"Another martyr to your hypodermic kiss"
Some aspects of the Ten Storey Love Song video require a postmodernist reading.
John Squire is not only the person behind The Stone Roses' artwork but also, I suggest, a strong creative force in the direction of their music videos. The Ten Storey Love Song video is directed by Sophie Muller, an accomplished music video director whose works include Annie Lennox (Why, Walking on Broken Glass); The Jesus and Mary Chain feat. Hope Sandoval (Sometimes Always); Blur (Song 2); Sophie Ellis Bextor (Murder On The Dancefloor); Sugababes (Freak Like Me); The Killers (Mr. Brightside); Gwen Stefani (Cool); Shakira feat. Wyclef Jean (Hips Don't Lie); Cheryl Cole (Promise This).
A short (cropped) clip at the beginning of the Ten Storey Love Song video (top) is from Shakespear's Sister 'Stay' video from 1992, also directed by Sophie Muller. It is taken from the scene in which Siobhan Fahey (bottom), the 'angel of death', walks down the steps to lay claim to the lover of Marcella Detroit. The Ten Storey Love Song video, like this acclaimed Shakespear's Sister video, is centred around a figure lying in bed, surrounded by battling forces of good and evil.
The Ten Storey Love Song video brings together works by Édouard Manet (1832 - 1883), Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917) and (especially) Francis Bacon (1909 - 1992).
Left to right: Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Francis Bacon.
Francis Bacon was "obsessed" (p. 239. Marlow) with 'Portrait of Pope Innocent X' (1650) by Diego Velázquez de Silva (1599 - 1660), describing it as "one of the greatest portraits that has ever been made." (Ibid.).
'Portrait of Pope Innocent X' (1650) by Velázquez. Bacon thought that Velázquez had a unique ability to capture the soul of the sitter.
Bacon was so immersed in this painting that he embarked upon a series of work based upon it. Velázquez's own creation was inspired by El Greco's (1541 - 1614) 'Portrait of a Cardinal' (1600).
'Portrait of a Cardinal' (1600) by El Greco.
Bacon fused the Velázquez portrait from 1650 with a shot from the Odessa Steps sequence of Sergei Eisenstein's cinematic masterpiece, 'Battleship Potemkin' (1925). Bacon first saw the film in 1935 and viewed it frequently thereafter. He kept a photographic still of the scene in his studio, which showed a close-up of the nurse's head, screaming in panic and terror and with broken pince-nez spectacles hanging from her blood-stained face. By the early 1950s, it had become an obsessive motif, to the point, according to art critic and Bacon biographer Michael Peppiatt, that "it would be no exaggeration to say that, if one could really explain the origins and implications of this scream, one would be far closer to understanding the whole art of Francis Bacon." (Peppiatt, p. 24)
Left: A nanny screams after being stabbed in the eye by a Cossack, 'Battleship Potemkin' (1925).
Right: Bacon cited Nicholas Poussin's (1594 - 1665) 'The Massacre of the Innocents' as "the best human cry in painting", and its influence is tangible in Bacon's Papal series.
Ian watches the Hindenburg crashing on a large screen.
The Hindenburg explodes at Lakehurst, New Jersey, 6th May 1937, killing 36 people (including one ground crew). At the end of the video, Squire and Mani run 'into' the scene of the crash, but only Squire returns.
Two music videos from 1997 and 1998 would notably draw inspiration from the work of Francis Bacon.
Rows 1, 2 & 3: Dead Man Walking video stills. The third video still is modelled on 'Portrait of Joel-Peter Witkin' (1984) by photographer Cynthia Witkin. With the passing of Bacon in 1992, there was a renewed interest in his work. John Squire needed no introduction to Bacon's work, however, with strong traces of Crucifixion (1933) evident in a Stone Roses photoshoot from 1989. Another musician well aware of
"the greatest painter in the world and the best this country has produced since Turner" (Lord Gowrie, England's Minister for the Arts) was David Bowie, whose 'Dead Man Walking' video from 1997, directed by Floria Sigismondi, uses a range of Bacon works. There is a discernible Bacon influence too, on Bowie's 'Little Wonder' video from that same year, also directed by Sigismondi.
