The Manor

Byron

Music Video | Ben and Jack Studio

Throw back alert!!!!!!

We have been very committed to creating content in our respective careers. Safe to say there is one thing that Jack Tompkins and I (BEN MARLOW) have absolutely sucked at, blogging! Our new years resolution is to blog more so anyone reading this can expect to see lot’s of throwbacks as we have about 20 years of work to blog. Unbelievably a lot of it still holds up!

At least we think it does anyway 🙂

I’ve known Byron for about twenty years now. In fact I rapped alongside him in our hip hop outfit Nine High, a group of rappers from Maidenhead, Burnham and Slough. In a time when guys like us rapping was still laughed at and met with scorn by some fierce critics, we set out to bring our little contribution to hip hop

Byron always stuck out to me. His passion and real life heart on the sleeve delivery was always on point and painfully honest. A real insight to what it was like living in funnel town

Byron always stuck out to me. His passion and real life heart on the sleeve delivery was always on point and (sometimes) painfully honest. The Manor is a real insight to what it was like living in funnel town. Sadly, my time in Nine High was short lived. Hanging up my mic at the tender age of 21! I wanted to concentrate on my filmmaking but I always loved recording and always loved performing with Nine High so when Byron asked me to direct his music video, I was overjoyed to be working with him again

This music video is about the town where Byron grew up, Slough. Before ‘The Office’ came about Slough only really had a reputation for being a shit hole. I guess The Office didn’t really do much to change that!

‘My manors filled with scumbags and dumb slags, walls covered in tags’

It’s a brutal first line. Fitting for the intro of a song that goes on to describe life growing up in Slough. Drug dealers, police busts, arrests, single parent families and teenage pregnancies are topics that all crop up in this account of life growing up in Slough

There’s an element of rawness to this music video. There was also a rawness in the filmmaking. I had just bought my first dslr. A canon 5d mark 2. The iconic and absolutely game changing still camera that really paved the way for huge change in filmmakers tools for years to come. By the time I’d bought the camera and a 50mm 1.4 lens, I only had enough money left over for 12gb compact flash card. This only gave enough time to record around 20 minutes in any one filming session, so we had to be frugal. I didn’t even have enough money to buy a card reader and would transfer the footage using the usb on the camera. It took ages! What would take under five seconds these days used to take around an hour. It was ridiculous

Armed with a 5d, one lens, one battery and one card we set out on the streets of Slough to start filming. We needed a performance take so I saddled the camera up on a rusty old GLIDECAM and we shot the first clips which was Byron walking down the very street he lived on.

 

I had never had the ability to achieve such shallow focus before and I was relishing in it. I don’t think we filmed anything higher than 1.4 for the whole video! Even in bright sunlight. I don’t think I even knew what Neutral Density was! When I hosted a workshop with PHILIP BLOOM years later, I told him about this and I could see him physically retching at the idea of such high shutter speeds!

Anyway, Slough is multicultural suburbia in full force. Having shot a couple of scenes of kids running around the streets, Byron and I looked at each other very quickly realised that this music video needed to be peppered with portrait shots. We went out and filmed as many different people as we could convince to be in our film. From young single mums to a kebab shop donor purveyor, we set about the streets to get the exact cross section of Slough that we wanted for the music video. Our subjects were (mostly) incredibly obliging and we took full advantage of that!

What resulted was a wonderful portrait of Slough in all its grittiness. A very short glimpse into the lives of the people that live there

I learned a lot from that experience and I wouldn’t change anything about it. Thirteen years later that video holds up and that’s very much a testament to Byron’s lyrics and performance and Slough as a whole. I didn’t know it of the time of course, but The Manor would lead onto many different opportunities and also to friendships I still enjoy today and also a working relationship with some very large brands who we still work with today

I don’t know where you are or what you’re doing Byron, but thank you for putting your trust in me to create this with you. We didn’t answer to anyone, we did what we wanted and I guess there is a little part of me that misses that simplicity, freedom and out and out rawness.

Ben Marlow
www.benmarlow.com
instagram.com/benmarlow