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POP VIDEOS FEATURE - February 1998

Beneath the ruins of the city the survivors experiment to find an escape into the future. Everywhere is radiation. A mad scientist, Dr Frankenstein, and his team watch over the brave volunteers. Space was off limits. The only hope for survival was to pass through time. Past could rescue the future. After a week our hero glimpses images of a past love... Our hero is obsessed with a love of his past. He is at the entrance to the Dancerama Club... The girl dancer is the one he is yearning for in the museum of his memory. During his journey into the past a stranger follows him everywhere. Around him images of glass and steel, bigger than his imagination. Now images of the future come to him... he catches waves of a world to come; whose inhabitants have no memories. They offer him the power of music. Our hero is torn between his past love and the future of rock and roll...

...but now - Falco, with Rock Me Amadeus! Christ, don't you just hate The Chart Show? Now, the chances are you're not familiar with the above cliffhanger, forming as it does (most of) the onscreen narrative from the video to Sigue Sigue Sputnik's 1989 end-of-career flop Dancerama. But you probably have seen the promo for The Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony, in which Mad Richard stomps down a street sulkily barging passers-by out of the way. And you've more than likely caught Radiohead in No Surprises, where Thom Yorke's existentialist angst is slowly submerged in a tank of rising water. And it's all but inevitable that you saw Oasis manfully stretching their acting talent to the limits, playing a pub-rock band as the urban tale of Stand By Me wound itself artfully backwards around them.

Unless you're one of the lucky 10% with access to cable and satellite music shows, though, you almost certainly didn't see whether someone finally did turn round and smack Ashcroft's stupid skeleton face off, whether poor old Thom finally did buy the farm in a panic of glugging and bubbles, or whether Radio Supernova did, as we surely all pray, actually turn out to be the the final, Alan Partridge-style, fate of Chris Evans. And I don't know about you, but it's driving me screaming mad in the brain.

Because this is the hideous reality causing the latest affliction crippling the attention span of the nation's youth - Unresolved Pop Video Narrative Trauma. With The Chart Show now practically the only terrestrial-TV outlet for pop promos, young directors are pouring their souls into meaningful and artistic vignettes which, tormentingly, no-one will ever see the revelatory end of. (Unless, ironically, they get banned, in which case The Midnight Hour or suchlike will painstakingly analyse every last frame for the benefit of the arts/pervert crowd.) It's like watching The Usual Suspects without the last three minutes, or having Reservoir Dogs stop dead just before the climactic warehouse shoot-out, and who'd have put up with that?

Personally, I've been haunted for the best part of a decade now, wondering whether our hero chose his past love or the future of rock and roll (which probably serves me right for liking Sigue Sigue Sputnik), but no-one needs to suffer the same fate ever again. All I need is a few grand to make the first volume of Now That's What I Call The Ends Of Videos (an E20 should do it, 40 mysteries solved a shot), or failing that, two hundred quid for a gun and the address of the Chart Show producers. Who's with me?

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