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Wednesday 30 November 2011

I Did It.

Celebrating a month of uploading content every day.

Well done to all those who have completed their own challenge during November.

 DugalWest's poem:

Monday 28 November 2011

Sadness Is All Around.

I, like many people across the UK, was shocked to hear of the very sad death of the footballer Gary Speed on Sunday.
It appears from reports that, tragically, Gary Speed took his own life.

It took a while for this to sink in as i'd only seen him on BBC's live Football Focus show the previous lunchtime and he appeared to be his normal self. I had to check to make sure that it was actually the same person. Unfortunately, it was.

This news made me pose the question, how could a man that i'd seen, apparently full of life, decide to end that life, at the very young age of 42, just a few hours later?

A possible clue came from a blog post from another ex footballer, Stan Collymore. In this blog post, which was rather scarily written in the early hours of Saturday morning, Stan Collymore speaks about his own struggles with depression.
I have seen it suggested, although i have no way of verifying this, that depression may have been a factor in Gary Speed's death.

Thankfully, i have never knowingly had any contact with depression myself, or with anyone suffering from it. Therefore, i am completely unqualified to talk about it. You only have to read Stan Collymore's blog post to realise how outward appearences can be deceptive and also how misunderstood the condition can be.
So, i will leave that discussion to those who are far more qualified.

On the radio this morning though, during the sports report, they were talking about an annual sports book prize, that is being awarded today. Coincidently, one of the books shortlisted is a biography of the German footballer, Robert Enke, who also took his own life, due to depression, in 2009.
(Update: The book about Robert Enke, "A Life Too Short" by Ronald Reng, won the William Hill Sports Book Of The Year Award for 2011)

During the course of the conversation it was suggested that sad and tragic events might be easier to write about than happier ones. This was not meant, in any way, to lessen the nature of the stories. But, this reminded me of another discussion i had heard recently about a completely unrelated subject, music.

Some of the best and most effective music you will ever hear, is written around sad circumstances.
The Blues is called that for a very good reason and where would Country music be without sadness and loss? There is that often told joke about playing a Country song backwards and everything becoming right with the world once again.

So often, it is those songs about love, loss and sadness that affect us the most. Possibly because we can all relate to them at some level?
I'm sure that you can think of your own examples. But, i'll give you some of my own.

For example, The Smiths built a whole career around the often bleak lyrics written by Morrissey.
The singer/songwriter John Martyn, who had many issues of his own, often wrote songs about the sad side of life, until his own untimely death in 2009.
A personal favourite musician of mine, Nick Drake also took his own life because of depression, way back in 1974. Nick Drake even wrote a song called "Black Eyed Dog", which contains lyrics all about the so called 'Black Dog', an often used expression used to describe depression.
The song contains the words, "A black eyed dog he called at my door...... A black eyed door he knew my name".
And how can you leave off of this list, possibly the grandaddy of them all, Leonard Cohen?

Winston Churchill, often thought of as the greatest Briton that ever lived, suffered from depression himself and often referred to "his black dog". Here's a quote from Churchill which gives some insight to how he somtimes felt:
"I don't like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand right back and if possible get a pillar between me and the train. I don't like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second's action would end everything. A few drops of desperation."

All of this just goes to show that there is often far more sadness in the world than we care to admit exists, or are even aware of.
Depression and sadness may well have inspired some of the greatest art and music in history. But, it may also mask, or hide something far sadder that it is lurking, just below the surface. Even in the most gifted, talented and outwardly confident people.

It sometimes takes the sad and tragic death of a well known and respected sportsman like Gary Speed, or Robert Enke to make us realise that.

NHS - Depression:
Depression Allaince:
Depression UK:
Black Dog Institute:

(I thought long and hard about whether to upload this blog post. As i didn't know whether it was right to link the recent death of a much loved sportsman, with the effect of sadness and depression on music. I would hate anybody to think that i am taking depression lightly. That is the furthest thing from my mind. Hopefully, i have made the correct choice?)

AudioBoo - What A Difference A Year Makes.

What A Difference A Year Makes. (mp3)

This time last year.....

Sunday 27 November 2011

The Modern Gig Going Experience.

A bit of a follow up to a recent blog post called 'Twitter & TV".
Here's a link to it:

There will be a further part to this discussion. I'll post it sometime in the next few days.

Saturday 26 November 2011

A Thoroughly Modern Experience.

The other day i had one of those thoroughly modern experiences.
I forgot the password for one of the myriad online accountts that i have.

Nothing strange about that i hear you cry and rightly so.
I'm sure it's something that has happened to the best of us. Especially in these days of spam, scams and those dodgy emails telling you that you've won lotteries that you've never entered, or even heard of.

You have to be increasing careful out there in the wild west of the Internet. And because of that we now have to have various passwords and usernames for all of those online accounts that have become such an essential part of our everyday lives.

If you're anything like me, you have accounts ranging across a wide spectrum of different interests and usergroups. We are frequently told and quite rightly too, that Internet security is a very serious subject and one that needs to be taken seriously.
I'm always reading accounts of people who have been taken in by the scammers, or who have just been plain stupid and used the same password for all of their accounts.
After all, it's hard work trying to keep track and note of all of those different passwords. Most Internet sites now offer a service which tells you how strong, or otherwise, your intended new password is. So, now you have to be increasingly inventive and start including numbers etc mix it all up.
So, how on earth are we all supposed to remember it all?

Of course, one solution is to keep all these passwords and usernames written down somewhere.
But, what then happens in the event of a burglary at your house? I'm guessing that one of the first things the modern day burglar searches for is that little notebook filled with all your valuable Internet information. Passwords, usernames etc. You just can't win can you?

I would suspect that it would be no exaggeration to say that i have around 100 different accounts of one kind, or another. Now, you may well think that that's a huge number. But, before you criticise, go and count up your own first. The figure may well surprise you.

I have many accounts that i probably no longer use and should really close. I have done that with a few. But, you know how it is? Good intentions and all that....

Also, due to my social networking activites, especially under my 'andymooseman' name. I have tended to sign up to several sites that i've had no real intention of actually ever using.
This may sound a little strange and probably is. But, the idea was to get in quick and grab my online username (andymooseman), just in case somebody else got in there first and grabbed it.
After all, you wouldn't want somebody else using your "name" would you. This could be viewed as being a bit egotistical. But, your Internet username becomes a kind of personal brand name, over time, and one that you will wish to try and protect. Just as any company would do.

I guess that this another one of those thoroughly modern things that you feel the need to do?
And, all those sites need a password, even if the username is already taken care of.

But, my recent predicament took this to a whole new and unexpected level.
I tried to sign into one of those sites that i'd not visited for a long time. Well, not long in Internet terms anyway.
As i mentioned earlier, i realised that i'd forgotten my password and didn't have it written down anywhere. I tried a few variations of other passwords that i've used before. That didn't work. So, i tried the "Forgot your password?" link that you see for just these occasions and then it dawned on me...
I couldn't remember which email address the account was under!

I still don't.
I asked them to send an email, including my password,  to several potential email addresses, but with no luck.

Over my time on the Internet i have had many email accounts and addresses. We've all changed ISP's over time i'm sure? I know i have and many times too. And each new ISP tends to come with a brand new email address. Ones which i have often used in the past.
Thankfully, at some time, i saw sense and signed up for a web based email account. Something for which i am now very grateful. Now, if only i'd done it a lot sooner.

So, be careful out there. They're all out to get you you know.
But, beware of those long lost and forgotten usernames, passwords and email accounts. They may just come back to haunt you in years to come.

Life was so much in the past wasn't it? Especially as a child.
If you forgot your name, all you had to do was to look inside your coat and read the name tag that your mother had sewn there.
How times change eh?

Friday 25 November 2011

Thursday 24 November 2011

Money, Money, Money?

Over the past couple of days, i have noticed quite a bit of talk in the media about people making money from online videos and especially from uploads to YouTube.
I have no idea whether this is a coincidence, or a consequence of people looking for alternative ways to make a little money in these challenging times?
Maybe, it's just a case of the mainstream media finally catching up with what many people have been doing for a number of years now? I suspect that it's a combination of the two.

