Still Big Time: Peter Gabriel

Last night my husband and I watched the 2011 Oscar-winning documentary “Inside Job” about the financial crisis of 2007–2010. While the content was utterly infuriating, the skillful intro of this doc will stay with me. It starts out in Iceland, interviewing financial experts about how deregulation screwed up their economy. The Icelandic man speaking, Gylfi Zoega, says, “But this is a universal problem, huh. In New York, you have the same problem, right?” And the camera immediately cuts to sweeping helicopter shots of the New York skyline with this song blasting. This was the start of the documentary. The transition is pretty rad.

Big Time” is a song by Peter Gabriel from his 1986 album So. It was his second top-ten single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #8. “Big Time” deals with a man’s efforts to achieve success. The visual style was very similar to the “Sledgehammer” video, using stop motion, claymation, and strata-cut animation (the last done by David Daniels) to show Gabriel leaving his small home town to make the big time. [Wikipedia]

I didn’t grow up with cable, so when I would visit my cousins as a kid I would love watching Peter Gabriel videos on MTV.  The claymation and quirky, jittery movements were like colorful pieces of art moving across the screen to the beat of great music. Who wouldn’t love that?


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