Rows 4, 5 & 6: See also the video for 'Lotus' (1998) by R.E.M., directed by Stephane Sednaoui, for an example of another music video clearly influenced by Francis Bacon.
The Ten Storey Love Song video shows a figure struggling with their dependence on drugs, and attempting to kick the habit. In one scene ("I've got loving enough for two"), Ian creates space on the bed for a friend, by moving himself and the pillows to one side of the bed. This mood is achieved in Gwen Stefani's 'Cool' video - also directed by Sophie Muller - where the space beside a seated Stefani signifies a heartbreaking absence. Just as in Vincent van Gogh's (1853 - 1890) 'The Bedroom at Arles' (1888), there is a yearning for renewed friendship in each of these scenes. Van Gogh created the first version of this painting during one of the happiest interludes in his life, believing that his move to Arles would mark a new chapter in his art. He asked his brother, Theo, to persuade Paul Gaugin (1848 - 1903) to join him, and rapidly painted a series of works to hang on the walls, creating a welcoming atmosphere for his new guest. In 'The Bedroom at Arles' (just as in this Ten Storey Love Song scene) there is a duality in the placement of items - two chairs, two pillows, pairs of pictures - intimating his expectation of companionship.
Top: Ian Brown, Ten Storey Love Song video.
Second row: Gwen Stefani, 'Cool'.
Rows three to six: Despite their best efforts, Gwen and her partner cannot fill the void in their relationship.
Seventh row: 'The Bedroom at Arles' (1888) by Vincent van Gogh.
Eighth row: This shot, where John looks around at us, watching him watch Ian - all through the medium of television - is an embodiment of postmodernism. John, seated beside Mani, looks to the camera - breaking the fourth wall - and then at his watch (ninth row, a pose which Reni would replicate for the guitarist in Santa Mani). Sophie Muller informs me that this is an in-joke, with John gesturing impatience at having to wait for Ian to arrive for the shoot ! In the process, Squire is disrupting our learnt viewing practices, as we do not expect him to be aware of our presence; he is breaking our voyeuristic gaze. Time drags for Ian's character in this video. We see him struggle to find respite from anything he can around him, only to be confronted by an 'evil' Mani (tenth row) and a 'distorted' John (a face 'drawn without lines', eleventh row).
Twelfth row: In the final scene of the video, Ian - very much to one side of the bed - looks forlornly towards the camera.
Thirteenth and fourteenth rows: Such playful incorporation of a band's previous music video(s) can be found in other releases, such as 'The Return of the Los Palmas 7' by Madness and 'Happy When It Rains' by The Jesus and Mary Chain.
The opening sequence of the video recreates the setting of the right panel of Bacon's 'Crucifixion' (1965), which shows two seated men beside a solitary, contorted figure.
