NEVER mind Twitter anyhow, what of YouTube? Frank Dobson hasn’t bothered – but my oh my, why has it taken me so long to find these little beauties from his Conservative and Lib Dem opponents in Holborn and St Pancras?
Now, you don’t have to watch the videos on this post – my excuse is that it’s part of the job – but wow, just wow. It’s the shimmery gloss of an in-flight airline brochure competing against the home-made charm of a DIY election broadcast. Whichever is better, a fair amount of effort has gone into these clips even though nobody is really sure about what kind of impact they can have on the local polls.
1st up George Lee. Filmed from what looks like an idyllic Bond film location, a sunny lakeside with palm-tree like trees. It’s certainly not Camden. There’s some blurry fade effects, a few wind in the hair moments, George as a young cop, George standing on a hill looking down at the city from the top of a hill. And it’s all set to trippy backbeat and some whirry noises. It’s almost an attempt at hypnosis, his words carefully spaced out as if metered by a metronome. It’s a bit of poetry, a soothing storytelling session. You could press it and sell it as 7″. They should. Just speed it up a little and turn up the backing music, it’d then be like a record by The Streets, a half-rap about George’s dreams of tomorrow delivered in an open neck shirt rather than a tracksuit and cap.
2nd up Jo Shaw. On her Shaw2Win Youtube suite, she stands alongside her chums for a celebration of the Cantelowes ward, a see-saw Lib Dem/Labour neighbourhood. Now, the game is here to guess how many times you will hear ‘Hello, I’m…’ Ben Rawlings, for example, keeps reminding us who he is. The best big hello is at 1.10 – where Jo introduces Fred Carver at the football pitches. His enthusiam, stage presence and wavy arms are priceless. I’m sure you can see Jo trying not to crack up laughing next to him. Then there’s 1.42, where Sarah Hoyle gives an unexplained quizzical look to the heavens when she explains that her and Ben are in Lawford Road to look at some trees, while Jo later attempts to tell us about the Kentish Town Health Centre with the constant interruption of car doors slamming. No need for another take.
So, George wins hands down on slickness but there is a down to earth charm to the Lib Dem film which might just resonate with people – should they ever find it on YouTube (I’m still wondering how many would have the inclination to go searching for it). And the clunky nature of Jo’s vid might just be deliberate, as invites us to think what would happen if we all tried to make a film like this at home. It would probably come out like this, choppy and with wind blowing through the microphone.
On the election trail, there’s nothing to be lost with people identifying with their candidates like that and on a hyperlocal scale, slick and smooth might not always win the day.