Jim Bell: Floppy Disk
Jim Bell says of his latest single, Floppy Disk, that it is not necessarily “about something, but it is more a collection of images.”
In such a manner, it fits nicely with the theme of the video, which is a collection of disjointed clips from his parent’s home footage (compiled by Max Bonavent).
These combined hark back to the ‘90s; “it is called Floppy Disk after all, and opens with the slightly tortured sound of a computer connecting to dial-up internet” Bell admits.
Bell finds this evocation of the 90’s somewhat curious; “although I do remember fat gray computer monitors and dial-up internet, it’s also a nostalgia for an era that I didn’t really live through.”
This is a sentiment that many millenials will empathise with - a longing for an era that they cannot clearly remember and cannot fully claim as their own.
Bell says this reminds him of the Frank Ocean lyrics “my friend said it ain’t so bad, you can’t miss what you ain’t had, well I can”.
Floppy Disk, then, captures that longing many of us feel for a simpler time and place that we cannot necessarily define or understand.
It is a wonderful evocation of nostalgia in that there is nothing concrete that we have lost, and yet we still feel as if there were something lacking.
The video lends itself well to this end, capturing objects and events in a soft hazy light that renders them slightly out of focus.
The viewer is plunged into a dreamlike state, where we are sure something of importance was being recorded, but we can’t quite tell what.
For all this sense of loss and distortion however, there is a joyous, if not bittersweet, element to the song and accompanying footage.
We are reminded of happy times, that we are sad to have left behind, but pleased to have experienced nonetheless.
Indeed, the trivial nature of some of the events that have been recorded remind us that these moments we look back to with a longing are easily recreated.
Footage of friends lying on the floor, or walks through parks in London take on a poignant quality as we realise the moments that we long for are not magical states of bliss and ecstasy, but small, quiet moments of intimacy.
This is reflected through the song’s chorus: “I found a floppy disk at midnight/ with those backed up memories of you”.
The effect is one of looking through old photos; delighted that we have these memories to look through, and yet lamenting the passage of time.
There is an ambiguity to the single, where we are both left yearning for a bygone era and yet curiously satisfied with the experiences of our lives.
This is perfectly captured in the wonderfully surreal footage towards the end of the song, where hundreds of hot air balloons can be seen floating across London.
The balloons will eventually drift out of sight, but create a beautiful spectacle as they go, and in their rising up to the skies, they are free to discover new and exciting worlds as they leave this one behind.