Left: Bacon used to say that between birth and death is the violence of life. He was remorselessly drawn to the extremes of existence. His work manipulated and distorted source material into images of physical and psychological extreme. His work stripped religious iconography, so that they became images of stark, almost bestial cruelty. Shown here is the right panel of Bacon's 'Crucifixion' (1965). Across each of the three panels, the work shows three forms of violent death. This triptych was the third such which Bacon painted related to the Crucifixion, and follows 1944's 'Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion', and the 'Three Studies for a Crucifixion' of 1962. For Bacon, images of the crucifixion were "a magnificent armature on which you can hang all types of feeling and sensation." He believed that they allowed him to examine "certain areas of human behaviour" in a unique way, as the armature of the theme had been accumulated by so many old masters. (Schmied, p. 78). The 1965 work closely follows the 1962 triptych in mood, colour and form, and continues the artist's preoccupation with the imagery of the slaughterhouse. However, whereas the earlier work had an urgency and sense of struggle, the 1965 crucifixion shows defeated and butcher figures splayed on beds and hanging upside down on hooks. In the left hand panel, a human carcass is shown lying on the bed. The figure is covered in splintlike bandages which, according to the artic critic Hugh Davies, suggest "the frilly parer collars used by butchers to dress up joints of meat." (Davies & Yard, p. 44). In the central panel, a half human, half animal hybrid figure hangs upside down from an angled scaffold structure. On the right hand canvas, two men are shown watching the scene. They have been described by Davies as possibly being intended as "tormentors, witnesses, or fellow victims." (Davies & Yard, p. 45) The solitary figure in this right hand canvas was inspired by Michelangelo's nudes, and is wearing an armband with a delicately drawn swastika. Bacon subverted artistic conventions by using the triptych format of renaissance altarpieces to show the evils of humanity, rather than the virtues of Christ.
Right: Michelangelo's 'David'. For the Ten Storey Love Song artwork, Squire would superimpose the Love Spreads cherub logo (with the chevron turned upside down) onto the genitalia of one of Michelangelo's David's, on 'David And His 34 Slightly Misshapen Brothers'. David's genitalia is covered on royal visits; at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, a stone fig leaf is kept in a case close to their plaster cast of the 'David' for this very purpose. Michelangelo's sculptural masterpiece represents a triumph in overcoming the seemingly impossible, and acts as a fitting visual embodiment of both song and video. The lovers separated by the wall with no breach; the hugely straining battle against drug addiction depicted in the video.
There is a brief close-up of Mani running his hand through his hair, which may be recreating the right panel of a Bacon triptych painting, 'Three Figures in a Room, 1964.'
Bacon's work walks along the tightrope between abstract and figurative painting. Compare this shot of Mani to the right panel of Bacon's 'Three Figures in a Room, 1964.'
In another scene, Ian looks anxiously towards Mani, who, instantly Innocent, assumes the identity of pope.
Compare this shot of Mani to a Bacon painting entitled 'Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X' (1953). Bacon's harsh vertical brush strokes add to the intensity of the piece. The choice of red (rather than purple) for Mani in this scene indicates reference to the Velázquez painting, 'Portrait of Pope Innocent X'.
This is followed by a close-up of Mani.
Compare this shot of Mani to Bacon's 'Head VI' (1949). Bacon's use of frames suggests imprisonment, and Adolf Eichmann's glass cage during his 1961 trial in Jerusalem is a common reference.
Approximately one minute into the video, Ian's body takes on the form of Bacon's 'Sleeping Figure'.
Compare this overhead shot of Ian to Bacon's 'Sleeping Figure'.
Just before John kisses his reflection in the mirror, he sits beside Ian, clasping his hands together, looking upwards.
Top row: John and Ian, Ten Storey Love Song video. John then gives indication with his hands as to how the camera is to quickly pan down, towards himself and Ian (second row). The final resting position of Squire's clasped hands (after giving this instruction to Sophie Muller) closely resembles the right panel of Bacon's 'Study for Self-Portrait, 1985' (third row). In a 1989 Transmission interview, John asks the cameraman, "Can I just have a little look through there mate ?", and looks at Ian through the lens (fourth, fifth and sixth screenshots). One senses that the pensive John, to some degree, would rather be on the other side of the camera, directing activities.
Succour emerges for Ian in the form of a fairy, who sprinkles dust from her wand; Ian's battle, however, is far from over.
In the subsequent scene, we witness the contortion of Squire's body as he moves towards a washbasin, and kisses his reflection in the mirror. In a Rembrandt vein, Bacon often painted his own reflection from the mirror, an experience he called "observing the work of death".
I used to live in a room full of mirrors...
