The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'youtube'
The Daily Mail Song, an exposé of the venomously right-wing, outrage-mongering British tabloid delivered in the form of a Subterranean Homesick Blues-style folk song. Brilliant and spot-on.
Plastic Bag, a poignant short film recounting the story of a discarded plastic bag (voiced by Werner Herzog) adrift around the empty world in search of the woman who first took it from the supermarket, before settling down to an eternity in the patch of plastic garbage in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
The Australian government asked Google to block Australian users from accessing YouTube content which would be illegal in Australia, which would include material promoting euthanasia, graffiti and safer drug use, on the grounds that they already do similar things in China. Google, thankfully, tells the government to go jump.
University of Sydney associate professor Bjorn Landfeldt, one of Australia's top communications experts, said that to comply with Conroy's request Google "would have to install a filter along the lines of what they actually have in China".
"What we're saying is, well in Australia, these are our laws and we'd like you to apply our laws," Conroy said. "Google at the moment filters an enormous amount of material on behalf of the Chinese government; they filter an enormous amount of material on behalf of the Thai government."The government is set to introduce laws forcing all ISPs in Australia to filter all internet traffic, which, unless something unexpected happens, will be law before the 2011 election. (There is plenty of opposition to it, but it all falls into the easily-ignored basket, and psephologists say that internet censorship could only become an issue in two electorates—the inner-city seats of Sydney and Melbourne.) The problem with this is that blocking YouTube altogether would be a bridge too far (the Australian public may be legendarily apathetic, but if you take away their funny cat videos, there'll be hell to pay), and selectively filtering traffic to YouTube would slow it down unacceptably.
Let's hope that Google stick to their guns here.
(via Boing Boing)
Another Wes Anderson pastiche: first there was Nicholas Gurewitch's soundtrack for the imaginary film The Cloud Photographers, and now there's an impression of a Wes Anderson Spider-Man film. Which seems to be mostly made of The Royal Tenenbaums.
Melbourne new-wave/post-punk cult movie Dogs In Space has been out of print for a number of years. A DVD (with a few hours of bonus material, including a making-of documentary shot at the time) was meant to come out some four years ago, but there is still no sign of it. However, some enterprising soul has cut it into 12 fragments and posted them to YouTube. At last, you can view Dogs In Space in worse quality than the standard well-worn VHS tape.
At the head of his most recent restaurant review, The Times' AA Gill pithily sums up YouTube:
“Look at this, Dad. You’ll like this.” Generally, when Ally, my eldest son, tells me to look at something I’ll like, it’s a 30-second phone film of someone getting very angry, falling over and being crapped on by a horse. Or it’s a dancing mongoose, or a drunk Australian naked bungee-jumping. YouTube has all the properties of a Dark Ages bestiary. It intimates a distant world of bizarre and inexplicable otherness, proving we live in a fearsomely weird and magic place full of talking dogs, men who use their oversized feet as umbrellas, women who breast-feed rabbits and the fanatical personal rants of messianic bedroom hermits. It’s the electric-light Herodotus, and I rather enjoy it, if I’m being led by a 15-year-old. It seems to confirm a personal aperçu: the more information you have, the less you understand.
Norwich-based comedian and reviewer of dubious far-eastern video game machines Dr. Ashen (he's the "sarcastic British guy") reviews the Vii, a cheap video-game console of Chinese manufacture which attempts to imitate the Nintendo Wii without having much of the technical innovation. If you ever wondered what one of those could possibly be like, here's all you need to know. (Capsule summary: don't bother importing one.)
YouTube video of the day: Jeffrey Lewis - "Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror", a nice exemplar of New York hipster antifolk:
Harvey Williams was great; he first part of his set he played on an electric piano, doing mostly newer songs (i.e., from his 1990s album on Shinkansen; there wasn't a raft of new material), though he then picked up an acoustic guitar and played a bunch of older songs, including You Should All Be Murdered and I'm In Love With A Girl Who Doesn't Know I Exist. It was great to see him performing these songs.
Then there was Rose Melberg's set, which was sublimely lovely. She played acoustic guitar and sang, with a friend from Vancouver (where she lives now) accompanying her on vocal harmonies (much in the way that Jen Sbragia did in the Softies). They played for about an hour, doing recent songs, a few older songs (including The Softies' It's Love, which many in the audience sang along with), and some covers. The highlight of the set by far would have to be the cover of The Field Mice's The Last Letter; Rose started it almost apologetically, concerned that she may be committing sacrilege of a sort, proceeded to play a beautiful version (imagine said song as a Softies song and you've got it) and finished to rousing applause. Anyway, there's a video here:
A few videos from this weekend's Momus gig at La Flèche d'Or in Paris:
YouTube video of the day: "Amateur", by a Scandinavian fellow named Lasse Gjertsen, who, despite not knowing how to play the drums or piano, recorded video of himself hitting drums and piano keys and assembled it into a song through the sheer power of video editing:
This blog has been quiet recently because your humble correspondent has been in bed with a cold for the past two days (a state of affairs which may or may not have had something to do with watching indie bands on chilly railway station platforms in Derbyshire on the weekend). Anyway, in lieu of new content, here are a few old links and random things:
- Here is a photo gallery of eerily empty former advertising billboards and hoardings in São Paulo, Brazil, where all outdoor advertising is now banned. Not surprisingly, the advertising industry is concerned about the human rights of those who might want to be advertised at:
"I think this city is going to become a sadder, duller place," said Dalton Silvano, who cast the sole dissenting vote and is in the advertising business. "Advertising is both an art form and, when you're in your car or alone on foot, a form of entertainment that helps relieve solitude and boredom."
