot of time experiencing lots of new feelings but at the same time doing so while quite extremely tired.
Today, for example, I cried on a train. Not because of the very small sons or even the tiredness (much) but because I watched the video for Elbow’s new release Lost Worker Bee. I love Elbow and their songs (which are often about men crying and are also designed to make men cry) but I’m particularly fond of Lost Worker Bee because the video for it – which is wonderful – was directed by my friend John Panton.
I’ve known John for slightly over half a decade. I met him when I went back to my old school, Exmouth Community College, to do a talk about being a writer. John took me into a room full of cameras and computers and asked me to do a voice-over for a short film he’d made, Matt V Beast. You can see it here, with several other shorts from John’s MeatBingo stable.
We got on well enough that, some time later, John turned a script I’d written called Shaolin Subbuteo into a short film called Falcon Of Fury. After that, the hits flowed from my pen like strong beer, and we’ve been making shorts together ever since. We won a prize in Poland and we’ve made really good films with brilliant actors like Simon Evans, Sanjeev Kohli and Rebecca Front. And we’re planning bigger projects too.
Then a while back John told me he’d been asked to direct a video for one of Elbow’s songs. Apparently at least one of the band was an admirer of his work, which was in itself nice to know – people were watching. And John did a brilliant job. Lost Worker Bee is a classic Elbow song in which either a man cries or men hear it and cry, and John’s video is beautiful, and made me cry, on a train.
I would have cried anyway (sometimes I cry watching episodes of Fireman Sam). However, this time I cried not only because it’s a beautiful song with a wonderful video, but also because – well, it’s like The Best Of John Panton. It stars Sanjeev Kohli, who’s written a Meat Bingo short and starred in two. There’s Katie Villa from John’s brilliantly spooky Line Signal. There’s Joe Hancock, from Line Signal, and Lot 13, which I wrote. There’s Moose Allain, who’s helped produce some of the films, did the art direction for Falcon Of Fury AND wrote the treatment for the Elbow vid. And right at the end, with his mossy beard, there’s John Panton.
Pop fans and casual net browsers will enjoy Lost Worker Bee as a great song with a great video. For me, though, it’s like a record of part of the last few years of my life. Which makes it well worth a happy weep.