This five-second sequence (rows two, three and four) merges two Bacon artworks, 'Figure at a Washbasin' (1976, top left) and 'Portrait of George Dyer Staring into a Mirror' (1967, top right). The mirror into which John Squire is admiring himself becomes distorted, just as it does in 'Portrait of George Dyer Staring into a Mirror.' This scene can be interpreted as a microcosm of drug use. In the context of the video, 'Figure at a Washbasin' is used to illustrate the damage caused to the body; 'Portrait of George Dyer Staring into a Mirror' captures the narcissistic effect of cocaine use. Dyer, dressed in a gangster's lounge suit, is deformed and severed, with the reflection of his face fractured in the mirror. This portrayal of Bacon's lover and muse, is symbolic of the strong sense of isolation and detachment that the artist felt in their often stormy relationship. Just as Dyer's gaze of himself is captured forever in the Bacon painting, so also is Squire's; we are never shown Squire's lips leaving the surface of the mirror after the second kiss - he is captured in that pose forever.
Ian is lying on a bed throughout the video, having very strange experiences and sweating profusely at times.
Ian, Ten Storey Love Song video.
Bacon's 'Version Two of Lying Figure with Hypodermic Syringe' can be seen as an embodiment of the video's theme.
"Served my time / Served it well / You made my soul a cell..."
Top row: "Another martyr to your hypodermic kiss...". 'Version Two of Lying Figure with Hypodermic Syringe' (1968). Note the striking use of red throughout the video. The 'cube' outline (a feature of many of Bacon's works) of the sufferer's world is replicated in the video, as if the figure is somehow trapped in that world. This 'cube' effect is further enhanced by the grimy transparency of the room's walls in the video. Reflecting on this painting on Time Changes Everything, Squire weaves an adroit lyric in the song's opening verse: "Your needle don't ever seem to miss" - neither does the needle ever seam to miss. The syringe has a 'hypodermic kiss' and so too, a 'hypodermic hiss'. Mani and Squire emerge from 'within' the cube (second row) and smash two large blocks of ice (third and fourth rows) - is this meant to represent someone who is trying to 'smash' a drug habit ? John rubs a small ice cube on Ian's face (fifth row), before putting the cube in his mouth (sixth row); in case there was any doubt, the struggle is now most definitely within Ian's own body. The efforts of Mani and Squire to smash the blocks of ice is then interspersed with a shot of Ian's head in contact with the large cube (seventh row). Tellingly, at the end of the video, Ian takes a beleaguered swipe at a reformed block of ice (bottom row). Incidentally, Reni's nickname for Squire was 'Ice cold cube', due to the guitarist's preference for solitude in the Second Coming era.
Ian almost seems to come alive during the solo, energized by the arrival of help in the form of Mani and Squire. They caringly move him and his bed around in a different position, recalling a Bacon triptych painting from 1972, entitled 'Three Studies of Figures on Beds.'
Rows 1 - 3: Mani and Squire come to Ian's aid in the Ten Storey Love Song video.
Bottom row: 'Three Studies of Figures on Beds' (1972) by Francis Bacon.
There is, however, no escape from this nightmare; note the narrowness of the dead-end from which Mani emerges, bouncing a football. In psychoanalysis, addiction is associated with a regression to infantile stages (Sándor Radó, 1933, and Otto Fenichel, 1945). Mani bounces a football in front of Ian at various points of the video, and is also seen jumping on the sofa like an impatient child. The video's claustrophobic confinement to bed for its entire duration, like Frida Kahlo's (1907 - 1954) 'The Dream', is interplaying between the tendrils of life and death.
Top: 'The Dream' (1940) by Frida Kahlo. All of life's important events take place in bed: conception, birth and death. Beds are symbolically resonant, measurers of time, and for Kahlo an ever-present reality, as she was confined to hers as a child, teenager and woman. It was also in bed that she began to paint.
