mathNEWS Issue 114.2: Friday, October 08, 2010

Hey St. Peter

The Ultimate Meme - From 33 Years Ago

When one thinks of ideas for a music video, brainstorming is usually the first thing one uses to develop ideas. Ninety-nine percent of the time, this turns to eliminating all the ideas that seem too ridiculous, or don't fit in. When Flash and The Pan came up with a music video for their debut single in 1978, they skipped that step. Following is a short description of the scenes found in the music video. When I found this, I quickly wondered, "How did Rick Astley get chosen ahead of this video?". I would have made more effort to 'Video on Trial' this music video, but simply describing it, is enough mockery.

The video opens with a tall man wearing a black suit walking down a street. He encounters a short man in a white suit and matching wide-brimmed hat, who pulls the revolver-under-the-coat routine. What mafia henchmen walks around in white? Hiding blood is a lot more difficult than with standard black.

At the beginning of the chorus, we meet 'Flash' and 'The Pan', one wearing a raincoat complete with hat, while the other wears aviators and pilots clothing. Then it reverses, and then back. Every time St. Peter is mentioned (which is often), the scene cuts for half a second to a gandalf-like figure wearing all white, and a colourful mitre (like the pope).

Next, the man in the hat leads the tall man for a long distance continuing to push him along with the gun. After dodging the public eye while walking down the middle of the street for a few kilometers, he then forgets that he's threatening the escort, and uses both hands to open a door to a factory. At this point, all sense of plotline disappears.

We cut back to the rainjacket chorus, which is followed by a louder chorus where the main singer (I'm going to call him 'Flash' for the sake of argument, but there is no way to determine which is which) is illuminated so that only his face is visible. When 'The Pan' joins in, he is as before in pilot's uniform, fully illuminated. After this second chorus, it cuts to a piano break, which as normally, shows Flash playing the paino, and cuts of The Pan really getting into playing the maracas.

All of a sudden, we see The Pan, playing the violin (out of sync with the music) in nothing other than a cape and a military helmet. Everything is covered by the cape, but still, not a sight expected. It then cuts back to The Pan playing maracas, and then.... Flash is playing the guitar in an outfit that would make hipsters cringe. White short shorts and jacket, with a faded blue hat that says 'A', while still wearing aviators. It cuts to two seconds of the original mafia scene, but is quickly forgotten. Then we see The Pan playing guitar with cape and mitre now, beside Flash in his short shorts. Cut to same thing but Flash playing the cello in normal clothes.

You may have played all of the instruments, but for the sake of continuity, can you at least only show one or two in the music video?

After a minute of grooving with all sorts of instruments, and jumping from scene to scene, including The Pan in cape and mitre playing the drums, we see one of The Pan's maracas explode, to his surprise. Cutting to the scene with the piano, we see the reflection of an ominous skeleton in the piano... along with a fake ice cream cone on top of the piano.

Next is the slow portion where the song sings directly to St. Peter. The gandalf character reappears, and looks solemn ringing his bell... until he starts pulling ice cream out of a box, like a street salesmen. He proceeds to throw the icecream everywhere, with the look of a pedophile on his face.

We cut back to Flash and The Pan singing the chorus, and they have performed another costume change. The Pan is wearing the standard green army man costume, but Flash has created a makeshift sombrero by taking a fisherman's hat and tying marshmallows from strings attached to it. This is the obvious headgear to wear with aviators, and a striped shirt and tie. This time, whenever St. Peter is mentioned, it cuts to a clip of St. Peter dancing like crazy in his flowing white robes. He dances so insanely his mitre proceeds to fall off.

To conclude the song, Flash taps The Pans head down until it is out of camera-view and at his waist height, with the obvious suggestion that they're both going to go to hell for performing either the homosexual act suggested, or by simply making this music video. The camera pans out from Flash's 'O'-face to a skeleton wearing a children's devil costume. Enough said.


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