Someone once said to me, “Your best songs are those that tell a story” (I wonder if you agree... )
So when searching for inspiration, I reinvestigated an idea for a story that had been loitering in my head for a while.
Apparently, Paul McCartney once got rid of the rain threatening to dampen one of his concerts by ordering silver iodide to be dropped from a plane into the clouds. It made me wonder about a couple of things. Firstly - Is Paul McCartney actually in charge of the weather?! Does that make him God now!?
And then my imagination took me away from Sir Paul and elsewhere.
What if the clouds never move on their own and somewhere up there, there is someone flying about in a machine whose job it is to chase the storm clouds away before the entire sky is darkened, and the sun permanently blocked from view?
And what if someone spotted this person?
Or what if, instead of being ‘caught’ they introduced themselves to someone; someone who they could inspire to take on the job when they no longer could, and who wouldn’t abuse the power they’d have?
Then all sorts of metaphors started to spring to mind: our responsibility to look after the planet and how it takes courage and risk to solve life’s problems.
So the story starts with a boy, looking out of his bedroom window on a cloudy night, when he sees something strange land in the garden.
When he goes out to investigate, a lady (dressed as if she’s just walked out of Mortal Engines) steps off the gang plank, and beckons him aboard her flying machine.
With some ethereal watercolour illustrations, it’d make a lovely children’s storybook, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy ‘Chase the Storm’ in song form.
‘Chase the Storm’ wasn’t just a musical project. Frances Sladen created a beautiful companion video to tell the story visually.
In my last post, I mentioned that the song has an underlying theme of climate change and our duty to fix the problem we have caused. This presented a good reason to turn to natural materials to tell the story.
So, last summer, we spent our daily walks exploring the greenest areas we could find nearby and harvested any interesting looking leaves (what a pair of hippies, honestly... )
Using ink, Frances used the natural and paper-cut objects as stencils to create scenes inspired by the song.
We set up a camera, pressed record and Frances created six pieces, each in one take. Each video, when sped up, made part of the artwork video for ‘Chase the Storm’.
Along with the artwork video, we also create a music video with Tim Dunk over in his incredible studio in Leeds. We used projections of vintage footage of early flying machines. My favourite clip was also used in Airplane. See if you can spot it.
Here are some photos taken by Fe showing the making of the official music video.