Bottom: Like the woman in 'The Nightmare' (1781) by Henry Fuseli (1741 - 1825), Ian is experiencing nightmarish visions from his bed. The Nightmare simultaneously offers both the image of a dream - by indicating the effect of the nightmare on the woman - and a dream image, in symbolically portraying the sleeping vision. Sophie Muller spoke about a 'state of dreams' concept for the video in her interview with This Is The Daybreak.
The influence of Edgar Degas (1834 - 1917) is also evident in the Ten Storey Love Song video. In one scene, John Squire stands with his hands on a chair. Beside him is a table with a painting on it, showing horses in motion (Degas had a special preoccupation with horses). The recurrence of horses in the video works on several levels. One such way is its use as a term for the drug heroin.
I don't know how I'm gonna tell you / I can't play with you no more...
Top: In this scene from the Ten Storey Love Song video, John Squire is restaging 'Sulking' (c.1869 - 71, second row) by Degas. This Degas work serves as a double portrait, nontraditional in the sense that the man and woman are physically distant from one another, and seem emotionally apart as well. Degas has emphasized the lack of communication between the two figures. We sense that they are not strangers by virtue of the woman's casual stance, and the way she and the man seem to have turned away from one another, as though they had just been speaking. The man's slumped posture and furrowed brow also express frustration, or some other strong emotion. The two are isolated from each other both physically and psychologically. The absence of some sort of dialogue or closeness between them becomes the strongest presence in this image.
Third row: In several Degas works, the chair signifies an absent person. In 'Hélène Rouart in her Father's Study' (c. 1886), the chair signifies the absent father of Hélène, Henri Rouart, Degas's lifelong friend. In this intriguing portrait, Hélène is utterly overwhelmed by signs of her father. She stands in his study, surrounded by his art collection, posing behind his chair, which is colossal compared with her, as if behind a restraining fence. She is diminished by the imagined presence of her father, who might be just outside the room - though was actually travelling in Venice when this was painted. Hélène has a pasty complexion, her hair is flattened, her dress encases her. She lists like a passenger on a swaying deck. This is the ailing, unsatisfied daughter of a 19th-century patriarch, so subjugated to the overwhelming presence of her father - images of his taste, his wealth - that she seems half-dead. To her left is a landscape of Naples by Corot, and below this, a drawing by Millet; Hélène is juxtaposed with these as another of her father's treasures. To her right is the glass case containing her father's collection of Egyptian funerary artefacts. She too is mummified and entombed in this room. Degas makes Hélène show the ringless fingers of her left hand. The only man in her life, this painting suggests in a brutal way, is her father. Degas's 1879 painting, 'Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando', also in the National Gallery, has a woman flying in the air, alone and free in the open space above the crowd, hanging by her teeth from the trapeze. Hélène Rouart, the well-behaved daughter of the bourgeoisie, is repressed, dulled in a way that Degas's proletarian performers are not. She is painted to make her as lifeless as possible: her hands drape limply over the chair back, her face is passionless. In this music video, the chair is perhaps signifying the absence of Reni. The sofa setting in the video calls to mind
Manet's 'Le Repos (A Portrait of Berthe Morisot)' (1870). In this painting, Manet's sister-in-law is depicted reclining awkwardly on an overstuffed couch. Her left hand is draped elegantly across the cushioned seat, but Manet uses loose, flat brushstrokes for her right, lending it a claw-like quality.
Fourth and fifth rows: Sophie Muller's camera races from Brown towards a distant, stationary Squire, emphasizing a 'distance' between the two.
Sixth, seventh and eighth rows: In 'Citizen Kane' (1941), Susan pieces together a jigsaw whilst sitting on the floor; Kane positions himself a relatively vast distance from his wife, illustrating their deteriorating relationship.
Ninth row: Edward Hopper went to great lengths in 'Sunlight In A Cafeteria' (1958) to perfect a 'distance' between two figures.
