It's probably safe to say this hasn't been the cheeriest of years for a lot of us, and sometimes, cheering-the-hell-up comes from unexpected places.
Like a John Waters-style, lesbian utopian, cowgirl-trucker romance music video, for instance. If this doesn't make you smile, it's hard to think of what would. You're probably the sort of person that throws cats in wheelie bins.
The music video was directed by Lydia Garnett, and features the band she plays bass in, Trouble Wanted. It's such a smart piece of video in its marriage of ludicrous high-camp and poignant gestures: the short really feels like a fully formed piece of cinema, despite its claustrophobic setting within the four walls of a saloon, and the fact that not a huge amount really happens narrative-wise. By the time the five minutes were over, I was almost definitely struck with the same affliction as our titular lonely Cowgirl – madly in love with this swaggering dyke trucker.
Aside from some wild green screen trips, the story is driven more by lustful looks and exaggerated gestures than conventional action. The Lonely Cowgirl is played superbly by performer Lilisque, who acts alongside the band themselves. The creative team working on lighting, art direction and styling all hail from London's queer scene; and their main goal was to "make the four walls of this surreal and otherworldly saloon feel like it could be 1970 or 2030," says Garnett, who also works for production company Somesuch.
One of the underpinnings of the film is re-dressing the balance of who we see on screen: "How often do we get to see queer women's stories on screen, and how often do queer women get to own their fantasies?" says Garnett.
"As a queer team and band, we had the freedom to create our own narrative and represent ourselves authentically on screen: the gaze and the story were ours alone. We created a story of seduction, a funny, sexy powerplay and a very queer exchange."
"Lonely Cowgirl was one of the first songs we wrote as a band around a year and a half ago, and the idea of a funny, powerful, self-aware but campily sexy cowgirl was key to the concept right from the start," says Garnett. Things are deliberately ambiguous though: the cowgirl seems to be alone, but that's not necessarily indicative of loneliness. We have to wonder, is she up to this dyke-trucker-seducing schtick every night?
"The aesthetic was inspired by classic American cinema," says Garnett. "As we've seen in Disclosure on Netflix, queer and trans bodies are mostly always villainised, and there's a joke that gay romances in movies always end with someone dying! I wanted this to be a love story where we get to get lost in this queer romance," she adds.
The slow zooms that add a seductive stylistic twist looked to both "match the laconic feel to the track" and created that Twin Peaks-ish sense that "things linger for a little too long, but you can't look away," says Garnett. "The steady zooms, and sometimes jerky camera give it a feeling of not being overdone."