Plan B 'First Past The Post' by Blok
David Knight - 9th Dec 2019
With the UK general election in a matter of days, Paul Casey and Richard Jobson - aka Blok - have created the music video for Plan B’s First Past the Post, to get the message across in a track that aims to explain a part of the voting system that few fully understand, and ram home the point that every vote counts - if you vote tactically.
Ben Drew (aka Plan B) wrote and recorded the track in a matter of days just a few weeks ago, to talk about a voting system that he himself has only recently investigated (see below) and what he thinks this election is really about - Brexit, of course. Drew wants to mobilise young voters into participating in the general election on December 12th and having their voice heard.
But that gave Casey and Jobson just a week to take the concept - and visualize the various discussion points in Drew's lyrics - through production, post and delivery. Remarkably, they have achieved their goal with a video that illustrates those points through a rapidfire mix of fake newscasts, dramatic sequences, political satire (where Drew plays a cynical politico of undetermined affiliation), info-graphics, and Plan B's own raw and hard-hitting performance.
One of Drew's main themes - that's arguably been underreported in mainstream media - is that Brexit has made this election a conflict between generations, with Britain's older generation looking to the past, and thereby jeopardizing the younger generation's future. Blok make this a crucial part of the video, with symbolism of a domestic argument over dinner where a dining room table splits apart - Paul Casey says he has drawn that from personal experience - and Drew's preferred solution out of our national mess comes through loud and clear.
It ends on perhaps the most incendiary image of all - an old lady holding a Your Vote Matters mug sticking two fingers at the camera. Expect to see that a few times between now and Thursday.
Blok have a history of working directly with artists, with their recent films for Novelist No Weapons, as well as Meridian Dan's Vegan Chat. But they have achieved something really special here - a video with a short lifespan but with the potential to have a real, longterm impact.
BEN DREW (PLAN B):
"Three and a half weeks ago I knew nothing about the First Past The Post voting system. Writing this song has been an informative exercise for me and the only agenda I have with this video is to try to inform others before this week’s election. So that their vote counts for what it is they actually want.
"An uninformed voter is worse than a non-voter. So if you know what result you want out of this election but aren't sure on how to get it - watch this video and visit my website http://www.time4planb.co.uk/firstpast... for more information on the First Past The Post voting system and links to tactical voting."
PAUL CASEY (BLOK):
"We all know that loads of people think that their vote doesn't count, which in the current system isn't exactly wrong, and we wanted to help Ben get people to know how to play the system a little better, rather than being played by it. We wanted to help discourage apathy, at a time when people are losing faith in the whole political system.
"From the off we wanted to get into the promo with some kind of reveal and have Plan B come in and disrupt something. We played with the idea of a “fake news” broadcast that’s about to start and just as the reporter brings the mic to his mouth, the background flicks to green-screen, it falls down and Plan B snatches the mic and speaks the truth to the audience, cutting through the bullshit.
"In such a time where the country’s divided, we wanted to show just how close to home the divide in opinions can be and sit within families, dividing loved ones. Hyper-real worlds and abstract scenarios is something we’re into, so we captured a family arguing over Brexit at the dinner table. They exchange lyrics before tension builds and the table physically breaks in two, symbolising the polarising views of the two generations. This one was drawn from personal experiences haha...
"To balance out the comical satire, we shot a pretty raw performance element which stitches the whole video together. Supported with animation, Ben performs (mic in hand), as he educates a bunch of young people (and the audience) on the voting system. Later on we see our campaigner character chuck a bunch of campaign leaflets at a teenager in a drive-by propaganda attack. The leaflets rain down on him in slow-mo, as he looks up in confusion. This was a pretty impactful moment for us to capture, as a fair few young people don’t have a clue about the political climate or really care because they can’t vote. It’s important that the next generation get clued up, so we don’t keep falling into the same mess we’re in currently. Hopefully this video can help make a dent in the knowledge gap."
RICHARD JOBSON (BLOK):
"I’m not trying to sound like a pretentious wanker, but music has a great way of getting people to ask questions of themselves and the world around them and our voting system is broken. Music has always been massively influenced by politics and we've seen how it affects people's views on it. It has massive political and ideological sway, especially for a mass audience.
"Some people only read The Sun. Others read The Daily Mail, or The Times, or The Guardian. Everyone listens to music. It's a very
instant way of landing an idea or a thought. Corbyn and Labour have utilised the Grime vote better than anyone, we've got Stormzy calling out Theresa May, Boris and the Tories, and all of this has massively helped to mobilize the youth vote. It's something that the current government now has to consider - its youth - and it's ignored them for years and years.
"The fact that Ben's managed to craft lyrics and an instrumental like this based solely on a voting system is crazy - the track is brilliant aside from it's message! His writing is incredible and it's been amazing to work so closely with such a talented artist as Ben. His eye for detail is outstanding.
"In order to get this done, we pulled in any favours we had left. Those that helped are some of our closest friends and colleagues who also believed in the importance of the message. We'll be forever grateful to everyone that helped to get this over the line. We owe a lot of people a nice dinner! And probably beers for life..."
David Knight - 9th Dec 2019
- Jess Celis
- Production designer
- Noah Demeuldre
- Atlantic Records
Matthew White, Matthew Allsop
David Knight - 9th Dec 2019