Bottom row (left): Even the past was tense. This photo in a lift (where John, it seems, would rather run a mile, than smile) perhaps more than any best represents the emotional distance between John and the rest of the band circa Second Coming. The Stone Roses reemerged from their hiatus in December 1994, giving the impression of a thoroughly depressed and disjointed unit. The Stone Roses were woefully disorganized upon their return from a five-year layoff. On U.S. radio interviews, callers frequently ask the band about their upcoming live performances and future plans, and the Roses seem to have as little knowledge of their next moves as their American audience. Sophie Muller's recollection of Ian's eventual arrival on a Reni-less Ten Storey Love Song video set, is a perfect illustration of the band's woeful disorganisation in this era (Ian has since stated in interviews that Reni was getting up at 8 o'clock every night). See Sophie Muller's answers to "How did the shoot progress ?", "Did you detect any tensions within the band on the shoot ?" and "Did Ian have an alternative plan ?" here.
Bottom row (right): Asked in a U.S. MTV interview why the second album took so long, each band member gave their individual response: "We went through three different producers." (Reni) / "We had a few setbacks along the way, a few people dying." (Mani) / "We sleep in late." (Squire) / "We spent the first few months just listening to records on big speakers." (Brown). Though perhaps coincidental, watch the grimace on Squire's face as Brown is delivering his line. Mani's line alluded to a number of close friends of the band who had recently passed away - including several of Mani's through heroin - and Philip Hall, the fondly remembered Roses' publicist who had agreed to manage the band shortly before his untimely death from cancer in 1993. "I've seen 14 of my mates die in a year from heroin overdoses. That was last year, the year we were making the LP. Every week there'd be someone on the phone, saying, 'Thingy's dead' or 'Whatsit's OD-ed in his mum's bedroom'..." (Mani speaking to the NME, 4th March 1995). Speaking to Uncut magazine in February 1998, Ian was fiercely critical of John for his refusal to attend Philip Hall's funeral: "I said 'At least show his mother and father that he meant something.' But no, he wouldn't come to the funeral. The first rock of civilisation is when they bury the dead. I knew there was something the matter with the kid then. Nobody enjoys funerals, but I thought differently about him that day. I thought 'Little fucker.'" The period between the band's two album's was particularly difficult for Mani, whose father died from a heart attack in 1991, and whose mother suffered a stroke. Ian and John came together in March 2011 to pay their respects to Mani's mother, who had passed away. The three men were photographed together after the funeral at The Nelson Tavern in Failsworth, Manchester. In poor taste, sections of the press - The Sun being the worst culprit - took this gathering in grief as an opportunity to anticipate a reformation. Mani was quick to respond to this invasion of privacy: "Two old friends meeting up after 15 years to pay their respects to my mother does not constitute the reformation of The Stone Roses. Please fuck off and leave it alone. It isn't true and isn't happening." So keen was Smart on 3rd December 2011 to report on the band taking to the stage that he scripted the following 'exclusive': "THE STONE ROSES played their first live gig in public for 15 years last night, The Sun can reveal. John Squire, 49, Ian Brown, 48, Gary 'Mani' Mounfied, 49, and Alan 'Reni' Wren, 47, stunned fans when they appeared on stage at The Ritz, in their home town Manchester. The band were playing a benefit gig for the victims of Hillsborough, on the same bill as indie rockers The Farm." In actual fact, The Stone Roses' rhythm section was nowhere to be seen at this event; Mani at the time was on holiday in America with his wife Imelda. The Sun reporting mistruths on Hillsborough... Who would have thought it ?
Squire has implanted some clues within the first Love Spreads video which hint at the content of the forthcoming Ten Storey Love Song video.
Top row: In the Ten Storey Love Song video, John and Mani are seen viewing the second Love Spreads video on TV. The Love Spreads cherub logo forms part of the hanging baby mobile, seen at the beginning of the Ten Storey Love Song video. Near the beginning of the first Love Spreads video, we see a shot of a frying pan, with three slices of bacon - here, perhaps is a clue as to the theme of the forthcoming Ten Storey Love Song video.
Second row: An amalgamation of two scenes at the end of the first Love Spreads video acts as a precursor to the Papal depiction in the Ten Storey Love Song video: a 'hidden' clip of Squire's face superimposed onto a Papal model goes to a shot of Mani with his mouth wide open, screaming. Merge these two images, and one has 'Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X'. Looking at the music video-as-canvas, this idea of the artist disguising themself within their work has a long tradition in the history of art, for example, in the flayed skin held by Saint Bartholomew in Michelangelo's 'The Last Judgement'.
Third row: Several instances of Squire playing with the subconscious can be found in the first Love Spreads video. It is likely that the short clip of the shooting gallery sign with the words, '12 years and over', is a clue that Squire sensed 1996 would be his final year with the band (who formed in 1984). If we assume that there is substance to the inclusion of this '12 years and over' sign, then it is interesting to note that, near the end of the Love Spreads video (just as the coda is about to begin), we see a shot of Squire (in costume), then a '3' and '4', in quick succession. Squire left the group in April 1996, just months short of his 34th birthday. In conversation with the NME in March 1995, John Squire was hinting that the band's time might soon be up: "We hope we will be together this time next year but we can't say. It's a random universe. I can really see us drifting apart if the band didn't exist." Speaking to This Is The Daybreak in 2002, Simon Dawson gives clear indication that the guitarist was set to quit, as the Second Coming tour reached its latter stage: Q38) Could you foresee Squire wanting to leave during the tour ? Did you see the cracks in the band ? Yes, most of the crew knew that there was a chemistry problem between some members of the touring party in the later stages of the ('95) tour. I didn't think they would work together again in the studio after the tour with that line-up.
Fourth row: Ian Brown and John Squire offer competing narratives as to the circumstances of Reni's departure from the band in April 1995. Keen to portray himself as the peacekeeper, Brown had claimed that it was Squire and Reni who had the critical falling out. Speaking to a University College Dublin publication on 15th January 2003, Squire paints a quite different picture. "Ian had a row with Reni and came into rehearsal and told me and Mani that he'd had it with Reni, and that he'd never work with him again, and that he wanted to see him in the gutter. And we said 'Hang on a minute, we've got a tour starting in ten days, or 12 days I think it was. But I knew from Ian's...I could see in his eyes that if it came to it, Ian would walk out. In fact he said, 'It's me or him.' So we had no choice but to look for somebody else. I was determined to tour the album and there's no way I could have done that without the singer." Squire goes on to dispute Ian's side of the story: "Strangely, I know that Ian told Dave Simpson (Guardian writer) that it was me that had the falling out with Reni and that was the reason he left." The guitarist is then asked about Ian's motivations for incessantly laying blame at his door for the demise of the band: "I know that some people would assume from my silence that that amounts to an admission of guilt...so I'm pleased you can see through Ian's publicity machine." In the February 2005 edition of Q magazine, Squire reiterates the claim that Ian issued an ultimatum of 'It's me or him' to the rest of the band. The truth would finally come out years later when Brown, tellingly, changed his own story (and, in the process, validating that of Squire), in conversation with John Robb. This Ian Brown extract is from the 2009 John Robb book, 'The North Will Rise Again: Manchester Music City 1976 - 1996': "We just got fed up with Reni not turning up and one day me and him had a bit of a barny and he said to me 'right get yourself another drummer' so I did. I heard that Robbie Maddix was a good drummer so I phoned him up and that was it. The next day Reni phoned me and said 'I need to get down to rehearsal early so that me and Mani can rehearse and you and John can come down later' and I said 'I done what you told me to do last night' and he said 'what do you mean ?' and I said 'you told me to get another drummer so I have' and I said 'what you going to do now then ?' And he said 'sign on I suppose' I said 'I'll make sure you get your quarter of money.'" Reni's attitude - quitting one minute, buoyant and bubbling the next - obviously rankled Ian. On this note, the first Love Spreads video contains a rather intriguing clip of Ian and Reni involved in a disagreement of some sort. Reni is seen making some sort of appeal, to which Ian repeatedly shakes his head in refusal; Ian's attention is diverted briefly by John, to his right, opening the door. At the end of the video, when dozens of clips are played within seconds, a 'hidden' edit of this scene can be found. The camera has now panned out to show Mani, with his arm aloft, standing to Ian's left (fifth row). Fast forward to the 2012 fiasco in Amsterdam and the finale at Hampden Park in 2017, and we see these very same communication problems resurfacing. Before departing the stage in Glasgow, the band have two three-man hugs, one without Reni, and the other without Ian. Ironically, the 'Top of the World' pose intended to project unity would, in the end, put their discord on full display. Even upon leaving the stage, Ian and Reni are jostling for attention and applause, with each trying to have the 'last word'.
