Growing up in the 1970s I was terrified to cross the road in case a glam rock star accosted me to tell me I was out of my “tiny mind” for not crossing sensibly or for crossing without using the traffic lights – see these road safety films from 1976 with Les Gray of Mud in his ankle skimmers and Alvin Stardust berating some young girls for being “crackers”.
So spare a thought for poor Aphrodite’s Child (a favourite band of mine) who were trying to cross the road in Paris in 1970 when filming their promo video for Spring, Summer, Winter & Fall. These three big, hairy guys might look like they should be able to look after themselves but somehow they seem to be having problems getting across the road:
Here they are, they look to be heading off in the direction of the Arc de Triomphe. But, no, just a few seconds later they change their minds and head back to the traffic lights.
Vangelis must be in charge because he gets to press the button, look.
Loukas is the naughty one; he stands around smoking.
The lights seem to be taking a long time to change.
Vangelis is getting impatient and starts to walk into the road but thinks better of it and heads back to the pavement. Wait until it’s safe to cross, Vangelis! Then, bloomin’ typical, the lights change the next second and they can cross anyway:
Loukas is not paying attention – he should be looking both ways – but he’s just looking directly at the camera instead. Naughty Loukas!
Still, they’ve all arrived at the other side safely – phew! What now? Um…
They immediately decide to cross the road back over to the other side again.
Vangelis decides to pull his trousers up – well, you wouldn’t want them to fall down when you were half way across the road, would you? And Demis has gone all Fotherington-Thomas on us: “Hallo clouds, hallo sky.” That won’t get them back across the road safely and quickly.
And what’s this? A truck is pulling off the road and up the pavement. That’s a hazard.
And what’s more, the guy sitting in the front there looks either dead drunk or just dead.
Demis remembers they are filming a promo video and starts singing.
He probably hasn’t even noticed this sign, telling him that crossing against the lights is not allowed.
Maybe he did after all – here he is studying the lights.
Vangelis has got bored and wandered off.
But the lights have changed so they can all cross back over again now.
They’ve crossed over now. Either those folk at the traffic lights have recognised them as the Greek progressive rock band Aphrodite’s Child, or they’re admiring their road crossing abilities – or they’re just wondering why someone’s filming three big, hairy guys crossing the road. All I know is they need to pay attention if they are planning to cross the road themselves.
Demis starts singing again.
Then they all head off down the road again.
Loukas gets his ciggies out – it’s a very stressful business crossing the road.
Then it looks like Demis has gone all Fotherington-Thomas on us on again, but no, it seems someone has edited the same shot in again because Vangelis is pulling at his tie-dyed shirt like he was in the previous Fotherington-Thomas moment. Maybe I haven’t just seen Aphrodite’s Child crossing the same road twice after all… Maybe this is road safety groundhog day.
They’re heading off down the road again anyway.
Oh, look! A smartly dressed old man with a cane!
And those kids from the traffic lights have asked Vangelis for an autograph.
The video’s just staring to get interesting when the song ends. Not exactly action packed, uh?
So why did Aphrodite’s Child cross the road? It certainly wasn’t to make an interesting promo video.