Gnarls Barkley – Run

Pass me my pom poms and ra-ra skirt cos I’m heading up the cheerleaders for this clip — it’s a masterpiece!

Let’s consider Run’s setup for a moment. Gnarls Barkley find themselves in an imaginary late ’80s public access show called City Vibin’ — “the double number one, crazy-fresh show” — compered by a boob (Justin Timberlake, actually) wearing a you-beaut Michael Jackson moonwalking jacket.

The show is premiering Run and the assembled throng go spare. The studio crew is a sea of frugging, jitterbugging, jiving, crunking, robotman, breakdancing b-boys and b-girls. The wardrobe department has had a field day. You’ll find off-the shoulder distressed denim overalls, lime green lycra shorts — the full gamut of fashion disasters – too shiny, too busy, too much…

It’d be laugh out loud funny if it wasn’t so infectiously, crazy-fresh funky.

So there you have it. Perfect Pop teamed to a perfectly pitched video. And, for a column that thrives on taking the piss out of the crap, the overblown and the over-serious, Run has stopped us in our tracks.

Not so fast. There’s one small snag… a caveat, a proviso, a proverbial manure-storm has hit the revolving climate controller — apparently it’s medically unadvisable for certain viewers to watch a number scenes in ‘Run’ for fear of seizures.

As most will be aware, strobing can cause fits among those who suffer from epilepsy. It’s a widely recognised phenomenon and there’s even a test in the US that needs to be passed before video footage can be shown on the telly or cinema. It’s called the Harding Test — it sounds serious, because it is. Run failed the Harding Test.

The video was swiftly yanked from MTV playlists and the news wires ran white hot. I mean, you only have to dip a virtual toe in the Interweb to get a sense of the consternation that the uncut Run video has caused. I applaud the heart-felt sentiment of this Guardian journo: “Our heart goes out to those poor fans with epilepsy who must have been so excited at the prospect of a new video, only to find that watching said video brings them abject discomfort. Like discovering your favourite donut gives you carpal tunnel syndrome.”

Indeed. The offending scenes are very off putting, even for those without neurological maladies. I have to say I did find myself averting my eyes at times.

So there you have it, a potentially perfect music video sabotaged by Danger Mouse’s lairy mauve jacket… That’s right, it’s the jacket. I know, I know, most people mistakenly believed the authorities had a problem with the black and white finale with all the hypnotic carry-on. Not so.

Which, once you know, makes more sense of Danger Mouse’s quotes. Apparently he described the video as ‘cool’: “It works for me. But I’m not necessarily that easily seasick.” Clearly, or else he wouldn’t have picked out the purple strobe suit in the first place!

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