Video playlists from the most interesting people in the creative industries. We are the Desert Island Discs of internet video.

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Alec Doherty

London-based Illustrator and artist Alec Doherty’s video choices are a vision of his youth growing up in a big family, and how he saw the world beyond the front door. They look at British culture, the transcendent power of music and the joy of silliness.

He has appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times and on Mr Porter. He’s also the label artist for Partizan Beer.

Fantazia - Old School Rave - The Morning After The Night Before 4 MINUTES

Alec Doherty: I picked this video because my oldest brothers and sisters were very involved with the free party scene. Acid house and them going out raving was a big part of my youth and this gives me a little glimpse into what they were doing once they left that front door. I’d be in my PJ’s going off to bed and they’d be going out to these parties on Friday night and coming back on Sunday. You get to experience a little bit of what it might have been like to be there at that time.

There’s an energy and a real British eccentricity in the whole video that’s just funny. There are some bits where you think “This is like an amazing comedy sketch” and the fact that it’s the morning after gives you a little vision of that side of it. It’s a lot of fun. It’s the absurdity of it as well. The whole film makes me feel really good.

Paul Wright - Arcadia (2017) 1 HOUR 16 MINUTES

AD: I first saw this during all the Brexit madness and it struck me as something that we should all probably watch. The thing I got from the whole film is the eccentric nature of who we are as Britons. There’s been a kind of appropriation of British culture. This idea that Britain is this stiff-upper-lip, straightforward place where we just get on with stuff. But really where it’s all rooted is this kind of wacky, Wicker Man spiritual thing. I think it’s still in us all, deeply entrenched in who we are.

I’m half Indian and half English but I feel British, that’s who I am, that’s how I identify. Because I don’t quite fit those norms, I feel like some of that identity has been stolen away from me. But this film shows that actually we’re all just a bit nuts and seeing something like this, where eccentricities are allowed and how deeply rooted they are in British culture, is nice.

Soulskate - Moodymann presents nuttn but magic feat...J.A.N. 9 MNUTES

AD: My old man’s big into Northern Soul. He used to go to a club called The Twisted Wheel in Manchester, which was like the birthplace of Northern Soul. Working class lads and working class girls would go to dance and forget about everything else that was going on in their lives. I feel like places like Chicago and Detroit are the same. Big industrial cities with predominantly black and working class communities going to Soulskate to forget their day-to-day. You can see they’re in it when you look at their faces. They’re in that moment in time and there’s a kind of zen nature to what they’re doing.

The moves they’re doing and the way they’re moving, it’s pure expression. There’s a flamboyance to it. They’re showing off but they’re all in it together. There’s definitely something about that circular movement around the floor: you can express yourself but you’ve got to keep moving. I don’t know what it is, the whole thing is hypnotic.

Best of TFI Friday 1997 9 MINUTES

AD: This clip is from the late 90’s, when I was 10 or 11 years old. Friday night all my older siblings would be going out, either going down the park or going to free parties but I wasn’t allowed to go out. Fridays were really exciting and TFI Friday was my little glimpse into what people might be getting up to when they were going out.

The Millennium dome was going up, it was Blair’s Britain. I wasn’t fully aware of the politics at the time but everything seemed fairly rosy, compared to what it is now. It reminds me of a little period of time where there was less worry. Maybe it’s because I was a kid.

It can be very off-colour and very sexist though, that late-90’s ‘lad culture’. It’s something that I look at now and think how great it is that we’ve moved on from that point but there’s also a certain nostalgia about it. It’s evocative. The medium of video can put you in these places. It takes you back to certain points in time, memories and good fun.

Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale 3 MINUTES

AD: I love it when you have these little unexpected moments. Imagine being in that audience and Bobby McFerrin’s jumping around on stage going “Dah. Dah. Dah” and then suddenly you’re doing it, and you don’t know why you’re doing it but it’s innate. There’s a spirituality to that whole thing for me: no matter how individual you think you are, you are connected in a deeper way. Like those roller skaters going round the ring and each having their little bit of flair, they’re all part of a bigger entity.

You question “What is music and why does it make us feel these things?”. Maybe it’s not worth analysing. I think you’re never going to get to the bottom of why it does what it does to you and how it can make you feel.

Guinness Ad - Surfer 2 MINUTES

AD: This was the first advert I saw that was absolutely, truly beautiful. I remember watching it and thinking “This is about beer?”. Jonathan Glazer made a beautiful piece of art that was brought to a huge audience. Lots and lots of people saw it and it’s a rarity that art gets to have such a wide scope.

People can make good work, good art, good adverts, good billboard posters but the real masters of any of those things can make something that’s completely timeless. I love Jonathan Glazer. How he shoots the whole thing and the way he builds a story. Film is a medium where you’re really in control of everything. You can captivate an audience, have their full attention and transport them to different places.

We live in an age where we don’t really watch ads in the same way. They all seem to be selling shit sofas now, rather than ideas. Because it has become more and more targeted, the nature of advertising is forever changed. I don’t think we’ll see this kind of thing again.

Jay Versace 24 SECONDS

AD: Isn’t this a piece of joy? That’s it for me. I can’t really say much about it other than it’s a joyous little piece of footage. I would challenge anyone to watch it and not feel a little bit better about things. It’s just daft as fuck. Me and a bunch of pals, if any one of us is ever feeling a bit blue, everyone will send that video, as if to say “Look! It’s alright, don’t worry about it.”

For me, it’s what the contemporary internet is all about. These little snippets of people being daft, embarrassing themselves and being silly. We could all do with a little bit of that in our lives. Life can get on top sometimes and it can take something like this to snap you out of it. It’s great that you can access things like this at any time on your phone. If you’re on a train, on your way to a meeting, or feeling a little bit hungover, stick this on and just think “Fuck it”.

Follow Alec on Instagram at @alecdoherty or visit alecdoherty.com

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