I saw an article on the BBC last night about just this topic. They showcased the, now infamous, "Charlie Bit My Finger" YouTube video. This video is now the most watched online video of all time and has been watched a staggering 390 million times. Yes, that's 390 MILLION times!

Now, that's a pretty mind blowing figure and one that surprised even me, someone who has been making and uploading videos (over 700 of them) to YouTube for over 5 years now. But, it's one of those so called "viral videos" that get passed around between friends and work colleagues via emails, Tweets, Facebook links etc etc. It is also one of those videos that tends to get watched more than once. I know i've seen it several times and i suspect that you may well have done so as well?
But, that video is the exception rather than the rule.

In an interview with Charlie's family about the video, they talked about how they had managed to capitalise on its success and make some money from it. They admitted that they had made in excess of £100,000 from their videos on YouTube. Money which, according to their YouTube Channel is "going towards the boys future or treats we would not normally have bought".

Now, that may sound like a lot of money? It certainly did to my wife!
But, when you consider that the families many YouTube videos have been watched a total of over 502 million times, is it really?
I accept that we don't know how far above that £100,000 figure the family meant. But, even so....

One thing that always amazes me and was evident on the BBC program last night, is that so many people are still unaware that money can be made from uploading your videos to YouTube. Or, even how popular viral videos are and how many people make and upload their own videos. We all watch these videos online, or on our phones etc, but don't seem to think about it any further.

One other point always seems to be overlooked when talking about making money from YouTube videos. You have to be a YouTube "Partner" to get advertising onto your videos, or channel page. Without this advertising, no money is generated for you.
"Partnership" is still only available either by application, or invitation. I've no doubt though, that if a video of yours started getting huge viewing figures, that invite wouldn't be long coming.

I know of many YouTube video makers who do make what is sometimes a very good living from their videos. But, as with so many things, they got in early, saw a gap in the "market" and are very good at what they do.
These people also generate income from outside of YouTube. For example by having their own website, blogs etc that contain advertising, or even sponsorship. They often also sell related products, such as t.shirts, mugs etc.

This is not a part time, or spare time occupation, this becomes a full time job. These video makers are passionate and knowledgeable about what they do and what they create. They are often artistic people for whom sites like YouTube are a great way for them to showcase their, undeniable, talent. Those people that the world of big media have passed by.
Some of them even end up getting signed up by those same big media companies. Those media companies now use sites such as YouTube as a kind of online casting couch, or talent show. They spot what is popular and think of ways to transfer that to more traditional media outlets.
Unfortunately, due to the wild west nature of the Internet, this transfer does not always have a happy outcome, or ending. There is quite often a very good reason why certain content is on the Internet and not on regular TV.

Yes, there are money making possibilites out there for those with the talent, original ideas, dedication and luck required to make those, hopefully, viral videos. But, just be prepared to be outshone by a cute cat, a sneezing panda, or a baby biting his little brothers finger.

One thing that all of those last examples have in common, is that they're all natural events, or accidents and are not actually anything creative. Although, this doesn't stop people trying to "fake" these kind of events. Don't worry though, those videos are usually spotted early on. So, don't bother trying.

So, as my wife suggested yesterday, maybe the best things to do is do trawl through that all old video footage that you have of your childrens early years, in the hope that there is something funny and unusual going on?

See you on YouTube.

PS: Although i've been on YouTube for over five years, have made over 700 videos, which have been watched over 245,000 times and have been a YouTube Partner for a few years now. I have only ever made a very small amount of money.
Maybe i should go out and buy a cute kitten?

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Five Star Blog?

Yesterday, i had a debate, via Twitter, about 5 star album reviews.

It all started when i happened to Tweet about an album review i had read the previous day. The reviewer had given the album in question a 5 star review. 5 stars being the maximum amount and therefore the highest accolade that that reviewer could bestow on an album.

