"Adventures in Capitalism" (DVD, 2003) !DSO Recommended!
Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me enormous pleasure to announce the first ever 10/10 rating on the DSO website. I've been a huge fan of David Thrussell's Snog project since first discovering them on the second Machinery label compilation in 1993. Fitting then that they should reach their artistic pinnacle a decade later with the release of this stunning DVD.
Not satisfied with just predictably compiling a selection of their rarely seen music videos, this packs value into every nanosecond of its several hour running time. There are thirteen music videos but that's merely the starting point. The brilliant videos range from Corporate Slave taken from 1992's Lies Inc., through to Fill My Hole off last year's superb Beyond The Valley of The Proles. Stylistically, they range from low-budget cut-up footage, through (intriguing-looking) independent Aussie film clips and onto cutting-edge psychedelic CGI collages. They span the comical to the brutal, and the beautiful to the repellent. As if giving emphasis to the importance of the lyrics, we are subjected, across a number of videos, to various imaginative ways of seeing Thrussell's singing mouth in extreme close up. The excessive use of this image is perhaps the only thing to prompt my single negative comment. David: we love your lyrics, but please, less of the lips from now on - okay? In true DVD stylee, you can choose to play the entire programme or select individual tracks.
The award-winning short film The Plastic Wars: Part One is a Thrussell video essay warning us of the trust we place in the ubiquitous plastic that we come into physical contact with every day of our lives. It pulls in everything from the illuminati and capitalist matriarchal conspirators through to plummeting sperm counts triggered by excessive intake of synthetic oestrogen contained within plastic. I guarantee that after watching this, you won't be able to stop making mental notes of just how often you come into contact with this material.
Then you have three video interviews with Thrussell recorded between 1993 and 2002. Although fairly short, each provides a little more insight to the very grounded Australian behind Snog. His stories of how McDonalds stepped in to stop distribution in several countries of the album Third Mall From The Sun (featuring the famous cover of devoted McDonalds employees posing Soviet style in front of the famous Golden Arches) are fascinating to hear. What's impressive though is how Thrussell just seems to take this kind of thing in his stride and not be swayed one iota from his mission to rally against the mindless capitalist consumer society. There's also a brief interview with Richard Grant the man from I+T=R, the organisation behind many of Snog's videos.
"SNOG: Consumption will fill the Void" is an intelligent thirty-page text by Samuel Birbeck subtitled "A cultural study of Snog", and covers the main thrust of Mr Thrussell's political messages. It opens with a quote from Emperor Augustus addressing the Senate: "Words fail me, my Lords; nothing I can say could possibly indicate the depth of my feelings about this matter." This perfect summation of David Thrussell's passionate approach to his work could be a lyric lifted from any one of Snog's many songs... in fact, I think it is. It concludes with a bibliography pointing to further related and sympathetic reading.
Click on the section entitled "rare audio tracks" and you are taken to a six-option sub menu of rare remixes. These include Evil (Mother) which combines copious amounts of Front 242's Work 242 with judicious samples from Cronenberg's Videodrome. The others are variants of Fill My Hole (two mixes), Born To Be Mild, Cliché and Corporate Slave. There are two live clips - Born To Be Mild (live in Japan) and a live video mix of Head Sand. Fans of Thrussell's other projects will find also find video delights in the "never you mind..." section. It's as if this DVD never ends!
Despite this smorgasbord of content, personal highlights are to be found, perhaps unsurprisingly, in the music videos section, where the DVD format really comes into its own. Stand outs include the beautiful video for the Soma track Stygian Vistas (found in the "...never you mind..." section), and the mind-numbingly impressive work of art that is the clip for my favourite Song remix track, Beefcake's sublime beefcake and the burger flippin' blues instrumental mix of Are You Normal Enough? The hilarious Real Estate Man (ubin offer affordable solutions), like many of the videos included on this disc, will have you reaching for the remote to pause and read the text flashing across the screen. Here it's satire, on others (such as Cliché) its more serious, but always visually impressive.
Another of Chris Woods' superb paintings graces the cover of this release, there's a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio option and it comes complete with an insert from the "Information Awareness Office" (no doubt via D.T.) warning of the dangers of succumbing to Song's message, and a Metropolis sticker. The best value music DVD I've yet come across, a truly essential purchase for Snog fans and a release that comes with the highest possible DSO recommendation to you all. Submit, Obey, Consume! 10/10
Rob Dyer (April 2004)
Official Snog website: http://www.worldwentdown.com/imcc