Coffee & TV – reawakening a sense of belonging within the family

belonging at last

The music video for Blur’s Coffee and TV follows the adventures of an animated milk carton searching for a missing youth. It is a particularly powerful related text for the Area of Study: Belonging.

These analytical paragraphs have been edited together from different senior student’s work.

We often feel acceptance in our sanctuary because we are safe and comfortable with our surroundings. In the music video for Blur’s Coffee and TV, we follow the adventures of an animated milk carton as he searches for a missing youth. The ideals of belonging and not belonging are expressed by using techniques such as emotive and colloquial language, rhetorical questions and repetition. Camera techniques are used to give us a clear picture of what is happening and the music and instruments match the mood. All of these elements work together to create an interesting song on belonging for the teenage target audience. In terms of related material, Coffee and TV has many commonalities with the prescribed HSC text The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick.

dancing Milkie is ignored by the disconsolate family

Teenagers often struggle to find their place in the world, and can feel isolated and depressed. Emotive language in the lyrics such as “to people who never really care how you are” shows that the persona feels alone and empty. The song is written in first person, but the persona also asks questions of the audience and includes them in the song by using the pronoun “we”. A sense of connection is created through the relaxed tone and colloquial language “cos of who you are”. The rhetorical question “Do you feel like a chain store?” asks the audience to consider their own experience of adolescence, and the repetition of “we could start over again” suggests loss and regret with a plea for change. When the persona urges “agree to marry me” we understand that belonging can be formed through a close association with loved ones.

disinterested teen drinks his saviour

Losing a family member may be painful, as we are shown in the music video. The opening shot reveals a family dressed in their pyjamas with the breakfast table set as if their missing son will be joining their meal. They appear sad and depressed as they hug each other for support. The mid shot of the father shows him glance at a photo of his son, and then zooms to the son’s face as the music becomes louder and the lyrics begin. These techniques focus our attention on the sense of loss. In the narrative, different emotions are felt by the characters and the music matches these and increases their meaning. Throughout the video, the camera cuts back to the family to show them waiting. At the end, the extra animation of the milk cartons reuniting and ascending towards heaven is accompanied with soft, slow organ music which represents a graceful moment of belonging.

mid shot of father with portrait of son

When embarking on a journey to find someone or something, dangers may be present. We are shown examples of this throughout the music video. As the milk carton searches for the missing son, he is presented with many challenges and dangerous situations such as nearly being run over, nearly getting kicked, crushed and drank. A motorcycle swerves and stops, but the mid shot reveals a hand signal for the carton to jump on the back. The high angle shot of the carton and biker zooming into town shows a sense of trust and friendship developing. He also finds himself walking down a dark alleyway with many evil drink bottles watching. There is a music interlude with sharp guitar sounds reinforcing the dangerous situation. We get the vibe that there is evil present through the fast cut shots, flickering lighting and the ‘radioactive’ liquid drooling from the can’s mouths. The message portrayed through these representations is that you must be prepared to deal with danger in your search for belonging.

the dark alley of dangers

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