The Twilight Sad – “Another Bed” video

This rather macabre video stars musician Stuart Warwick and was directed by Craig Murray.  Stuart takes on the role of a clerk in a video store (Remember what that is?) as the viewer follows him during his mundane daily grind and his disturbing after-hours activities, while laying bare the anomie at the heart of this solitary character.  In a store unfrequented by customers, the clerk roams between the shelves, a pile of antiquated videotapes in his arms.  The magnitude of his ennui comes into sharp focus with a scene showing him cracking open a video box, putting the tape to his nose, and slowly breathing in the aroma of the tape.

A jump cut changes the location and time, and to hopefully what is just a fantasy in his mind.  The clerk prepares to throw a party, populating it with recently deceased people who were once the store’s customers.  The methods of his procurement are not revealed, but the aftermath is viewed in detail as he lays out his guests on a sheepskin rug and (re)assembles them like the director of a funeral parlor, applying make-up to their faces and fitting them in suits and dresses.

This cracked ‘n’ crazed clerk may be throwing a party, but it’s none too lively until he ties up his captives’ wrists and ankles and rigs a pulley system so that they become puppets on strings.  All the fun is captured with a videocamera as he pours out champagne, attaches party hats to his guests, and props them up on a sofa so it looks as if they’re mingling and conversing.

The clerk inserts himself into the proceedings, sitting between the two couples, and for a brief moment, at least through the camera’s eye, it looks like he’s the life of the party (figuratively, and well, always literally…), as he tugs on the strings to make the deceased move in mannequin-like poses.

The dead then appear to take on a life of their own, cheerily downing champers and laughing it up, excluding their “puppet master” from the festivities. He sits on the sofa looking dejected, his warped idea of being “social” a complete failure.  The concept may be off-putting, but it’s a well filmed, edited, and acted video, with the idea of the lone, alienated clerk going to such mad lengths to belong sending a shudder down the spine.

The lyrics-heavy, story-telling song itself bears no relation to the video, except for, perhaps, a certain tie-in to ideas about isolation and separation.  A constantly hard-smacked beat is given life by the restless diffusion of bright organ-like synths as James Graham, sing-talking in his rich-like-toffee Scottish tone, determinedly or yearningly wraps around the fragmented phrases of “…you are only…” and “I’ll find you…”

Official Video: