Amidst all the QX office pandemonium for Kylie’s new single, one thing in particular caught our eyes. We recognise that tinselly backdrop and glittery heart in the promo shots…it’s wildly eclectic cabaret venue Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club!
As much as we pretend to be blasé Londoners completely detached from the celebrities who we share these streets with, we always get excited when we spot the city and its landmarks in music videos. Ooh look, there’s Taylor Swift getting a kebab in Kentish Town! There’s Dexys Midnight Runners dancing outside an offy in Kennington! There’s Jamiroquai in a space suit waltzing past an alley where somebody tossed us off once! As long as we can afford the rent to live here, the novelty will never wear off.
So with that in mind, we’ve picked out some of our favourite music videos filmed in London! Let us know if we’ve missed your favourites! Actually, that’s a bit too Youtuber. Just keep them to yourselves.
Kylie Minogue – Timebomb
Despite what the Stetson-donning, guitar twanging, new single would have you believe, ‘Dancing’ isn’t Kylie’s first time at the rodeo. Far from it. As well as giant Kylie in the video for Giving You Up, there’s the deliciously camp video for criminally underrated banger, Timebomb, which sees her strutting through Soho, stealing phones, and popping into a lunchtime nightclubs. All before heading back to Chinatown in the evening, presumably in time for an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Madonna – Hung Up
Madonna had quite the taste for London in the early noughties, only leaving it to don tweed and go shooting in the Home Counties. She filmed a lot of the video for Hung Up in London, including at a restaurant in Chinatown and the Heygate Estate in Elephant & Castle. The estate is no longer there sadly, replaced by luxury apartments that would have even the Queen of Pop baulking at the price.
Mura Masa & Charli XCX – 1 night
We know this one because we used to live RIGHT ROUND THE CORNER from the Hoxton estate shown in the video. We should be flattered that they chose it as the gritty location for their trop-pop slinker, but the windows didn’t really shut properly and we had a permanent cold from October to March, so mixed feelings looking back. It’s also just across the road from where The Verve filmed the video for Bittersweet Symphony, with Richard Ashcroft insolently pushing people out of the way in a rarely-seen-since combo of both a leather and a denim jacket.
Tina Turner – Private Dancer
Some things just don’t sound right together, no matter how many times you say them. Tina Turner and Brockley, for example. But it’s where she filmed the video for Private Dancer, in the Rivoli Ballroom. The décor’s faded glamour has been used by a multitude of fellow musical icons, including Elton John, Lana Del Rey, and Martine McCutcheon.
Sugababes – About You Now
It’s actually quite an unremarkable video really, but it is a banger, so we felt inclined to include it. Only watch if you like non-descript Lambeth streets and shaky close-ups of the City.
Fergie – London Bridge
As you can imagine, there are loads of songs about the Big Smoke filmed on these very streets, like Pet Shop Boys’ ‘London’ and Lily Allen’s ‘LDN’. But our absolute favourite is Fergie’s London Bridge, which she spends grinding up against a commendably diligent Beefeater and balling around on the Thames, all while making the rookie mistake of confusing London Bridge with Tower Bridge. What is she like?!
Sinitta – So Macho
They don’t make them like this anymore. Sinitta gets out of a black cab at Harley Street and visits her therapist, before both proceeding to…well, actually we can’t really tell to be honest. The dodgy lighting and gurning expressions lend it the feel of a fever dream. Once it’s finished, you do wonder if it ever happened. IT REALLY DID.
Amy Winehouse – Back To Black
We love the monochrome maudliness of the Back to Black video and the funeral procession ends up in Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington, which is well worth a visit in itself. We did a shoot with drag sensation Sierra Llobera there years ago. Interesting fact, it’s also where Björk collaborator and electronic experimentalist Arca goes to get his rocks off. We like to think of him sneaking around the bushes in those scaffold-like, thigh high boots he wears on stage. In fact, we just like to think of Arca.
Anyway, we digress.