Caught A Lite Sneeze

Music Videos

Saturday 1 October 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

Directed by: Michael Liscombe
From the album: Boys for Pele (1996)
Atlantic Records/East West

Article coming soon. In the meantime, read Tori’s quotes about the video.

"The gate’s opening. Whether you think of the gates that lead to Hades. This period of composing, for me, with the harpsichord and the piano... timelines were crossed. If you think about it, it’s about crawling inside the bloodline, the bloodline of the piano that lead to the harpsichord and back. So, the information of mother to daughter and daughter to mother, what they’ve been struggling with for centuries, trying to find their own feminine power but getting all mixed up and stealing fire from the men. So this record was very much about crossing over into different... consciousness. Whether you call it death, death of the soul or death of a portion of you that has had to wake up to the truth of certain things that were dormant. So this is almost a sort of dream and yet it is her reality at the same time, and I think that’s what’s so scary to her.

Mike Lipscombe, the director, seemed to have quite a handle on symbology, and he wanted to play this out within a dream color. So naturally, her perceptions of what she thought was going on... well, they’re all crumbling all around her. I think that happens to most people when you’re ripping the mask off your face. Trying to bring this to the visual world was quite a challenge. We talked about stealing fire. That was something that Boys for Pele, which this album... that’s what I was exploring. To access the shadow side, the Dark Prince. Not Satan, so all Christians, you know, hold on to your John Thomas. You can’t get those mixed up or you don’t really know your archetypes very well. But, you know, the resentment that I had for the men that could channel and plug into this archetype of the Dark Prince dissipated when, when I realized, for me, that the Dark Prince was pushing a white cashmere Chanel little number, was a woman and drove an ice-cream truck.

Believe it or not I was on green screen most of the time. I seem to live my life on green screen. But this was an extremely physical shoot. I was rolling around on the ground, being dragged behind chairs. There were movements, obviously, when I had to be suspended and flying and moving around. But it was a mixture of the tangible world that Tori was in and the world she was trying to come to terms with. This is the opposite of ’Jupiter’ in that Tori is trying to come into the earth plane from... her land of misperceptions." (Fade to Red, "Caught A Lite Sneeze" audio commentary by Tori)

Directed by Mike Liscombe, who was given full creative license from Tori, the video is rich, multi-layered, and, according to Liscombe, "open to many interpretations." He feels that it represents "a surreal journey" and "the process of finding inner peace with oneself." Tori says that Liscombe "wanted to take the video into a place that brings together the fight of the soul with the fight of the physical self." This concept manifests itself in recurring sequences of multiple Toris pushing, pulling, and being swept along with another Tori seated in a white armchair that is sliding back and forth along a leaf-strewn wooden floor. The field of vision twists and turns, rotating to show alternately the inside of the room and a vast expanse of water that ends in a waterfall. The cyclical nature of the song itself is perfectly suited to the rhythm of the video which Billboard magazine called "strange", "complicated", and "visually stunning". (All These Years authorized biography)

"It’s her death - she dies. It’s about the fight for her soul - this spirit, this physical body. The two are fighting - trying to wake her up, bring her back - trying to communicate. It’s the division in the beginning. The whole current of sneeze is doing anything so that you don’t have to face yourself. Nothing is enough - you don’t feel that you have the tools. I couldn’t get to this until everything was falling apart. I couldn’t get to this until things were being flung back in my face. When you’re being gushed and gooed over, and all that stuff in a relationship, it disgusts you. It’s like ’10 minutes of that, boys - then give me something else.’ It’s strange knowing the whole time that your contact with the Earth Mother - your contact with the ocean - your contact with all of those things - you feel an outsider to them. You know they’re there. You go and try everything. You go through everything you’ve ever been taught to try and feel enough. And I just stand there with my little plug, going, ’What wall can I plug into?’ Not knowing that we’re all plugged in, already. You just have to remember." (Aquarian Weekly February 21, 1996)

"At first, Caught a Lite Sneeze was going to be filmed in black & white so that the special effects could work, so it was a nice surprise when Mike, the director, said he wanted to give it a go in color.

A ghost. He kept feeling my character was my own ghost trapped between the worlds. Whether a part of me had gone so close to the edge that she went over the edge thereby resulting in a death of some kind. (...) The chair scene here has become a mechanical dragon dragging parts of myself from other parts — it’s a long way from the protective chair in ’Pretty Good Year’." (Tori Stories promo booklet, 1998)