Tender Comrade

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Title: Tender Comrade
Creator: Sandy Herrold & Media Cannibals
Date: 1993-1994, remastered by Justacat in 2006
Format: VCR Vid
Length: remastered avi: 15mb
Music: "Tender Comrade" by Billy Bragg
Fandom: The Professionals
Footage: original source material
URL: Download on The Circuit Archive; stream at Youtube

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Vidder's Note [From Sandy's original liner notes for the Media Cannibals 2 vid tape]:

"Laura A. gave me this beautiful song about soldiers bonding under fire and I loved it, but it was both a cappella and much too slow. Using the pause button of a cassette player (low tech!), we cut a verse, and made all of the pauses at the ends of each line much shorter. I was afraid that it would still be too slow and too quiet, but I like it."

Morgan Dawn remembers: "I was visiting Sandy, hoping to learn how to make songvids. When she described the problem with the song - that the pauses between verses were too long - I suggested we try the low tech method of having me clap out beats during the silence and then have her hit the cassette player's recording on/off button. This meant that the edits to the pauses would be irregular (human hands, eyes and ears doing the imprecise measuring and cutting), but it also gave the recording a senses of real life messiness and hesitancy. It worked." [1]

Additional note from Gwyneth, September 2006: "Remaking this was a very daunting prospect for the MCs due to the low-tech methods we used back then that Sandy describes -- how to match the exact pause lengths of the song, and cut out exactly the same amount of lines? How would we be able to get the clips to match when there was no clear beat on which to cut? We really wanted to bring this vid back to life for the digital age, but were kind of afraid to.

Along came Justacat, who told me that she'd edited the song herself already to match the version used on this vid. The amount of work she did on Tender Comrade is really unbelievable if you know the challenge of making it the first time. We are deeply indebted to her perseverance and and dedication to making this vid become a digital reality, especially when faced with huge obstacles: at one point, we discovered that the copy of a copy of an original MCs tape she had was off by quite a few seconds, so that the audio and video were dramatically out of synch. This was after she'd gone to painstaking effort to edit clips in the silent, long pauses, an enormous challenge in itself; then, she had to go back and re-edit so the edit points would fall on the lyric lines, in essence, remastering this vid twice."

More About the Remaster

Another older vid that's recently been remastered and put online, and now is on Imeem as well, which makes me incredibly happy. This is something a little unusual for vids, and particularly for Pros -- the song is very slow, and is a cappella to boot, so there are no musical cues to help things along. But the song is gripping, and suits Bodie and Doyle, and the lives they lead. I don't know how well it works for someone with no context, but as a Pros fan, I adore this vid. [2]

Back in the day, morgandawn and sherrold used the stunningly high-tech method of hitting pause on the casette recorder to shorten the long silent pauses in between lines and to cut a verse. And you computer kids think you have trouble editing music. And this was one of the first vids I ever worked on with the MCs -- I had had the chance to work on the Pros part of "You Gotta Be" as my introduction, and then they began working on this, so I really got to see how vids were made and yet didn't have to do any of the hard work except suggest clips and do thumbs up or thumbs down on Sandy's edits. Yup, those were the days. It is really incredible to see this vid in such crisp, beautiful footage, all color correcty and cleaned up. The lads have never looked as pretty. [3]

Wow, fabulous remaster. I wouldn't have ever guessed the song had been edited. It's also amazing to see an arc of action and tension to a song that remains pretty much the same. My compliments to all the MCs who worked on this. [4]

morgandawn has often told me about how they edited this song, clapping out the beats in the absence of digital editing equipment or even a stopwatch. I'm so glad I finally got to see the result. In some cases I felt that the visuals The Professionals has to offer didn't quite live up to the song's bleak power, but for the most part I thought it worked beautifully. A real treat for angst fans[5]


  1. ^ Morgan Dawn's personal recollections, accessed July 29, 2011. See also Gwyneth's 2006 introduction to the remastered vid; WebCite.
  2. ^ Arduinna's Vid Recs: M-P, accessed July 29, 2011.
  3. ^ September 5, 2006 comment by gwyn-r at New old Media Cannibals vid online, Archived version
  4. ^ September 5, 2006 comment by myln at New old Media Cannibals vid online, Archived version
  5. ^ comment by Laura Shapiro at veni_vidi_vids, Archived version