Today we’re looking at See You, which is one of my favourite Depeche Mode songs. Yes, there’s a classic red phone box in the video, along with a lot of other gloriously 20th century tech. I promise I loved the song before I knew that!
The video opens in a dark and deserted Hounslow train station, which is a good start. ‘London by night’ is one of my favourite settings. ‘London by night in the ’80s’ is even better.
In a world before phone cameras, people actually used photo booths for purposes other than getting a terrible mugshot that will be immortalised on one’s passport/driving licence for ten years! The vague sort-of-plot of this video begins here, with these photos of a girl whom Dave Gahan is seeking, or something.
I don’t remember ever seeing a photo booth on a train station platform! At first I assumed that the ‘Isle of Wight’ poster was for the music festival, but the festival wasn’t running in the ’80s, so it must just be a pretty tourism poster.
The red phone box, which is the centre of a slightly odd scene where Dave stares at Martin Gore while he’s making a phone call, is obviously the very best bit of the video. Obviously.
We suddenly cut to a Homebase-type store, which is full of the kind of chintzy-looking pink/peach lampshades that were absolutely everywhere when I was little.
Conveniently, the store also has a photo booth in it, with more photos of the mysterious girl lying around. It’s interesting that photos from booths already had to be ‘passport approved’ in the early ’80s, as I thought that HM Passport Office only started to get really pernickety about rules for photos in the ’00s. It’d be nice if you still only had to pay 40p!
It wouldn’t be a home improvement store without a TV department, and those are some super ’80s TVs.
The music section actually looks very similar to a 2019 music section, as physical media has come full circle! I went into HMV the other day and popped up to the music floor out of sheer interest. It was all classic albums on vinyl as far as the eye could see, with the CDs relegated to a couple of racks at the back – because who buys CDs anymore? I didn’t spot any singles though.
The girl in the photos turns out to be the cashier at the store, which (finally) explains why the setting randomly switched about two minutes previously. Dave buys a copy of the See You single, which is like an extra-specially dorky version of the dorky thing where bands wear their own band merch in public.
The video ends with a slightly sinister CCTV monitoring scene, though I do like all the pretty computer keyboards. I remember when keyboard buttons were all orange and grey like that!
Watch the full video: