The Imaginary Friends – Golden Age of the Narcissist review

Cover for “The Golden Age of the Narcissist” by Lucy Crump

There is a famous phrase that states film should begin with an earthquake and work up to a climax. Although possibly made up by a Hollywood reporter, you can’t deny that the line is quite true. Nothing works better than a dynamic first impression.

And this is exactly what The Imaginary Friends have opted for on their debut video to “Golden Age of the Narcissist”. Beautifully shot in monochrome, the video shows the band performing in some sort of abandoned facility or stalking the streets of London at night. All while sharply dressed, with their trademark eye – stripe make up on. There are mysterious hand – drawn pictures of each Imaginary Friend attached to the walls and fridges – half manga, half action heroes.  

“Golden Age of the Narcissist” was directed by Dominic Howlett and produced/edited by Joe Archer of Window Zebra. This London based production company started out in 2018 and is known for short films such as “On in 15”, “The Smoking Fish” and “Solvi”. They have worked with Roundhouse, Southwark Playhouse, IBM and MUTV. Their works have been screened at Bafta-qualifying film festivals, such as Raindance, Encounters, Aesthetica, and Carmarthen Bay Film Festival. The company received funding from National Youth Film Academy and BFI Network Short Film Funding. They have also successfully crowdfunded as in case of “The Sikh Soldier”.

Collaboration between the band and the filming crew must have been very pleasant as both sides trade compliments. Before the video came out, the director Dominic Howlett said: “I had the pleasure of directing this last year! The band are so incredibly creative and the song is amazing! Like really incredible!” The Imaginary Friends responded by calling Window Zebra “very talented guys” and stating that “they’ve done some really impressive short films across many different genres”.

Musically, “Golden Age of the Narcissist” is a cold wave gem driven by a hypnotic bass and percussion beat.  Joseph Capaldi is mesmerizing as a frontman – he wails, whispers, cuts though the guitar noise only to offer clean and melodic vocals in the chorus. The song feels fresh and exciting like the 80s just began. Nothing on the single feels dated or repetitive.

Both the lyrics and video have many references to Dorian Gray – the protagonist of a novel by Oscar Wilde and a classic of gothic literature.  According to the band, Gray – vain yet eternally young hedonist would feel right at home in the age of Internet.  

“With the dominance of social media in all our lives, everyone has to be so aware of how they come across all the time. Who you really are is slowly becoming irrelevant, it’s more about who you present yourself as” – explains Capaldi – “Sadly, the world seems like it would rather you be a terrible person sharing all the correct posts and content, rather than be a genuinely good person who doesn’t share those things. It’s heart-breaking and enraging.”

It`s hard to disagree but let us remain optimistic. As long as new generations of artists call out vanity and self-obsessions of society, there is hope for us yet.

promotional flyer for the single showing the band

You can read our interview with the band:

Follow The Imaginary Friends on social media:

Window Zebra can be found here:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.