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Fatboy Slim’s video for the song Weapon of Choice was a huge hit when it was released back in 2001, scooping no fewer than six awards at MTV’s VMAs. However, at the last minute, Norman Cook realised he wouldn’t be able to participate in it at all, as his then-wife Zoe was giving birth.
Recalling the hit’s performance in a new podcast, Rockwater in Conversation With Norman Cook, the Fatboy Slim star explained that he was expected to have a cameo in the video.
“I was supposed to be the bus boy doing the hoovering, but my darling wife Zoe [Ball] decided to give birth to our first child that weekend,” he exclaimed.
“I figured I should stick around for that, so I didn’t get to film any of it!”
The video was directed by Spike Jonze, who’d also worked with Norman on another huge hit, Praise You, and become close friends with him.
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It featured dancing from actor Christopher Walken, then 57, who saw the video as a “last chance saloon” for him to showcase his skills before he became a pensioner.
Recalling how things fell into place, he revealed: “Spike rang me up one night and said: ‘I’m having dinner with Christopher Walken and he keeps dropping hints about getting his dancing down on tape while he’s still young enough to do it. Do you want him dancing in your next video?'”
Norman immediately agreed, and conceded on the podcast that the entire video had been scripted by Spike.
“I never even met Christopher until at award ceremonies years later when I was taking all the credit for it!” he chuckled.
Viewers immediately loved the fun-filled choreography, which at one point saw the trained tap dancer leap off a balcony and seemingly float in the air.
He also jumped on tables, kicking their contents away from him, and danced down an escalator a la James Bond.
Norman praised that Spike had “reinvigorated my love for the medium of a pop video” and changed the climate of the industry by creating videos that would engage audiences and make them laugh.
He continued that he’d never been “comfortable” with the prospect of appearing in more cliched videos where he felt pressure to be “young and groovy” and be surrounded by “women with big t**s”.
“It had got to a point at the end of the 1980s where all the good videos had been made,” he lamented.
However, he admires Spike for changing the game in that respect and accelerating his career by creating the type of videos that became an instant hit on channels like MTV.
Meanwhile, though he missed out on appearing in Weapon of Choice himself, he has no regrets as he was able to be present with the birth of his son Woody, now 22, instead.
He and Zoe Ball also had another child, daughter Nelly, in 2010. They broke up in 2016 after 18 years of marriage.
Zoe now lives in a property in Ashdown Forest with her new boyfriend Michael Reed, while Norman has a bachelor pad beside the seafront in Hove and just steps from his own café.
The pair were once referred to as the “Posh and Becks” of the music world, although Norman admits that he “fell out of love with making music” not long after his daughter’s birth.
For the past decade, he has regarded himself as more of a DJ than a producer or musical artist, although in the past he has had to hide his obsession with Abba’s Dancing Queen.
He joked on the podcast that his secret passion for the track normally had to take a backseat during his career, due to fears that if he played it to his usual audience, he’d “get lynched”.
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