Becky&Joe are a collaborative duo whose psychedelic imagery form bright and colourful short films which have now been picked up by the likes of Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra to assist them in their music videos. Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared is a two part series, the first focuses on creativity and the second on time, Part 2 is the one I am going to talk about today. The world sometimes seems a little dull but thankfully Becky&Joe are here to provide us with a beautiful marriage of unique graphic imagery and fresh perspectives which have really been utilised in their small but equally powerful collection of work.
I’ve just watched Don’t Hug me I’m scared Part II and I genuinely felt like opening this blog post with ‘This is my favouritest video in the whole entire world’. Being a kid doesn’t necessarily stop when you hit 12 years old, like when it’s no longer socially acceptable to be excused from the table because you want to play with your toys. This video makes me want to go and play with felt and wool, like the olden days. The nostalgia of old children’s TV programmes which used garishly ridiculous colours only acceptable in the 80s’ or the ‘Saved by the Bell’ opening credits.
This time, Tony the Talking Clock is introduced as a new character educating us all about time. Tony’s best quote is ‘Time is important, and I am a clock’. He starts telling us how we all end up running out of time, and starts screaming at us – I think I smell a satire coming into place here. I don’t want to spend really any time reading into what this video means, I think it’s just a crazy video depicting the uncanny using the format of a children’s TV show.
It plays entirely with our love of nostalgia, it lures us in with a happy, clappy sing song narrative about time as they try to define it’s meaning and it’s impact on our lives. As a response to ‘time is an illusion’ Tony begins to tick loudly at 3:40pm to the horror of the other characters whose ears begin to bleed. The meaning of time depicted in this video is actually the underlying deep cut that we’re not expecting to watch.
Time is growing hair, growing old, it’s an uncontrollable variable which runs away with us until we’re old and shrivelled – but in the world of Don’t Hug me Now, they’re actually on fast forward on a TV programme which the characters watch on TV in a subdued and relaxed manner. There are so many interpretations you could force upon this video, the way we watch real life violence, death and anarchy on the news but are instantly reassured by the presenter ‘that’s it for now, have a great evening’ and are instantly brought back to our own little comfortable lives. Tony the Clock has one final say in it all: ‘Don’t worry, I’m only a clock. Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll be fine, but eventually everyone runs out of time’. How sinister, but they’re all cartoons and the colours are bright and cheerful, so it’s not all bad, like he said…
Check it out on Dazed&Digital here
A little more about Becky&Joe
Becky Sloan and Joe Pelling are London based artists who also started the THIS IS IT collective. The main characters of the first Don’t Hug me I’m Scared are introduced to us sat around a quiet table in a kitchen where the tock is ticking. They’re listening to a sketchpad explaining how to get creative, the video follows the children’s educational programme structure to comically depict how to ‘get creative’. Words to the lyrics appear in capital letters, old school 80s turqoise and pink are excessively combined to form bright and cheery flashy graphics, this is all combined with the singing of the characters (with deliberately hilarious voices) finding out how to get creative. Getting creative is cool and Becky&Joe are using their own creative skills to do so. This video shouldn’t be wholeheartedly embraced for teaching us a simple lesson about getting creative, flitters of satire
Tame Impala – Feels like we only go backwards