March 2011


Twitter and Facebook are, of course, the dominant players in Socialmediaville.

I broadly – probably too broadly – summarise the difference between the two as Facebook allows you to get information from people you know; Twitter, information from people you don’t.

I came late to the Twitter party but am now a big believer: a couple of weeks ago, I cancelled my newspaper subscriptions – an incomprehensible act even as recently as a year ago – because they didn’t offer what I now want in my information provider: that is, timely news about what I’M interested in.

We all have our favourite Twitterers: mine is the now (sadly) defunct @MayorEmanuel, who showed how funny and clever the medium can be.

An exercise I recently concocted inside my own head: who, historically, would have had an awesome Twitter feed?

Main criteria: we’re not talking a lifetime feed; just for a month of ‘peak activity’. And they’ve got to be interesting.  Do you think Don Bradman would have had an interesting Twitter?  I think it would have been deathly dull: ‘Batted well today. Made 300. Gave chance on 197 – but it was a good ball, not a poor stroke.’

Here’s some I think would have been entertaining, plus a sample tweet from each – who’s on YOUR historical Twitter feed?

Wilt ChamberlainWilt Chamberlain (any month of his pro career):

Killed it again tonight: 72 points, 28 rebounds, plus #14,371 and #14,372 in the hotel. #averagenight


Lee Harvey Oswald

Lee Harvey Oswald (Oct/Nov 1963):

Tomorrow’s the day. Thank heavens I’m not acting alone. #likemyknollsgrassy



Antonio SalieriAntonio Salieri (Nov 1791):

WAM is REALLY beginning to get on my nerves. Upstart.


Monica LewinskyMonica Lewinsky (circa 1996):

My Mystery Man was SMOKING today!! PS anyone know a good dry cleaner in the DC area?


Muhammad AliMuhammad Ali (pretty any month in the 1960s):

Working on some new material. What’s the insect opposite of a bee stinging? #stuck

 

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Few things make people feel smarter than having an opinion about Radiohead – which makes me feel like a certifiable genius.

Their latest release, The King Of Limbs, was released in a typical blaze of non-self promotion only a couple of weeks ago, and its musical qualities can be discussed another time (my six-word review: first half OK, second half terrific).

But I’m still coming to terms with the accompanying video that got dropped along with the album, as are some 6.5 million (and counting) viewers on Youtube:

 

So what’s going on here? I’m going to describe it as a pop cultural postmodern piece of art working on many levels:

Level 1: Gooby white dude dancing with seemingly little regard for rhythm, function or form.
Oh yes, it’s definitely that.

Level 2: Thom Yorke ditching the other four Radioheaders to dance in clip by himself.
Where are the other four guys? This day has been coming, mind you, with Thom grooving live with his super (backing) band featuring Flea on bass:

 

Or unleashing some baffling dancing in live Radiohead performances (around the 3:20 mark):

 

Level 3: Thom Yorke satirising other music videos which favour style (ie fancy dancing, costumes, etc) over substance (ie music)
We know this has worked due to the explosion of hilarious mashup videos, not to mention Thom Yorke dance guides.

Level 4: It’s not just a batch of random moves thrown together; it was choreographed by a real choreographer.

Level 5: Watch (and listen closely): like the music of a typical Radiohead song, the visuals ebb and flow, start and stop, push and pull – but also circle around each other and reward repeated viewing:

Exhibit A: he only takes his hat off twice in the clip (at 2:25 and at 4:14): the lyrics at both these spots? ‘Just to feed your fast-ballooning head’

Exhibit B: Thom’s face and dancing starts in darkness; the intro finishes at 0:51 and throws Thom into a harsh light for the vocals to kick in.  The song finishes by reversing that order, from light to dark, from 4:51, with Thom finishing with similar moves from the intro.

Level 6:  every so often, the fleeting but knowing glances straight down the barrel of the camera. These looks seem to say: ‘Is this a serious video?  Am I mocking my own dancing ability?  Maybe, maybe not:  you be the judge.’

I can’t decide, but by golly I’m entertained. To Mr Yorke, I take off my bowler hat.