Break Yo’ TV: Harry Potter’s The Weird Sisters – “Do The Hippogriff”

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Come midnight tonight, there will be nationwide theater showings of Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 1. There will be packed houses, there will be costumed fans, there will be the bittersweet flavor of an impending “To be continued…” moment: J.K. Rowling’s finale to the seven-book series has been translated into a two-picture deal, with Part 2 slated for release in July of 2011. It has now been over a decade, and from beginning to mind-numbingly merchandised end, we have anticipated an ultimate closure. In retrospect, the scores of this film franchise are not anything to go pushing bandwidth or iTunes gift cards over.

To quote Buzz McAllister: “…enough of this gooey show of human emotion.” Let’s get to the glazed meat of the matter.

While The Twilight Saga has produced numerous alternative-friendly soundtracks, the wizarding world has rested upon a John Williams-approved theme piece and some safe orchestration we won’t write home about. In 2005, Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire hit big screens, and during scenes from Hogwarts’ Yule Ball, snippets of a band were seen playing to rabid students and faculty. Contrary to what Flitwick will have you believe, the “band that needs no introduction” warrants precisely that, because The Weird Sisters have graced many a Muggle’s iPod over the years, albeit in fragmented form.

Radiohead fans out there may remember drummer Phil Selway’s recent foray into solo work, as well as guitarist Jonny Greenwood’s hand in the score to There Will Be Blood; it appears that, between Hail To The Thief and In Rainbows, these two joined some other eccentric fellows on a gig originally thought to be Franz Ferdinand’s. Think your band has played everywhere in the known world? Try claiming to have performed for wizards and witches, and see how many laugh you off as if you were Max Denison delivering his Sanderson Sisters warning in Hocus Pocus.

Here is the line-up for The Weird Sisters:
– Jarvis Cocker (Pulp) as Myron Wagtail, vocals
– Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) as Kirley Duke, lead guitar
– Jason Buckle (All Seeing I) as Heathcote Barbary, rhythm guitar
– Steve Mackey (Pulp) as Donaghan Tremlett, bass
– Steven Claydon (Add N to (X)) as Gideon Crumb, keyboards and bagpipes
– Phil Selway (Radiohead) as Orsino Thruston, drums

The Weird (“weird” as in “strange”) Sisters were not credited as such — nor given nearly as much screen time — in the original release, due to trademark disputes from Canadian folk-rock band The Wyrd Sisters (“wyrd” meaning “fate”). With elements of Pulp’s driving Brit-rock aesthetic, Radiohead and All Seeing I’s guitar work and rhythm, and a little avant-garde from Add N to (X), we find a bonus feature on the Goblet Of Fire DVD: a music video of The Weird Sisters’ “Do The Hippogriff”. Truthfully, the resulting song sounds very much like Pulp on a party riot, and we can totally see how Franz Ferdinand would have blended in here.

The fictional band in question has released three songs to date, the others being “This Is The Night” and stereotypical promenade slow number “Magic Works”. Why go with “Do The Hippogriff” as a Break Yo’ TV? Why not just any old video to taunt, tease, and cast a killing curse upon? First off, watch the video below; what would it be like to live in this magical world of wonders, let alone attend a concert in it?

What dynamics would change if you replaced standard Marshall stacks with a literal Wall of Sound that can be enchanted to do anything — from spouting edible peppermint snow with Hogwarts’ magnificent themed ceiling in tow, to adjusting its volume for every individual audience member? If you attended this school dance, would you be a wallflower whimsically listing away with a charmed origami crane? Would you be bold and ask a giantess to waltz? Better still, imagine Greenwood and company had played your prom (minus the wizarding parts).

Secondly, ’tis the season of thankfulness, generosity, and overeating, is it not? What better way to celebrate an upcoming Radiohead album and Harry Potter film than all together as one? Freaks and geeks, hipsters, even the damned glittery vampire folk, dancing the night away in perfect harmony. Just as in the Rowling universe, these are dark times on multiple levels. Imagine yourself here, or even in the dank clique society of high school, having that one night where hopeless romance took over the looming adult cynicism and barking political media circuses.

Now…again…imagine Greenwood and company playing your event. I don’t care who you side with — Twilight or HP, Mac or PC, whatever spiritual familiars strike your fancy — we can all enjoy this. Music is the great unifier in a world of vast divides, so shrug off the nargles and kiss under that mistletoe. Good times, and don’t forget to include the first Potter film with that copy of Home Alone 2 on VHS when spreading the Chris Columbus directorial cheer.

I’m off to have a cup of wassail — care to join me?


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