David Knight - 11th Mar 2015

Paul Hartnoll, formerly of dance behemoths Orbital, has embarked on a new solo project called 8:58, with a strong conceptual theme, about the tyranny of the clock. Hence the name (in other words, two minutes before 9am, and the start of the working day) and also The Clock, the launch track which features a speech track by actor Cillian Murphy, playing a character called 'The Generic Man'.  

Hartnoll contributed music to Peaky Blinders, the hugely successful TV show starring Murphy. And the musician turned to another long-time collaborator to make the off-the-wall video for The Clock: Luke Losey was Orbital's lighting designer and live visuals creator in the 90s, before co-directing a brilliant video for The Box with Jez Benstock, starring Tilda Swinton in 1996, and going on to several more excellent videos for Orbital, and other artists.

For The Clock, Luke has drawn his inspiration from a classic children's TV show, with an outcome that will amuse almost everyone of a certain age. It features a faceless City gent (in old-school bowler hat and pinstripes) on his way to work, then distracted by the window of a fancy-dress shop, and welcomed inside by the owner...

Shot in locations in central and East London - including the Only Fools and Peacocks fancy-dress shop in Hackney – it also features Cillian Murphy in a variety of guises - as befits his character. 


"The overarching atmosphere of the track is darkly comic; it’s a simple story, a metaphor for the endless grind. I really wanted to match that visually, the film is deliberately low fi and raw for those very reasons. We never shot more than two takes, creating this guerrilla filmmakers philosophy to dictate our working methods.

"When Paul first sent me the track my first thoughts were of a world like Eraserhead, but in a Shaun Tan story. A dystopian Mr. Benn tale (Mr. Benn is of course about escapism). The music itself along with Cillian’s words have a dark dystopian feel, partly like a PA system endlessly barking the party line in a Maoist nightmare, however the cadence changes half way into an an omniscient voice daring us to be different and think about life in a way that gets us off the production line.

"The inescapable attribute of our time is it’s runaway pace, sprawling suburbs and mass production, the endless commute from home to work, from work to home. For me the music reflects just that - being stuck in time.

"The words say ‘we live by the Clock, we die by the clock’ – it's about someone who breaks free from time for an instant. The generic man's identity is fragmented, fluid, and un-unfixed, dictated by the voice in his head that repress and controls him. But when he takes his mask off he is free. With or without the mask, we feel empathy for him - that’s really the heart of the story, the everyman character; childlike, frightened, lost, sad, whose happiness is fleeting and unexpected. He is a man (literally) stuck in and by time.

"Cillian embraced this fully and put an enormous amount of energy and care into giving the Generic Man pathos, getting fully involved in the masks design, which was made by Minna Attila (who also did the costumes).

"I’m very happy with it, I feel the track and song compliment each other really well and it was really good fun to make!"


DirectorLuke Losey
ProducerTed Thornton
Production CompanyQuiet Man Films
1st ADBen Quinn
Director of PhotographyJonathan Bloom
Focus PullerAndy Hill
Art DirectorSarah Bick
WardrobeMinna Attala
EditorKen Eakins
ColouristBrian King @three Wise Monkeys
Grading companyThree Wise Monkeys
Post production companyThree Wise Monkeys
Post ProducerCarl Grinter
VFXThree Wise Monkeys
Lead actorCillian Murphy
Director's RepresentationTed Thornton
CommissionerPaul Hartnoll

David Knight - 11th Mar 2015

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