Friday 29 April 2011

Notes From His Royal Highness The Kid In The Front Row

On this, thy fine evening, myself, my majesty, The Kid, after such regal and prosperous an occasion for forthwith, ofwith, onwith my country; I found myself on my own, in thy room, enjoying a cuisine known to the British, remarkably, as cereal. Thy fine dining, on my ownself forthwith made me realise, majestically and especially, that my life is perhaps lacking in what can only be described as: a woman.

Therefore, especially, and becomingly, and belligerently; I have decided upon which the future of my feelings, is to be, and to see and to hold and to be the Prince, of my affections for my darling, here standing; being, of course, not to mention-- that I shall, in all my royal worth; be looking to, shall we say, be dating and be doing of night time activities in private, with none-other than the remarkable and wonderful sister of thy Royal subject, herein, therein, of-in, within -- I shall be making my plans accordingly to win the heart of Pippa Middleton, sister of Her Royal Highness the Kate of England who famously, and elegantly, and beautifully married into the mad family who live in the big palaces.

Hereforth, my dear followers and admirers and servants; I shall be hoping to win the heart and body and anything else, herestanding, notwithstanding, while hopefully she's still standing -- of Lady Middleton, the sister, the hot one.

His Royal Highness The Kid In The Front Row of England.

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Thursday 28 April 2011

Did T-Mobile Steal The Royal Wedding Video Idea?

In my previous post, I shared a T-mobile viral advert and labelled it as 'genius'. But when you say something like that, you are implying the idea was genius. That some clever creative person at T-Mobile came up with a great idea. But my blogger friend Ophelia opened my eyes to something different.

Watch this.

Now watch the T-Mobile one again.

Sure, T-Mobile's is better; they've got Royal lookalikes, a better song, and a wave of hype. But Jill and Kevin got there first, in 2009. Maybe others did too, maybe there was someone who influenced them. I don't know. But I definitely know, it wasn't T-Mobile's idea.

I should have realised. T-Mobile are a fucking awful phone company. Everyone I know in the UK who has a brain is with o2, or Orange. Jill and Ken's wedding video has seventy million views. There's no way T-Mobile came up with their idea without being influenced by this. The camera is in the same place, some of the dances are the same.

My blog is mostly about independent film, about artists. I feel like an idiot. It was only a few hours ago that I labelled the work of the corporates 'genius'. T-Mobile won a lot of fans with that video. There are millions of people around the world who feel a little more taken now with the T-Mobile brand, they're a little cooler than they were. But that's corporations for you. It's about greed.

T-Mobile need to add something to the video saying 'inspired by' or 'written by' or 'influenced by'. Or something. But they won't, I'm sure. 

Additional Note: There's been research done on T-Mobile's Wedding Video. 21% of people think it is 'innovative'. 'A further one in five associate T-mobile and the Royal Wedding viral with “original” and “innovative”'. This is how the big brands score -- they make everyone like them, and want their products; and it all begins with an idea stolen from someone else.

Here are the credits for the Royal Wedding video:

"The Royal Wedding spot was developed at Saatchi & Saatchi London by creative director/copywriter Paul Silburn, art director Lovisa Almgren-Falken, and agency producer James Faupel.
Filming was shot by director Chris Palmer via Gorgeous, London, with producer Michaela Johnson.
Editor was Paul Watts at The Quarry, London. Post production was done at The Mill, London. Audio post production was done at Grand Central Studios."
No mention of the people they ripped off. What are your thoughts?

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The T-Mobile Royal Wedding Video Is GENIUS!

I am so jealous of the people who make these, who conceive of the ideas. This video is absolutely marvellous (I have not used the word marvellous in a long time, and even had to check the spelling).

I wrote about a viral video called Sexy Sax Man a little while ago. I wrote "That's why this video is so funny. Because it's a big fuck you to the man. The Sexy Sax Man is above the law. He's being creative and hilarious in a way we rarely are in our well-planned, carefully constructed lives. He shows a side of us we crave for. He's liberated. And for the five minutes we're watching, we're liberated too." And I think the same things apply to the T-Mobile Royal Wedding Video. 

Sure, everyone will be watching the wedding when it happens tomorrow, but it'll be boring as hell. Loads of Royal people walking into a Church, sitting down, and listening to all the boring stuff. When we're at weddings, we get so bored and just want to get to the meal afterwards-- but tomorrow we're sitting down to watch this and we don't even know the participants. It's crazy.

But this video breaks free of all the Royal rules. We get to imagine a different wedding. And when you think about it --- the wedding could be this way. I mean, why not? Humans came to Earth, just another piece of nature, and then as time went on we got more and more rigid, self-aware, and boring. The way we walk down a street, the way we greet a friend, these aren't natural, they're socially conditioned. It could easily have been that men have ponytails and women kick a ball around a football pitch. But society went a different way. Most of what we do is acting. Acting and restraining. That's how we've decided to live.

