Postcard from 1952: old house makes owners seem cool

by CJ

Anyone who knows me will testify that I am not cool. So imagine my neighbors’ surprise when, late last December, our home was invaded by very cool people. For two days, skinny jeans that tapered into pointy shoes stalked back and forth along our picket fence. Women with asymmetrical haircuts hovered on our porch.

But they hadn’t come for us. They’d come for our house.

Or, more accurately, they’d come for Peter Simonite and Annie Gunn, the film directors inside our house who were shooting a music video for Austin band, Explosions In The Sky.

Now, I’m not hipster enough to have heard of this band, but Simonite and Gunn were so compellingly likable that I couldn’t possibly have said no.  And besides, who wouldn’t want their home to become a film shoot in the week before Christmas, just as visiting family arrive for the holidays? It’s obvious of course.

Of course.

By 7 am on the first day, 45 human beings had crowded into our home, trailing as much cable and light equipment as would fit into a lorry. Busy people busied themselves with blacking out our windows and moving our furniture onto the street. The nursery became a staging room, our study held the talent. Flat capped, grizzle-cheeked people in plaid flooded every room of our home.

Walter had staggered into this crush before he’d had his coffee, and it took all my wifely skill to steer his bewildered frame out of the house. The barking dog and the tetchy toddler had thankfully fallen into the capable hands of my in-laws — hands so capable that they were soon dragooned into being part of the shoot themselves.

Meanwhile, I milled about my home like a stranger fresh off the street. No-one knew I was the chatelaine so I drifted from room to room like many of the folk who really had just arrived fresh off the street. Scores of feet ran up and down our stairs, and voices echoed across the floorboards as if the house were suddenly alive. It was as if our home were breathing, its lungs exhaling cheerfully in every room.

For two days, our lives were chaos and floodlights, and I marvel still at the patience of Walter’s imposed-upon parents. Then, the crew was gone and our house returned to an impeccable pre-shoot state, only a great deal cleaner.

Am I glad that our home was the scene for a music video? Yes, especially for the first half hour when it all seemed terribly glamorous. Would I offer our home for such a thing again? Certainly not. Who’d be so naive? Do I feel honored to have seen the calm, fierce focus of Simonite and Gunn as they made their beautiful vision come to life? Yes. Walter and I are in awe of what they did. It was a privilege to watch gifted professionals at work. Here’s what they made in our house  …

“Postcard from 1952”, the music video for Explosions in the Sky, created by the immensely talented Peter Simonite and Annie Gunn. Enjoy.