Hammer and Tongs Collection

By Laura Clark

Country: UK
Running Time:
Directed by:
Hammer and Tongs
Blur, Radiohead, Fatboy Slim
Released (DVD):

Hammer and Tongs

If you're over the age of 16, chances are you will have invested many hours (or still do!) engrossed in MTV/VH1 and are already familiar with the cult videos of Hammer and Tongs (director Garth Jennings and producer Nick Goldsmith (and sort of also editor Dominic Leung)) gracing their screens.  Although Hammer and Tongs have, in more recent years, focused upon feature length films including Son of Rambow (2007) and an adaptation of Douglas Adams novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), this anthology presents all their short films over an eleven year span.

Although the majority of their videos were made during the Britpop era of the mid nineties, their sometimes left-field approach and success saw them branch out, making videos for international artists including The Wannadies, R.E.M and the more recent Vampire Weekend.

The most renowned include the iconic videos of Blur's Coffee and TV (1999), following the adventures of an anthropomorphic milk carton and his mission to seek a runaway Damon Albarn; the warped, mammoth puppetry of Supergrass's Pumping on Your Stereo' (1999) and Fatboy Slim's “evolution in three minutes, on a budget,” Right Here Right Now (1999). Although, for all the mesmerising videos, there are a couple of less inspired ones: Radiohead's slo-mo Nude (1197/2007) and Moloko's Flipside  (1998) lack the originality of many of their other pieces. Each video is accompanied by an insightful commentary, as Garth conducts a phone interview with a member of each band.

A half hour documentary, Home Movies, presents a chronological insight to 'behind the scenes' in the work of the pair. However, instead of focusing on some of their more iconic videos, the documentary is interspersed with long, and  almost irrelevant clips from the making of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Son of Rambow, completely unmentioned elsewhere on the DVD. Possibly a marketing tool and probably needed to bulk out the DVD, these sections feel detrimental to the DVD especially as the clips from the music videos are stingily short.

Three shorts made by Garth Jennings include Toast the Cat; a claymation of an evil chicken-fighting cat, whilst the awkward and silly Eiffel's Blessing depicts the tale of a table and chair who seek a marriage blessing from the Eiffel Tower. The final short, the puzzling Polish Plums consists simply of a minute long singing purple plum, (strangely reminiscent of Verruca Salt), the point of which is very unclear. All very short, and quickly forgettable, but perhaps a delight for avid fans.

Few minor flaws aside, this is a grand collection of mostly fine film-making, proving there is still some creativity left in the art of the music video, not quite ready to disappear into a stagnating display of trembling bare flesh and a cacophony of posy guitarists.

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About The Author

Laura Clark Laura is an unemployed literature graduate from the University of East Anglia, and spends her days at Raindance sorting the social media, licking stamps and writing the occasional article.

When she is not interning, she is learning how to speak Lithuanian, baking excellent fruit crumbles and writing short stories.



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