What I can't understand is this: how come Russel Mulcahy can, during the same shoot that produce the unrelenting awfulness of 'Lonely in Your Nightmare', produce six minutes and six seconds of music video perfection such as 'Save A Prayer'?
We start on a beach with Simon walking (in slow motion) towards Nick. This is quite a Nick heavy video, he seems to have settled down nicely in Sri Lanka, following his shape-shifting shenanigans from the previous video. But his first appearance in this video prompts the question, can Nick Rhodes play the Pan Pipes?
We shall search for evidence that it wasn't actually Nick using the Roland Jupiter 8 syn-flute with a pitch bend.
Anyway, we've got sunsets, palm trees and moodily lit boats, what more could you want? How about a silhouette of John, leaning against a boat, fixing his perfectly coiffured hair?
Cue Simon, sitting alone on a bench, having just put down his book and weak lemon drink. Now, has Simon's hair gone very dark here or has he just got out of the shower? I'm not sure, but we should keep an eye out for Simon's magical barnet. He's got his mournful look on today, he learnt that at drama school, he went to drama school you know. Happily, he is also wearing his tiger-baby (he likes it 'cos it's odd). I like consistency, it provides a sense of order amongst the chaos of our daily lives.
I do like that bench Simon's sitting on, it would look good on my patio. I wonder if John Lewis does them? Sorry, back to the video. His hair is definitely shorter and darker, isn't it?
Back to the tropical island paradise beach, palm trees, moodily lit Simon, being all mournful. He's so sad, even the children are running into the sea to avoid him. Poor Simon, he's really not a happy bunny.
The rest of the band have turned up and are determined to take Simon's mind off what's troubling him with a day packed full of sightseeing activities. The children rejoice! They form a circle and start dancing around in joyous exhaltation for Andy, John, Nick and Roger will surely bring Simon out of his dark mood.
At this point, it's worth noting that there are some really beautifully photographed shots in this video, the style has been copied by many boy-bands since, so it looks almost cliched these days, but remember when Duran Duran did this travelogue style video, no one else had done anything remotely similar. One thing you might notice, however, is the eyelash that got stuck in the camera gate, there on the lower left hand egde of the image. It comes and goes does that eyelash.
Simon walks away from a boat, he is taunted by a disembodied apparition of John, pretending to sing backing vocals. Somehow I doubt that is going to cheer him up much. John also appears to be following Simon around strumming a guitar in that sort of 'I'm going to steal your girlfriend' type of way that John does so well. He is, however, seemingly dressed in pink linen, which seems courageous even for 1982.
Simon does't even bat a eye-lid, he's off to stare at some blokes who are partaking in some extreme pole-fishing. Livin' on the edge...
The band wander along the beach at sunset. It really does look very nice there, doesn't it? Practically idyllic, in fact. John strums away in an idyllic fashion, mocking Simon by mouthing along with the song. However, many of the Sri Lankans are clearly phoning it in, there is a fully crewed and rigged boat sitting on the sand going bloody no-where in a hurry.
Next, it appears that due to some inter-band spat that must have occurred the previous evening. Simon and Nick have been abandoned on a mountain-top ruin, and are being taunted by a helicopter which makes several practice strafing runs and then flies off. I bet Nick was delighted with that, I wonder who came up with that idea (looks at Andy for signs of amusement/guilt).
Back to the fishing! Not the most telegenic sport, is it?
Hold on one cotton-picking minute, Simon's in that model's cobra infested hotel room from the last video! But she's not in bed writhing in the throes of a nightmare this time, she's not bloody there. Nice shutters.
He's now to be found having a little bit of a bop with her. That's nice, a little bop. Romantic but a little sad. Considering the subject of this song, I'd have thought they'd be a lot happier, but I guess sad is happy for deep people (I think I stole that concept from Sally Sparrow). She leaves, Simon does not follow her, this is a schoolboy error and not one that John would have made.
Cut to the rest of the band, in a jungle clearing, pretending to sing backing vocals while John strums in his nice hat. Why do bands do this? We know that John, Nick and Roger aren't singers and that it would appear Andy didn't feature as a backing vocalist on recordings, so why pretend in such a hackneyed way? It always looks shit when bands try this, always. The only thing that's worse is when bands dance to their own records on video in France (see New Moon on Monday & Election Day for evidence). Nick looks spectacularly uncomfortable and out of place in this shot. Nick Rhodes up a tree, I'm fairly sure this is the only time this ever happened and I'm sort of glad it's been captured for posterity. I bet Nick was delighted with that too, I wonder who came up with that idea (looks at Andy for further signs of amusement/guilt).
As an aside, Andy got seriously sick after ingesting water from this lagoon as it was somewhat contaminated with elephant piss. Andy's home cure of alternative non-tobacco based smoked infusion, extra hot chilli and Jack Daniels did not prevent him from being hospitalised on his return to the UK. From this story we can definitively reveal that Andy Taylor is a rock God.
Good to see Simon's stalking elephant is back with reinforcements though.
Andy's turn to strum now, while monks pass by in the distance. Not sure about the symbolism of the monks, but it's possible they just looked cool. Nearly as cool as the reclining Taylor we have in the foreground.
More pretend singing in front of the most amazing rock carving I have ever seen. It is also worth noting that, although it appears that Nick and Andy are normal human sized humans, John appears to have grown to epic proportions and now stand at over 26 feet tall. Or it could be the camera angle and the use of a very small aperture lens. Whichever, it is slightly disconcerting. Excellent on-beat finger clicking action from the Cullercoats guitarist though.
We now begin a series of long slow fades showing frolicking band members, large statues of The Bhudda, monks using sunshades and Simon's stalking elephant attempting to dislodge John and Nick by discharging water from it's trunk in their general direction. I would imagine this to be unpleasant, the water is unlikely to be clean and has been up an elephant's nose. If I discharged water from my nose at people, I would be arrested. Which is why I almost never do it, anymore.
Still, Nick and John look happy.
Back to the mountain top ruins. No rescue for Simon and Nick yet (I'm assuming this is another flashback, although this video is a bit thin on plot). More helicopter shots of temples and that sort of thing, all very pretty and making me want to visit Sri Lanka more and more. The temples look just like enormous boobies. Or is that just me projecting my desires again.
Now the band are coming together to provide moral support for Simon again. Andy is playing the guitar, but if you look carefully, his strumming and chord changes do not match this section of the song. What was Andy playing? Irrespective of whatever it was, they missed a golden opportunity to have him whip out his accordion and give us a quick blast of the Sailor's Hornpipe.
More mood shots of children approaching from a boat intercut with the band approaching a giant statue of The Bhudda, they look up in awed respect, and if I was standing there, I'd be pretty amazed too.
We then get a slow motion shot of John, wearing speedos, doing a proto-backflip in a swimming pool. Nice shoulder work John. Nice speedos.
A few flashback shots to Simon dancing, looking sad and then attempting to steal a child. John and Nick being snotted on by Simon's elephant friend, then a honey shot of the Band which fails to include Andy (although he is there in spirit, there's his guitar).
Fading to dark haired Simon on a bench, still looking mournful. The sightseeing trip idea didn't work then. But at least we got to see Nick up a tree, John covered in elephant snot and Andy being snubbed by Russell Mulcahy once again. Roger was in it too. Somewhere.
I'm not sure Nick can play the pan-pipes. They weren't even plugged in.
Next up - Rio!