- Stylus Magazine has an interesting guided tour of the first 50 Sarah Records singles, going beyond the usual "twee/jangly indie pop" cliché that the label is often dismissed as. As for actually hearing the records, Clare Wadd said a while ago that there were plans to release the entire Sarah back-catalogue as downloads, though nothing seems to have come of that so far.
- And a few videos from The Blow's recent gig in London: Hey Boy, a spoken-word interlude, and an acapella version of The Long List Of Girls.
The editor of the Indonesian edition of Playboy has been acquitted of indecency. While pornography is widely available in the populous Islamic country, the local edition of Playboy has avoided taking risks, and it is probably safe to say that most of its readers really do get it just for the articles:
The Indonesian version of the magazine went on sale for the first time last April, featuring several scantily-clad models but no nudity.
Arnada would have faced two years in prison, if convicted and his magazine welcomed the ruling. "Playboy Indonesia never has and will never publish nude photos or other forbidden materials," it said in a statement.This ruling has not been enough for hardline Islamist groups, who have threatened to "declare war" on the magazine, and conservatives who are pushing for strict new decency laws. Though given the wide availability of locally-produced pornography, chances are the conservatives' objection is not to Playboy's mildly racy content but to the American/Western cultural values it and its name symbolise.
Meanwhile, Thailand has blocked access to YouTube, after the site refused to remove a video insulting the king (by showing graffiti over his face). Thailand takes insulding the king very seriously; just recently, a Swiss man was jailed for ten years for defacing posters of the monarch.
One thing I'm wondering: would Thailand have blocked YouTube had this happened before last year's military coup?
During my visit to Melbourne, I videotaped a few gigs. Now (time and computer facilities permitting), I'm going through the tapes and will be putting a few choice fragments on YouTube (with permission of the performers, of course).
The first fragment: Light Music Club, "Music for the Tiny Hours", live at Spoon, Brunswick:
Apologies for the shaky camerawork/less than ideal video quality.
Nerdcore For Life is a documentary, currently in production, about the Nerdcore hip-hop scene; this is a predominantly American phenomenon, in which members of IT/geek subcultures have embraced hip-hop as a medium, producing beats on computer-based studios, recording raps about topics such as computers, cult sci-fi books/movies and copyright reform, and mostly releasing them as MP3s or via streaming internet radio shows. Some Nerdcore rappers take the hip-hop medium more seriously than others; the approach varies from straight adoption of the rap idiom to talk about issues of geek interest to self-referential parodies of mainstream hip-hop bordering on the Weird Al-esque.
Here is a 4 1/2-minute trailer for the documentary; it seems pretty interesting.
(via Boing Boing)
Scary Mary: Disney's Mary Poppins re-edited into a trailer for a hypothetical horror movie.
(via Boing Boing)
It's confirmed: Google has bought YouTube, for US$1.65bn, snatching it from the grip of old-media behemoths like Viacom and News Corp. Which means that it stands a decent chance of maintaining its existing principles, rather than turning into some kind of ad-spammy, contributor-hostile conduit for corporate marketing.
And a YouTube treat for you: Swedish indiepop ensemble I'm From Barcelona performing "Treehouse" at their recent gig in Hoxton:
The rest of the gig, incidentally, was just as brilliant; it was more like a travelling party than a concert.
More YouTube videos: this time Stump's "Buffalo", which you may remember from the C86 compilation (it was the most dadaistic track on that one). The video, in this case, is the visual equivalent of the song. Enjoy.
Meanwhile, more Swedish indiepop: Jens Lekman's "You Are The Light"; pretty polished, involving Jens riding through a tunnel in a van surrounded by riot police, with brass sections passing in open-topped cars at key sections of the song.
And here's one for the goths: Propaganda's "Dr. Mabuse", with Anton Corbijn doing his best Fritz Lang homage.
YouTube music video of the day: "We're From Barcelona", by Swedish pop combo I'm From Barcelona. There's 27 of them, and they sound somewhere between a Polyphonic Spree (only without the white-robed Texan cultist shtick) and recent Swedish summery indie-pop like Sambassadeur or Jens Lekman.
This week, I went to see Spearmint at the Luminaire. They were excellent; incredibly tight and energetic, with lots of handclaps, harmonies and dancing around the stage. And their new material is quite impressive (particularly Psycho Magnet, which sounds like what Funny Little Frog would have been had it been recorded by early-1990s Pulp rather than Belle & Sebastian).
Anyway, a few choice video fragments from the gig:
Tonight, I went to Cargo to see Camera Obscura, the Scottish indie-pop combo. They were pretty good; slightly retroish pop music, not a world away from Belle & Sebastian, though with a black-haired girl in Stuart's place. (I.e., if you like B&S, you'll probably like them.) They played some older songs ("Teenager", "Suspended From Class" and so on), and a few from their new album, which I'll have to get a copy of.
The support band, Frànçois and the Atlas Mountains, really impressed me. They're an indieish outfit from Bristol, fronted by a French chap who moved to Bristol for the music scene, and played both well and energetically, with a lot of instrument swapping, handclaps and general jumping around; not to mention some rather leftfield choices of instruments; in addition to the usual indie kit (guitars, Casios, tambourines, melodicas), they had a huge wooden recorder and a harp; all of which worked quite well. Not to mention that one of the band members had the k3wlest T-shirt: it read "I Really Like Electric Rock Music".
I happened to have a digital video camera on hand, and hence I filmed parts of the gig. I've uploaded one of François & co.'s songs, "Tracey Emin" (perhaps the standout piece of the set) to YouTube (with the appropriate permission, of course):