In July I returned to my childhood neighbourhood of South East London to shoot a quirky rap video with rap duo Ley and Lucky who perform under the name of Team Foul. I’d never acted in a music video for a song with words before, and the brief was quite vague – the plan was to make it up as we went along. It was real novelty, a challenge, and an unusual opportunity. My favourite thing about the project was meeting Ley and Lucky, who were fun and mellow and upbeat and philosophical, and very South-Londony, which gave me a good feeling. And they said I had a good energy.
The day before the shoot, Lucky went on a quest to Camden to find an intimidating cloak for me to wear, while Ley and I visited the locations he’d previously scouted out- a warehouse in a car mechanics’ garage and an underground car park . That night, I tried on a contact lens for the first time. It was traumatic. On the morning of the shoot, I left my phone inside a house that I couldn’t get back into, resulting in logistical repercussions which almost jeopardized the project, since we had to film everything in the morning before I went off to my second assignment of the day. However, I used pragmatic logical skills and was able to rendezvous with my party in the nick of time.
It was a stickily hot day and I was sweating under the velvet cloak plus the layer of foundation and powder covering my whole body which was unfortunately speckled with sun rash and insect bites. But that was nothing. I’m very experienced at performing under discomfort for the sake of art and money. An actual handicap came in the form of the second pair of contact lenses which I (traumatically) put on at the warehouse in the car mechanics’ garage. They consisted of white grids which covered my pupils as well as my irises, making my vision milky. I think can genuinely say that although my job has taken me into quite a few unusual situations, walking around half blind and butt naked except for an evil cloak on the open-plan premises of this roadside car-garage in Southwark under the surprisingly unfazed gaze of the staff who let us shoot there (and mentally preparing myself for my imminent next appointment shooting business headshots for a company in North London), was a distinct time in my life where I thought “how did I get here?”
The filming was an interesting challenge, and the director did a great job of latching onto the concept and then coming up with clear visions of how he thought the video should be. Based on the briefing sessions I’d had with Ley the day before (a long, winding philosophical discussion while eating McDonald’s in the car in an underground car park), my own interpretation of the song and the music video is that it’s about how we can never really know what our influences are in life…