Derek Jarman’s music videos


Duggie Fields in It’s A Sin

A hidden Derek Jarman film lies scattered among a handful of music videos from the 1980s, something you can pretend you’re seeing flashes of in the promo shorts the director was making whilst trying to raise money for his last few feature films. A recent re-watch of Caravaggio reminded me of these, recalling a remark Jarman made that his video for the Pet Shop Boys’ It’s A Sin was the first time anyone allowed him to use 35mm film. Among other things, that promo features artist Duggie Fields with a gilded face, one of a number of little in-jokes that Jarman aficionados can retrieve from these shorts. Running through them in sequence you get a skate through familiar visuals, from the masks and mirrors flashed into the camera in Broken English, to the Super-8 fast-forwards of The Smiths and Easterhouse films, with plenty of flowers and ritual fires along the way.


Broken English

This isn’t a complete list since not everything is on YouTube. Even if it were I wouldn’t link to anything by the wretched Bob Geldof for whom Jarman made two promos. Needless to say some are more sympathetic to Jarman’s obsessions than others: Marianne Faithfull’s film is a fascinating short that provides a link via the singer between Jarman and Kenneth Anger. The Bryan Ferry film, on the other hand, is a bland piece for a bland song. Suede and The Smiths seemed to have let Derek do what he liked. Well done, boys.

Broken English (1979) by Marianne Faithfull (featuring Witches’ Song, The Ballad of Lucy Jordan and Broken English).

Dance With Me (1983) by The Lords of the New Church.

Willow Weep For Me (1983) by Carmel.


Broken English

Dance Hall Days (1983) by Wang Chung.

Tenderness Is A Weakness (1984) by Marc Almond.

Windswept (1985) by Bryan Ferry.


The Queen Is Dead

Panic (1986) by The Smiths.

Ask (1986) by The Smiths.

The Queen Is Dead (1986) by The Smiths | Long version

1969 (1986) by Easterhouse.

Whistling In The Dark (1986) by Easterhouse.


So Young

It’s A Sin (1987) by the Pet Shop Boys.

Rent (1987) by the Pet Shop Boys.

So Young (1993) by Suede.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Derek Jarman’s Neutron
Mister Jarman, Mister Moore and Doctor Dee
The Tempest illustrated
In the Shadow of the Sun by Derek Jarman
Derek Jarman at the Serpentine
The Angelic Conversation
The life and work of Derek Jarman

8 thoughts on “Derek Jarman’s music videos”

  1. This is a superlative post and you KNOW I am loving it! A number of old favorites here, some of which I had no idea Jarman was involved with. Thanks!

  2. Heh, thanks. It was worth seeking these out as many were ones I’d never seen before. I’d known about the Marianne Faithfull film for years yet never bothered looking for it. The first part of that (featuring a pre-pop career Marilyn) couldn’t have been made by anyone else. Some others were a surprise: the Wang Chung one seems to mostly feature the Jarman family’s home movies with little Derek and his sister running around gardens and things.

  3. Thanks so much for this post John, I’ve been waiting for about 20 years to see the Broken English film!

  4. I’m not sure about the provenance of that one. DJ had plenty of associations with Coil, of course, but that track was never released as a single, for example, and didn’t receive an official release until after Jarman’s death. The video isn’t mentioned on the Coil site at Brainwashed or in any list I’ve seen of Jarman’s works. It may be part of The Garden (a film I’ve not seen for years) or may be an outtake from the same.

  5. That’s also the one I’ve seen (possibly the only one out there) and the visuals certainly look like DJ’s work, it’s very similar to the ‘Think Pink’ sequence he did for The Garden. But since I’m not sure, and since that’s the only place there’s a credit (and since many things on YT are misattributed) I’d hold off making a definite statement about it without confirmation elsewhere. One hazard of the attention these posts receive is that information here gets used elsewhere so I’m cautious about repeating possible errors.

  6. Excellent point, John, especially in light of your latest post about the 6th anniversary. I should be more careful, myself; I was just telling my students, “Just because lots of people on the internet repeat something doesn’t make it accurate or true.”

    We were discussing the hoax/scandal of the falsified quote on Maurice Jarre’s Wikipedia page. An Irish university student repeatedly posted a false quote on the Wikipedia page (though the site took it down several times). It was on the page long enough for journalists around the world to add it to Jarre’s obituary without checking facts or references. More about that here:

Comments are closed.

Discover more from { feuilleton }

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading