April 2011


A popular parlour game has always been to see who shares the same birthday as you: for me, it’s the likes of:

But as Jerry Seinfeld observed: “It’s always an odd group of people too, isn’t it?”

It is rare that you can actually identify with those people who share your birthday (or more accurately, were born on the same date). Someone has to be; there’s more than 365 famous people in the world so chances are at least one of them will be born on the same date you are. Beyond that you’re living separate lives; it’s not like you’re getting together to blow out candles on a joint cake.

I submit that when you’re like me, there is a better group of people with which to compare: those that share the same initials.

Unlike birthdate-sharers, initial-sharers do have something more in common: an upbringing seared in the shared crucible of enduring taunts, insults and the like.

Your name (and by extension – or should that be contraction? – your initials) is you. Because we use language to communicate, the language a name contains helps us to identify others and to spur our memories of them. Our interactions with people revolve around this; it is why customer service jobs insist on nametags and it is why you have that awful feeling when you walk away from an encounter with someone whose name you should remember, but don’t.

So to the following people, I share a knowing glance, if not a raised and pinched nose and a ‘pee-YOU’. I know your suffering and have shared it with you. Collectively we have been reduced to BO – yes, body odour – but we are stronger for it:

* Not technically a BO, but close enough.

The original concept here was to pay homage to Rage, the Australian national broadcaster’s late-night music video jukebox on weekends. Expound upon how awesome it would be to host Rage and dazzle everyone with my eclectic taste in music. Describe the  first five videos I’d pick, and then open it up to the (most likely zero) folk who’d share their music video favourites.

But such a concept is beside the point. The allure of Rage was the unknown; which video was going to be on next, or who was guest-hosting this week, was a total mystery upon arriving home at 2am on a Sunday morning.

Now, you can get this information ahead of time, and moreover, thanks to YouTube, you can watch any music video you like any time you want. Or, in other words, thanks to the internet, you can be your own Rage host pretty much whenever the mood strikes you.

I don’t think the question, for me, is whether this is necessarily better – it’s that I’ve recognised that the question exists. There was something magical about stumbling across a Rage video late at night that you knew was being seen by few others – but it’s also magical to be your own Rage host.

It’s just a different kind of magic.

On to 3 videos I’m partial towards!

Efterklang – ‘Modern Drift’

I heard about this Danish group in passing from the New York Times Music Popcast: a five-second burst of this song that gave me that ‘who is that?’ feeling you get when you hear something you like and you need to know more.

The video also contains a naked woman (approx 1:00 mark) for no real reason, other than because they can. Ah, Denmark!

Harry Connick Jr – ‘Whisper Your Name’ (live on Letterman, 1994)

A very white-looking (and young) Connick Jr with his very black-looking band tear strips off this piece. I always liked Harry for trying to get out of the Buble-esque crooner pigeonhole around this time; he’s an underrated piano player and his band is tight here.

Beastie Boys – ‘3 MCs and 1 DJ’

It’s the start that kills me: one minute plus of no music as the one joins the three. Hilarious.

Random food which you tell me is delicious

Random food you tell me is delicious.

This is not a personal attack.

Many people I know and count as friends like to take photos of the food they are about to eat, and either share it instantly or later. You are all still nice people and I don’t hold your predilections against you.

I just don’t understand the concept of photo-eating; it baffles me.

I look at the photo you have taken. I can’t taste the food; I can’t smell it. I can’t touch it; I can’t eat it.

But more than this is the unwritten message that you send whenever you photo-eat:

“I am about to do something fantastic,” you say. “And you are not.”

You celebrate your good fortune by reminding me of my poor fortune. Your stomach rejoices; mine merely wonders.  It seems to be the opposite of social inclusiveness that the Web 2.0 has fostered, whereby we get to share in what other people we know and like are doing.

This is not sharing; there is no equitable distribution happening.

You are doing something fantastic, and I am not.