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SapphireSteeel Software

 

 

September 2005

A Gay Boyfriend, a hobbit stewing potatoes and a troupe of singing badgers - these are a few of the delights which can be yours just as long as you have a fast connection…

 

I’ve had a marvellous time with my Gay Boyfriend this week. I’ve had also had quite a lot of fun with My Ding Ding Dong. In fact, a whole new world of stuff and nonsense has been opened up to me thanks to our wonderful British Telecom who, after long and frustrating years of waiting, finally managed to flip the switch to bring broadband to my remote country hovel here in the wilds of North Devon.

I had always assumed that once I got broadband I would waste no time in doing lots of serious stuff such as downloading software APIs and PDF manuals. On the contrary, I have wasted no time at all in getting down to the serious business of… wasting time.


“I want a love who'll never stray. When he sees other girls, he looks away…” - so sing The Hazzards in their video, Gay Boyfriend. Here we see one Hazzard with her dream date.

Let me start with the Gay Boyfriend of which I spoke earlier. A couple of weeks ago, when I was still on dial-up, I wouldn’t even have thought of watching this. A Quicktime video weighing in at 25.1 MB for the high resolution version or 9.2 MB for the medium resolution version , it would have taken most of the afternoon to download. Now I can just point, click, watch and swoon. Ah, what a gem this videos is! Written and performed by the female ukulele duo, The Hazzards, and directed by the talented Ryan McFaul, this alone makes broadband worthwhile… (oh, and while you are there, be sure to watch the ‘making of’ movie too).


“It'll be a great romance. We'll go shopping and buy tight pants…” - to think that, if it hadn’t been for broadband, I may never have found this fabulous video!

Now, while The Hazzards are new to me, I must admit that I had already encountered Günther and The Sunshine Girls. It was late at night (well, early in the morning as matter of fact) and I was channel surfing, trying to avoid cheap reality TV shows when, by great good fortune I chanced upon a cheap pop music show. And there he was in all his glory: Günther. With his dark glasses, white suit and a moustache that looks like a caterpillar fallen on hard times, this man could only be either a double-glazing salesman of disreputable character or a Euro-disco star. As far as I am aware, only the latter description is applicable, though for all I know he may sell windows in his spare time…

Having seen the video once, I had given up the hopes of ever seeing it again. And then I found Günther’s web site. To my enormous joy the video (warning: possibly not work-friendly) was there in all its glory. If you haven’t seen it before, prepare yourself for… well, anyway, prepare yourself.


“The four main things in Günther's life are Champagne, Glamour, Love and Respect….” so says Günther. And who am I to argue?

Both Günther’s Ding Dong Song (subtitled ‘You Touch My Tra-la-la’) and The Hazzards’ Gay Boyfriend could lay a reasonable claim to cult status. However, while those two videos are professionally produced, one of the biggest cult video successes on the Internet could hardly be more amateur. The Numa Numa Dance is just a grainy video of a New Jersey teenager, Gary Brolsma, sitting in front of his webcam miming to a Romanian pop song! In the unlikely circumstance that you have not yet seen this you may ‘treat’ yourself by logging on to http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/numa.php.

With who knows how many millions of views by now, this video has also appeared on various TV shows and at least eighty different web sites. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s spawned a whole load of copycat videos including one with a dancing Hitler and an American Idle (sic) parody . It has to be said that many of the Numa copycats are, in some ways, far, far better than the original. Some of them have skilful and inventive animations and many of them have superior video or sound quality. But what they don’t have is whatever it takes to be a cult. Only Gary Brolsma’s original has it (whatever ‘it’ is; if I knew that I’d be selling it by the bottle).


A boy, a webcam and a Romanian pop song. Not an obvious recipe for success - but then cults are rarely obvious….

Numa Numa is a classic example of so-called ‘viral video’ - that is, a video clip which achieves huge popularity due to word of mouth (or, rather ‘word of email’) as people pass on the link to the video from one person to another. If you want to waste your time watching viral videos, a good place to start would be IFilm. The only problem with this site is that it is plagued by the worst kind of irritating adverts including ones that fly around the screen and others that sing at you. Ugh!

There are plenty of alternative sources of viral videos such as Camp Chaos - the official site for a movie called The War Effort (and therefore, possibly, to be regarded as a ‘viral web site’?) this has a number of videos with a political angle plus a few others including the most famous viral video ever, the so-called ‘Star Wars Kid’, a sublime love duet between Mr Blair and Mr Bush , and rather frightening video of Steve Ballmer exhorting the Microsoft troops (and if you still aren’t scared, try the remix).

If you have plenty of time to waste, try out BoreMe. This comprises a huge collection of Candid Camera and You’ve Been Framed type videos: stunts, pranks, cute animals doing not-so-cute things plus the inevitable Numa Numa Dance.

Broadband has also opened up the wonderful world of Flash to me. Up to now I’ve had mixed feelings about Macromedia Flash. As it is responsible for many of the most irritating online adverts (of the flying and singing variety), I have tended to take a rather negative view of it. However, Flash is also the medium of choice of some of the most creative online artists. Take a look, for example, at ‘Modern Living / Neurotica Series’, a collection of sometimes funny, sometimes violent and always vaguely disturbing Flash animations by Han Hoogerbrugge. Wonderful stuff. For an even more ambitious work, take a look at Hoogerbrugge’s Hotel - a long and complex interactive story about a man who volunteers to crash a car as part of a series of tests conducting by a doctor investigating freak accidents. This is a bizarre tale told in eight episodes. If you enjoyed Twin Peaks or Donnie Darko, you may enjoy this too. If you prefer I Love Lucy, maybe you should give it a miss….


Han Hoogerbrugge’s Hotel - strange, disturbing and really rather wonderful

One of the most entertaining collections of Flash animations has to be Weebls Stuff . Probably best known for the addictive Badger Badger cartoon this also has some other great singalong cartoons such as Kenya, the equally fabulous Kenya Live and (one of my favourites) Magical Trevor.


You're never alone with a Badger - ah, if only all Flash were this good!

Badger enthusiasts might also want to take a look at Lord Of The Rings, The Special Edition (all badger scenes fully restored). There are, in fact, quite a few Lord of The Rings videos on the Web. You might want to try out two videos with added songs: They’re Taking The Hobbits To Isengard and Taters which features Sam on vocals.

Ah, yes, all these years I’ve been waiting for broadband, certain in the knowledge that it would save me so much time. And now I have it I’ve discovered that all the time I’ve saved is being taken up with wasting it. This is such a worrying thought that I feel I may need to relax with a little light distraction. What shall it be this time? Taters? Badgers? Günther? Or Gay Boyfriend….?

Decisions, decisions…


Copyright © 2009 Dark Neon Ltd. Not to be reproduced without permission.


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