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WATCH: William Doyle's Jonathan Meades Video
The Quietus , August 7th, 2019 11:13

Visual homage to the great broadcaster shapes Doyle's new video - watch and read about it here

William Doyle (the artist FKA East India Youth) has a new album out soon that pays tribute to the unsung suburbs of southern England, and the way in which they blur bricks and ancient woodland. Next up from the record is a brilliant video for the song 'Nobody Else Will Tell You' that pays homage to the great television essayist Jonathan Meades, and you can watch it above. Director Sapphire Goss absolutely nails the Meades visual style, while Doyle does a magnificent part playing Meades himself, from sunglasses to gestures and so on. Doyle penned a short essay about his love of Meades and how he came to make the video, and you can read it below.

"In my late teens I stumbled upon a two part programme called Magnetic North by a man named Jonathan Meades. It looked at the idea of ‘the North’, not as one geographic zone of any particular country, but as a wider concept. It asked things such as why, perhaps, the North suffers in comparison to the South of places? Meades explored the idea through the art, food and architecture of northern France, Germany, Poland and Finland, and also related these ideas back to concepts of North and South as we see them in Britain.

"It was a fascinating programme, not just in its scope and ambition, but it was absolutely the weirdest thing I’d ever seen to date. Here was a documentary that didn’t really feel like a documentary at all, hosted by a well spoken, well dressed presenter who seemed outrageously pompous and conceited. The language felt difficult to penetrate, and I was constantly asking myself why I was finding it all so funny. Wasn’t I meant to be learning something? Was I at all? Any perceived pomposity and conceit, however, were offset by a surrealism and dry humour that seemed to invalidate the possibility that there was anything dry about the subject he was tackling.

"If all this seems like a nightmare of a programme to you then let me assure you: I was hooked from the end of part one. The wider world that unraveled in front of me after devouring all I could of his programmes (which was difficult in at the start of the decade) changed the way I viewed the world around me forever. Over many programmes across the last two decades, Meades has woven together art, architecture, food, music, geography and politics to allow a unique reading of our built environments.

"It’s no surprise then, that Jonathan Meades has been a huge influence on my new album and the project surrounding it. Towards the end of his programme Father To The Man, Meades says he that he regarded 'suburban avenues and riverbanks, backstreets and woods, as the best free show on earth'. The way that this programme dealt with the idea of finding the sublime around you, and how he conveyed the sentiment in that succinct line, offered me a revelation about my experience of suburbia when growing up. I assured myself that something had happened to me in my excursions through those avenues and pathways, and here seemed to be someone lending credence to that idea.

"When it came time to thinking of videos for the singles from my album, it seemed obvious to my friend, collaborator and fellow Meades enthusiast Sapphire and I, that we should do our best to make a video in homage to his unique and peculiar style of filmmaking. We would make it as if Meades had made a programme about the modern British suburbs. So we set about re-watching a lot of his old programmes, that thankfully in the present day are all available on the website MeadesShrine, and we compiled lists of shots we could lovingly ape or make reference to. I donned my suit and clear-framed glasses and set about deadpanning in front of houses and alleyways. Sapphire completed the touch by adding her swirling, psychedelic visuals, and supercuts of houses taken over the last few years while on our shoots of suburban developments all over the country.

"Sapphire and I hope you enjoy this video, and if you were unaware of him before, then we hope that you see it as a doorway to giving Meades a try. We haven’t looked back and I suspect neither will you."