The Olympics, Depression, Bradley Wiggins, and “My Ever Changing Moods”

Because the Olympics is almost over, which makes me sad, and this video is my preferred anti-depressant…

Because Bradley Wiggins, cheered on by the Modfather himself, became the first British Cyclist to win the Tour de France and subsequently earned a gold medal in the cycling timed trial and then–to top it all off–hung out with his hero (at a Stone Roses gig, no less), sparking conversation about this infamous video…

But mostly because the video for “My Ever Changing Moods” by The Style Council is one of my favorite things in the world…I’m going to devote an entire post to it. Because I can.

In case you have not yet sold your soul to the star of this video, Paul Weller (I’ve forgotten what that feels like–do you actually do things because you want to, instead of thinking, “What would Paul Weller do?”, “Would Paul Weller approve?”, etc.), let me improve the quality of your life and tell you a little bit about him. Paul Weller was 13 when he formed the Jam, he was 18 when the band had its first top 40 hit in England with “In the City,” and by October 30, 1982, the day he announced the Jam’s disbandment, the group had recorded six studio albums, scored 18 consecutive top 40 singles in the UK (including four number one hits–well, okay, “Beat Surrender” was still a few weeks shy of release at the time of the announcement), and become one of the defining bands of their era. Oh, and he was 24–24! Lennon turned 24 amidst Beatlemania; Weller could have left the music industry at the end of the Jam and his status as a seminal songwriter still would have been secure. Instead he formed the Style Council.

The Jam had always been on the fringes of punk. They wore well-tailored suits. They loved the Beatles. And Tamla Motown. And the Sex Pistols. But the Jam was still very much a punk rock band; the Style Council, however, were once described by Weller as a “musical kama sutra.” The Style Council explored and indulged Weller’s love of soul music (as well as funk, synthpop, house…the man loves everything), only hinted at during the Jam’s tenure, and alienated much of his former fan base.

More alienating perhaps than the music, though, were their videos. The world at large had only known Weller as the dour leader of the Jam; the Style Council exposed another side of Weller rarely seen during the Jam’s heyday–a side with a sense of humor. A sense of humor many people didn’t quite understand. A sense of humor fully exploited in the Style Council’s divinely silly videos. Which is what makes them my favorite things in the world.

Which brings us back to the “My Ever Changing Moods” video (my personal favorite). And Bradley Wiggins. And the Olympics. And me being depressed because the Olympics are ending soon. And me watching this video an unhealthy number of times to combat that depression.

The video begins with Weller preparing for a cycling race (we’ll meet his competitor in a moment) by kissing some inanimate object. I have no idea what it is (I ain’t no cyclist fanatic, people). I only wish it were me. Remember, I said this was unhealthy. Very, very, very, very, very unhealthy.

This is Weller’s competition, rubbing Bengay on his legs or something. His name’s Mick Talbot, aka keyboardist and co-founder of The Style Council. Can you say NERD? (Don’t get me wrong, I still love Mick. He is great.)

This is seriously intense. The race is about to begin, and while Mick is super cool and collected, Weller grits his teeth. I can really see where the press got that angry young man image.

And they’re off! I really like the camerawork here.

Of course Mick is waving at people because it’s the first time he’s been out in public in a few days. Here’s a little tip for ya, Mick: waving at strangers is going to slow you down and make you lose this race. (Yeah, I know, Weller did the exact same thing two seconds earlier, but he looked waaaaaaay cooler.)

So they’re going along, racing and singing, “The cool before the warm, the calm after the storm.” And nobody thinks this is totally weird for a music video or anything.

But then, Paul and Mick decide to take a little snack break. And Weller is really excited about that. He just can’t wait to see what Mick has packed. Neither can I.

Mick packed a banana for Weller. How thoughtful. But then Mick sees some girls across the field dancing and nudges Weller. This is Weller’s reaction. He’s pretty much my favorite human being.

The boys leave in a rush because girls are scary. That thermos looks lonely.

Annnnnd back to the race. Time to kick things into high gear here ‘cos that finish line is near. Whatever Mick ate didn’t really sit too well with him.

Whoa, finish line just ahead! My money’s on Weller. He’s got some wiry little legs.

WHAT? WHAT? I can’t believe it–and, apparently, Mick can’t either. This is probably the first time he’s beaten Weller at anything. Ever.

Weller, classy act that he is, is a good sport about it, though.

Mick even gets a trophy! Weller is a downright adorable loser, though, ain’t he? Well, I’d say.

Party time! Weller is a good, super adorable friend and opens a bottle of champagne to help Mick celebrate. Weller isn’t about to spoil Mick’s fun and tell him that he didn’t exactly just win the Tour de France. How incredibly sweet.

And at the end of the video, they’re still friends. And that marks the end of this utterly ridiculous and wonderful video.

But why do I love it so much? Besides the obvious fact that Paul Weller is wearing biking gear, I think it has a lot to do with the song itself. “My Ever Changing Moods” is my favorite song by the Style Council, bar none (even though it only has 285 plays in my music library). The Jam was a much more consistent band, but the Style Council contains some of Weller’s finest pieces of writing, “My Ever Changing Moods” among them. Weller was also at his most overtly political during the Style Council, and “My Ever Changing Moods” is a song that aches for change, yet the overriding emotion of the song is hope. It’s downright euphoric–not unlike winning the Tour de France and a Gold Medal in a matter of weeks, I’d imagine.