Words by Flyball Gov’nor.
By the time we had locked down a date and location to start filming our new video, the needle on the “COVID-19 inconvenience” meter had crept up from an eye-rolling “here we go” to more of an “oh dear, this may be a bit of an issue”. In fact, it’d be us literally locked down not days afterwards. But as the rest of the band sat and prayed that our fellow Perthites wouldn’t lose their heads in the supermarket, Mel and our indomitable DOP Aidan were busy editing, rotoscoping and colour-grading what would become the bonkers video for our party-starting live favourite Beaker.
Hot off the release of their new single Beaker, Flyball Gov’nor tell us the story behind the video clip, and remind us not to go drinking any bleach.
Beaker has been with us through a few lineup changes and survived some different arrangements to get to where it is today, but there is a certain regularity in which the lyrics become relevant again in relation to the news of the day.
Broadly, the lyrics address the values-neutral, dual nature of science; the nature that sees the discovery of the polio vaccine and the development of atomic bombs as two sides of the same coin. We knew ahead of time the video was going to be something in the vein of lab-coats and shenanigans, but it became a case of life imitating art as the rest of the world happened around us.
When Mel discovered old video footage of Soviet experiments in revivifying dead animals, the vision started to take shape. With some wacky, Telemundo-inspired hijinks of our own spliced into the mix, we had the bones and muscles. But as pandemic chaos began to accelerate, we started to notice some strange sentiments coming from the outside world.
People with all kinds of baseless conspiracies and resolutely unscientific conclusions openly flouting the advice of health professionals. It’s visible everywhere, but nowhere more so than the glorious United States of America, where a sub-microscopic entity is expected to defer fully to the constitutional right to free association. But considering the footage we’d harvested for our music video, it’s not the strangest thing that there is still an open resistance to scientific authority.
Scientific knowledge doesn’t drop from heaven, pure and unsullied. It emerges through a painstaking process of observation and measurement that is administered within a system. In our case, maybe this IS a system of power-hungry governments, money-hungry corporations and popularity-hungry publications. What knowledge does come from it can only be used and disseminated in a way that reflects the society it’s in.
Back in the days of the Cold War, the system was less focussed on capital accumulation and more on the development of pure hegemonic power, but for all intents and purposes the same question arises; how do you trust something to be unbiased and empirical when it comes from a system that is controlled by, well, humans? That’s the part where science takes its leave. That one’s on us.
When all is said and done, what happens in people’s material, day-to-day lives is going to be the most important thing. One may not trust a huge institution, but that doesn’t mean individuals should feel justified endangering their communities for some kind of rhetorical moral victory. I mean what good is being technically correct when you’re hacking up a lung and infecting all your mates? Ultimately, the question is not, “can you decapitate all your co-workers to create a chorus line of disembodied heads?” but more rather -should you, though?
We hope you have fun with the clip and in the meantime let’s all try to keep our heads and remember to keep our communities safe, regardless of what cranks or lab-coats are saying.
PS. Don’t drink bleach.
Love, Flyball Gov’nor
Watch the new video for Beaker here.