SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES : Play At Home (1983) (T.V. documentary).

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First broadcast back in 1983 - when British T.V. was still occasionally worth watching - Play At Home was a short-lived Channel 4 series that permitted prominent "alternative" acts of the day to make free-wheeling documentary films about themselves. Though only a handful of installments were completed, they were all surprisingly well-made & (gasp!) highly entertaining. I taped all of them off of my parents' decrepit Fergusson set at the time, & re-viewed them all so often that the Co-op brand VHS cassette I archived them on must've eventually crumbled to U-matic dust, it's certainly been many years since I last saw it.*

Whereas New Order's film took the viewer behind the scenes of The Hacienda & Factory Records (revealing the irksome industrial minutiae that the day-to-day operating of a major independent label entailed & granting Situationist raconteur Anthony H. Wilson copious opportunity to hold court amongst disgruntled employees or bathe naked with a rather unfortunate Gillian Gilbert), & while Echo & The Bunnymen & XTC both celebrated their respective hometowns (Manchester & Swindon), The Banshees (Robert Smith-era) chose a much more Surrealistic path, reflecting the kaleidoscopic LSD-inspired predilections of their then-current album, A Kiss In The Dreamhouse. Alternating between perturbing Lewis Carroll-esque whimsy & disembodied bad trip psychedelia, & incorporating cameos by contemporaneous Banshees' off-shoots The Creatures & The Glove alongside live & studio performances by the band themselves, it's prismatic carnival of artfully-staged set pieces was unlike anything music-loving British T.V. viewers had seen since, well, The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour, I suppose? I'm actually rather jealous if you've not seen it before, a veritable trip down the rabbit hole awaits...

And the cat riddled with worms chases his tail

*Sadly, at least one episode of Play At Home, focussing on ex-Ravishing Beauty Virginia Astley, has disappeared entirely. Does anybody reading this recall her documentary's intrinsic gist, it's been nearly 30 years since I last saw it?

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