The gorgeous new video from gay singer/songwriter, The Late David Turpin, features plenty of man-on-man love. Here’s what the man himself has to say about ‘Fur’.
When I made the video for Fur I was thinking about hair. Because we live in a pornographic society, hair – like all the realities of the body – is something we seem to either fetishise or attempt to eradicate altogether. Yet we’re all mammals, aren’t we? And whether it’s invisible down or black fuzz that extends across the back and shoulders, we are all covered in hair.
Hair is a sensory organ. I wonder why so much of our popular sexual culture venerates the waxed body, numbed with electrolysis? These are bodies deprived of sense – how can they be sensual bodies? After all, what feeling makes hearts beat faster than when somebody we love reaches out to touch us, and we feel them first in the hairs on the back of an arm, or at the nape of the neck? It seems to me that if the skin is an organ of touch – a sex organ – then the hair is the organ of almost touching, of being about to touch. It’s the organ of romance.
The video for ‘Fur’ is a collaboration with the photographer Mark Duggan and the actress Julie Shanley, as well as some very kind friends, of whom more later. Generally speaking, I like music videos with implied narratives, rather than outright ones – I’ve never really had the patience for repeated anecdotes. For this video, we’re imagining Julie as a kind of Goddess of Love – we’ve called her The Progenitrix – who brings romance into the world, and passes it on to human couples. Bar the one of which I’m a part, the couples we see dancing and embracing in the video are couples in real life as well, and they’re all men.
Visually, I was thinking mainly of Derek Jarman’s The Angelic Conversation and Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bete (the quintessential hairy romance, although I wish Jean Marais could have stayed a beast till the end). On the other hand, I suppose all of us making music videos these days are trying to keep up with ‘Wrecking Ball’ (a song I love, by the way). I’m not under the illusion anybody is going to be shocked by the sight of gay couples in my video – in fact, homoeroticism has become quite The Thing in mainstream pop videos now, as a novel way of arranging spectacular bodies in titillating configurations.
I’m not interested in adding to the sexual bonfire. Instead, I think our video is trying to do something that’s still forbidden – to show the vulnerability that men experience when they’re in love, in this case with each other. For all the thrusting and jutting fake abandon of contemporary pop videos, it’s love, not mere libido, that truly empowers us and makes us free. Yet to show actual intimacy, especially between men, seems to be more prohibited than ever – maybe it’s the last taboo.
So that’s the thread this video is trying to pull at. I hope people might watch it with the lights low, and think about somebody they love.
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