By Gavin James Bower.
When I was asked to write this, I thought it’d be easy. I watch videos online all the time – how hard could it be to write about one?
But then I got stuck. When I tried to recall all the funny clips I’ve seen over the years – ones forwarded to my inbox to brighten up an otherwise dull day at the office, let’s say – I invariably drew a blank. A dog riding a skateboard didn’t seem quite right for the heavyweight of all literary magazines. Neither did anything featuring Paris Hilton and her surprisingly capacious chops.
With this in mind, I thought I’d look for something a little more pertinent, like that clip of David Lynch abusing people who watch films on mobile phones. Again, though, nothing seemed to work. (Lynch’s rant is neither amusing nor interesting. It just shows he’s not a very nice chap, that’s all.)
And then inspiration struck. This morning my friend posted a link to a music video on my Facebook wall, and suggested – with downright temerity I might add – that it should play every time I enter a room.
The video in question is for ‘Ego’ by Beyoncé, taken from her 2008 album I Am…Sasha Fierce and now, thanks to a recent remix, featuring Kanye West. If the title of the song hadn’t given it away, the opening line meant I couldn’t help but get the joke. (Well, I think it was a joke…)
‘I got a big ego…ha ha ha…such a big ego…uh uh uh…’
The video couldn’t be simpler. Take Beyoncé, the biggest singer on the planet, and two backing dancers – a master stroke when showcased in the video for the infectious ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’, an earlier single from the same album – and then throw in Kanye West, the biggest rapper on the planet and quite possibly the only human being with a bigger ego than ‘Sasha Fierce’. Beyoncé co-directed the video herself, naturally, it’s black and white and, while very simple, somehow still looks expensive.
But none of that really matters. It’s the song that carries the imagery, which is what good music videos are all about. The lyrics are self-explanatory but, appropriately, it’s Beyoncé who captures the essence of ‘Ego’.
‘Some call it arrogant. I call it confident. You decide when you find out what I’m working with…’
For someone who was told at 13 that he, um, had ‘problems accepting criticism’, that line seemed to ring true. I’m not a ‘hip-hopper’ – or whatever it is people who like hip-hop are called – and my iTunes library is whiter than white. Even so, I’ve always been drawn to rappers because of what I believe the kids are calling their ‘swagger’ – and nobody does it better than Kanye West. Moody singers who equate sulking with talent do nothing for me. Quite simply, I want my pop stars to be full of it.
And that goes for the rest of you. False modesty gets you nowhere in show business. If you’ve got a talent, don’t be afraid to say so.
Especially if you’ve got a big one.
Dazed & Aroused by Gavin James Bower is released this week.
First posted: Friday, July 17th, 2009.