Spend any time on Facebook these days and you'll find a few folks that declare we're living in an Orwellian hell. (The Big Brother one, not the one with the pigs and the whips.) It a common paranoia, which is why that book remains so popular even to this day, but what is it about 1984 that truly makes it so deeply, deeply unsettling?
The concept of being under constant surveillance, sure, but that's hardly terrifying in the age where we declare every move we make on Facebook and Foursquare. The synchronized hate is frightening, but it's probably the aspect of the book that's aged the poorest because of its cartoonish one-dimensionalism.
No, what makes it so unbearable is that it's a love story that fails. Our hero and heroine sell each other out under torture, and nothing changes, and everything come to naught. Love conquers jack shit.
But not when Black Boots takes it on, and that's why it's so wonderful to watch.
"Streetwalker" follows a young guy and girl (Luke and Julia Jones, no relation) as they try to live their lives with the rest of BB's Libertines dancing and feeling while constantly watched and pursued by white-clothed thugs. Everyone is watched, and any deviance from the norm is instantly punished.
Director Jeremy Cloe is on his third video for Black Boots, and all of them tie into this intense Orwellian epic. The story of these free spirits inspired and led by Lightknife and Mikey Francis brick by brick taking back their world from the jackboots is instantly engaging and a joy to watch.
"Their opposition is trying to lock them up for making waves, encouraging rebellion and living their lives outside of what their government deems legal," says Cloe.
According to the band, "Streetwalker" started out as an anthem to rising up, to being bigger than yourself stemming from a dark patch in their lives. The sentiment translates well into the video.
"The interesting thing about the 'Streetwalker' video is it really mirrors what is going on in society right now," says the band via email. "You have the witch hunt of forward-thinking figures like Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning for exposing the U.S. government for unauthorized surveillance of the people and committing war crimes.
"In the video, these two characters are being pursued for starting a rebellious movement that promotes libertinism philosophies, free thought, and free expression through their music," Black Boots adds.
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But just as 1984 is in the end the tale of a love that breaks, "Streetwalkers" is the story of a movement that refuses to. Does this make it less realistic? Possibly, possibly not. Still, as you follow Julia Jones throughout her escape from her pursuers, see her trapped with nothing but the gaping blackness of a sewer outlet behind her, all you can pray for is that it won't end the same way as it did in Orwell's dystopia.
That's when Lightknife, Mikey Francis, and the rest of the Libetines flank Jones' pursuers, and we see them turn in terror as a the slow march of salvation and freedom comes to claim one of their own from the white glove if tyranny.
Out last shot is of Lightknife and Mikey Francis spray painting one of the many surveillance cameras blind. It's not a terribly original video, all things considered, but the grim, determined way that Cloe and the band manage to pull it off, the way they lift our hearts in the chase, and the simple elation of overcoming, even for a single moment, the powers that be, engages the song into an anthem that rings out through scared, empty streets.
In short, it's a tremendous modern anthem. Check it out below.
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