A Festive Steps Story
A winter’s day. In a deep and dark December. I am in Stanmore.
Those who think that video shoots must be a bundle of awesome fun with unicorns and rainbows and sparkly things in the sky have clearly never been to one. We’re at an old church filming the last-minute video for Steps’ cover of “Tragedy” (pause to do “hairdrying” dance move with hands. Feel good now? Smashing……). It is last-minute because it’s been decided to release “Heartbeat” from the band’s debut album as a double A-side to try to capture the coveted Christmas No.1 spot.
Some poor wretches have been on set since 3am, building bits of set; laying tracks for cameras to seamlessly move up and down, and generally trying not to annoy the verger who has also been up since well before dawn to allow everyone access. As I and the journalist and photographer roll in at the more decent hour of 10am, the wretches greet us with haunted looks. Some band members have been on set since 6am, getting into make up to be transformed into brides for the day. It’s been a long year and it’s far from over.
As usual, the video shoot goes smoothly but slowly. An extremely common occurrence on set is for the director to fall behind with his/her personal schedule and demand that everyone works through lunch, a demand which is almost always greeted with widespread disdain as everyone troops off for a food break anyway and often chews extra fastidiously to annoy the director even further.
Late in the afternoon, following yet another long gap in filming, the director announces he’s ready. Everyone is needed back on set. NEARLY everyone IS back on set, but nobody can find Lisa. A hapless runner is sent to locate the North Wales Suzi Quatro. After ten minutes, both return looking slightly sheepish, accompanied by Lisa’s then boyfriend with whom she had been allegedly playing a game of “tonsil tennis” in the graveyard*…….
*For those of you who have heard this story “live”, you all know that “tonsil tennis” is under-egging the pudding here. However, there are some people who read these blogs to their kids to help them sleep and I don’t want to be responsible for nightmares and years of therapy in about 30 years time. Happy Pagan Midwinter Festival!