Luke Jackson’s new music video, Goodbye London, is a work of pure genius.
In a bittersweet ode to his former home the singer/songwriter poignantly paints a picture most Londoners could easily relate to: that of an overpriced money pit tainted by CCTV and ‘dodgy Thai cuisine’ (‘I’ve had enough of this town, it’s started bringing me down, I’m not inclined to stick around…and that’s OK because I’m running out of money anyway’).
But despite humorous digs at his birth city Jackson’s single, taken from new album …And Then Some, is an upbeat urban tribute to our capital and all of its trying and charming qualities.
The video, written and directed by Murray John and featuring some fantastic street footage and animation, focuses mostly on Camden Town and the neighbouring areas, with shots of Piccadilly Circus and cityscape views from Primrose Hill.
Now based in Toronto, Canada, Jackson acknowledges London’s still the place to be at this time of year: ‘It only lasts a couple of weeks, but nothing beats London in the summer. Brunch at Café Mozart down Swains Lane and a walk on the heath with the dog. There’s nothing better.’
Where have you lived in London, and why did you choose to move away?
‘I was born and raised in the Golders Green area. I started travelling to Canada in my gap year and never quite got it out of my system.’
What is your favourite part of London?
‘Hampstead Heath. It’s just magic.’
How does London inspire you creatively?
‘London has a frenetic energy and an immense volume of people that reminds you how insignificant you are. Creating art is a good way to carve out a little space for yourself.’
Can you tell us about the creative process of making the Goodbye London video, and the inspiration behind it?
‘I approached London-based animator Murray John with the idea of creating a video that highlighted the bittersweet sentiment of the song’s lyric. The only animation reference I gave him was that I had in mind the frenzied style of animation used in the Rhubarb and Custard cartoons when we were kids.
‘In terms of content I suggested that some of the video be very literal interpretation of the lyric, but that he should feel free to depart from that at will, which I think he did beautifully. He came up with the photo/animation idea as well as the characters and drafted a rough storyboard, most of which wound up in the finished piece. We never met each other until the video was almost done. It was all done via email correspondence.’
What are you working on at the moment?
‘I’m just working on promotion right now, trying to get the Goodbye London video noticed. It’s the last aspect of a promotional cycle which began with the release of my album …And Then Some last November. I’m hoping the album will be enough of a success to warrant making another one in a couple of years from now.’
Where would you recommend everyone in London visit at least once?
‘Discerning music lovers in London should get down to the Catweazle Club at the Paradise, 19 Kilburn Lane, every Tuesday night at 8pm. Matt Sage puts on a really magic night and if you’re a singer/songwriter, it’s a brilliant forum to present new work.
‘I think it’s important that Londoners get out of London every once in a while. We used to have Time Out’s book of 52 country walks within easy reach of London. You take a train in the morning to the start point of any given walk and it’s a full day’s walking including a pub lunch and cream tea at the end. Then you take the train back into town from a different station. There’s no better way to spend a Saturday.’