So when we see a good viral video, like this one, we see a part of our nature that we oppress. I am not a dancer, not at all; I'm a writer who sits in a corner and avoids conversations. But a part of me would love to come flying down the isle like Prince William does in this video. It's in me somewhere, it's in you too, whether you believe me or not.

And that's the reoccuring theme with viral videos. They're a new art form which expresses the little tiny parts of ourselves that get amused by absurdity, or by betraying authority, or by seeing Prince Charles and Camilla getting their groove on. I guess the lesson is that we should try and inhabit a bit more of the spirit of the characters in this video, but the likelihood is that we won't. 

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Wednesday 27 April 2011

The Past Is Gone

I walked past my old primary school today. I think you Americans call it Elementary School. Anyway, it's the place I stopped going to when I was eleven.

It's similar to how it was but it's not the same. They've replaced the windows, built a new classroom and taken out the shed (which I mentioned a few days back in my Steptoe & Son post).

These little pieces of school that existed in my head are gone. They don't exist in the real world, only in my mind. The reality is a building with new windows and a paranoid metal fence. And it means nothing to me. The picture in my head means everything.

Pretty soon everything changes. The years go by and the buildings fall apart and everyone looks twenty years older. And a while after that the buildings are gone and the people are too.

And you capture this image of life and you keep it in your mind because it's the only thing that's real even though it doesn't exist at all.

You can get married or find a soulmate, you can even talk to someone you knew when you were small. But they saw something else. Their lives are a photograph of a place of a town that existed once, and just for a while.

Nothing lasts. It evaporates into thin air. And then it's someone else's turn.

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BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT: Michael Collings

Talent isn't about the fake tan. It's not about being thin. It's not about marketing yourself a certain way. That's what they've been telling us for years, but it's meaningless. If you get the breast implants and create your new 'image' you'll do great, but you'll do great for six months, and then you won't mean anything anymore. You'll capture a moment in time, you'll align yourself with what's selling at the moment; but then you're dead. No-one cares. Fashion moves too quickly.

Real talent is about being yourself. It's about dedication. Michael Collings came on to Britain's Got Talent and he blew EVERYONE away.

Here's what's tricky. Last year, on 'X Factor' - there was a 16 year old girl called Cher Lloyd. And she was fascinating. She had talent and she had a heart. Her singing and style was unconventional. But it wasn't quite honest enough; she wasn't quite sure of who she was, of what she was meant to be - she was searching for an image. This should be fine, because she was sixteen! At that age you should be exploring who you are without becoming a marketing phenomenon. But X Factor ended up taking anything that was unique about the girl and turned her into a bland pop star. As soon as they did that, the magic was gone.

What Michael Collings brought to the show was undeniable. He's not the best looking guy in the world, and as the ever-so-perfect-looking-judge, Amanda Holden quipped, "he looks like he's going on a long haul flight," but five seconds later, the moment he started singing; he connected with the audience in a way that is more profound than all of Amanda Holden's career.

Michael dressed in the way that's most comfortable to him. And when they asked "what is your dream?" he told them about how he wants to tour all over the world-- they looked at him like he was insane; which is a shame, because he said it in such a wonderful and rare way; no ego, no absent minded dreaming, he was just a man with a talent who replied as honestly as he could. 

And he can actually play guitar. 

The timer on the video shows he started singing on 2:08. Before 2:10 hits, the audience react in a massive way. It's a way I can't fully explain. It's not a "wow, you can sing!" cheer, although that is part of it. More than anything, he just hits them in the gut, in the heart. They can hear themselves, and their lives, in his voice. 

And suddenly this guy, this nineteen year old kid on a bullshit talent show; suddenly he is representing all the parts of us that are ugly, that dress badly, that don't quite fit in. And immediately; he's an artist. He's taken who he is and what he's been through, and he's let it all out to an audience. Everyone in the seats are shocked, the presenters, Ant & Dec, are blown away, and the ego's of the judges of talent are knocked down hugely. But I don't mean to make them out to be evil, just human -- that moment on 2:24 when we see Amanda Holden's reaction; she looks beautiful because she's beautiful, because she's vulnerable and human; and we don't always see that with her.

Sure, it's a cover song. But he makes it his own. I didn't even know you could make a Tracy Chapman song your own. But his choice of song says everything about him. He didn't pick a Maroon 5 track or a recent Beyonce hit. He delved into something more meaningful. And it's riskier. The audience was made up of seventeen year olds who, for the most part, probably don't even know the song. But it didn't matter. 

Michael Collins doesn't look like a pop star. He doesn't look like people are meant to look on TV. Instead, he looked and sounded like himself. And I've watched his video about thirty times since I first saw it, because I think he's fantastic, and a reminder of how brilliant we can all be when we be ourselves and do what we are truly capable of. 

"I had a feeling that I belonged."
-Tracy Chapman

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