Penultimate row: This playful insertion of subliminal messages in a music video has precedent in, for example, The Beatles' 'Magical Mystery Tour' film (1967), in which a shot of a costumed George Harrison) is flashed on-screen in the introduction.
Bottom row: Like a phoenix, rose again from the ashes ? At the time of their reformation, the band's official site included images of their name spray painted on walls (a throwback to former days). The featured image shows a mysterious number, 602427. 602-427 is an area code and phone exchange unique to Phoenix, Arizona. They live !
Francis Bacon's artwork is also to be found on the front cover of Second Coming. The image to the bottom-left of the 'As Seen On TV' logo is a cropped 'Blood on the Floor' (1986). A 2003 artwork by Squire entitled 'Strange Feeling', featuring the emblazoned names of J. G. Ballard, Francis Bacon and Damien Hirst, affirms this influence. Hirst, a fervent Stone Roses fan, formed the titles of two artworks - 'Fantastic Expectations' and 'Amazing Revelations' (2003) - from Ian Brown's F.E.A.R.. This solo track and I Am The Resurrection featured among the artist's Desert Island Discs selections in May 2013, in conversation with Kirsty Young. Getting just a little carried away, the artist claimed in June 2012 that "The Stone Roses are more important than Picasso".
"Talking Ballard, Bacon and Hirst to me..."
Top: Second Coming artwork detail.
Second row (left): 'Blood on the Floor' (1986) by Francis Bacon.
Second row (right): 'Strange Feeling' (oak paint on wood, 14" x 6", 2003) by John Squire. One of John Squire's 2011 Celebrity artworks features the name of another of the Young British Artists, 'Tracey Emin' (ink & oil on canvas, 90cm x 70cm).
Penultimate & bottom rows: Hirst's 'spot painting' design (itself, appropriated from the work of Thomas Downing) adorned The Stone Roses' equipment and fashion on some reunion shows (this bass has also had a Hirst makeover). Twenty-Five years of Hirst's spot paintings ('The Complete Spot Paintings 1986 - 2011') were put on exhibition in 2012.
The influence of the Ten Storey Love Song video is evident on Oasis's Champagne Supernova video, in which Liam Gallagher, on a bed, surrounded by uncommunicative bandmates, has distorted, seemingly drug-induced, visions.
Liam Gallagher's plea for companionship finds literal expression at the end of the video, when he puts together toy blocks to spell 'HELP' (this also pays homage to The Beatles' 1965 soundtrack single and LP of the same name). The camera zooming in on a close-up of Noel's eye (first row), with a sharp subsequent recognition of this by the knowingly viewed figure at 3.38 (second row), recreates an effect from The Beatles' 'A Day In The Life' video (third row). At 4.39, Liam momentarily takes a seated position (fourth row) akin to Mani's papal figure in the Ten Storey Love Song video. The gleaming baby mobile (decorated with the Love Spreads cherub logo, fifth row) in the Ten Storey Love Song video, becomes one of stars in the Champagne Supernova video (this can be seen in flashes, for example at 2.02, 2.03 and 3.38 in the Champagne Supernova video).
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