Nothing wrong with that. After all, we see 5 star reviews, or their equivalent, all the time and i'm sure many of them are fully deserved. But, my problem came with the fact that the reviewer had suggested that 2 of the tracks on the album in question weren't actually that good and should, to use the reviewers own words, "be skipped".

Now, my question and the one that i posed on Twitter was. If there are 2 tracks on an album that the reviewer feels aren't that good, how can they then give the album the maximum amount of stars? Surely the album should only get, at the most, 4 stars?

I've always felt, possibly naively, that if an album got the maximum amount of stars, the reviewer must have felt that it was, in their view, perfect and couldn't really be improved upon. After all, if an album is not perfect, what sort of accolade could you give a perfect album when you've run out of stars?

This could, of course, apply to anything that is being reviewed. Whether it be books, movies, tv programs etc etc.

One other point i made was that i sometimes feel that certain reviewers have made up their mind about the number of stars to give an album, before they've even heard it. Some artists seem to get 5 star reviews regardless. You already know how many stars the album is going to get without even looking. The artist in question is, in my opinion, one of those. That's not a criticism of the artist, just an observation.
But, this probably a another topic for another day.

After posing my original question, one of my followers on Twitter answered: "If an Album has 12-15 tracks and 10 of them are masterpieces, you wouldn't give it a 5 star rating?"
A fair enough question and one that i answered with: "No I wouldn't. I'd probably give it 4 stars & question why they put those "filler" tracks on there".
My friend then came back with: "Even the greatest albums didn't have all perfect tracks, would you give 4 stars to Abbey Road (by The Beatles)?"
My answer was: "Good point and good album, but how about Maxwells Silver Hammer and Octopus's Garden (Both of which are on Abbey Road)?".
We continued, Friend: "The importance of an album is not in the in ideal track, it's in the music and the message and what it inspires".
Me: "Can't really disagree with that and it's all down to personal choice after all. But is it a 5 star album if you don't like all tracks?".

I do see my friends point of view and i expect that many others would agree with him. But, i'm sure we can all think of examples of favourite albums of ours, by our favourite bands that have, at least, one duff track on them.
Now, if you came to have to review that same album, how many stars would you give it? Honestly?
My guess is that many people would give that album a 5 star review. But, if you always skip "that" track, should you?

The Beatles are a good case in point and were mentioned in that original Twitter conversation.
The Beatles are and always will be, one of my favourite bands and their albums are amongst my favourites. But, even the most ardent Beatles fans will admit that there are usually "filler" tracks on their albums. I mentioned "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" and "Octopus's Garden" from Abbey Road. But, what of "Yellow Submarine" from Revolver, or "When I'm Sixty Four" from Sgt Pepper?
Other examples are available and not just from The Beatles either.

I have many albums on which i love every single track. Albums with, in my opinion, no fillers, or duff tracks. I'll name just two examples that spring to mind:
Sex Pistols - 'Never Mind The Bollocks' and
Supertramp - 'Crime Of The Century'.
Those choices also give you some idea of my eclectic musical tastes!

So, i guess the question is. Should those favourite albums be rated higher, by me, than albums on which there are those filler tracks? Especially if, as an overall body of work,  i actually prefer the albums with the filler tracks?

Oh dear, what have i started?
Maybe, as i suggested to my Twitter friend. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference? After all, when it comes to music and anything artistic for that matter, taste is very much a personal thing and one persons masterpiece, is another persons worst nightmare.


PS: As it happens, this morning, i read a review of the "new" Amy Winehouse album.
It features demos etc that she was working on before she, sadly, died recently.
I was fully expecting this album to get the usual 5 star review. But, the reviewer was very fair and gave the album 3 stars. Because of what he felt were substandard tracks.
See, it can happen....

Monday 21 November 2011

AudioBoo - Alan Turing Lived Near Me.

Alan Turing Lived Near Me. (mp3)

Talking about Alan Turing, who lived some of his early life near my house.
The tv prog i mention is on Channel 4, in the UK, at 9pm this evening, 21st November.

Friday 18 November 2011

Thursday 17 November 2011

AudioBoo - Walking The Tunnel.

Walking The Tunnel. (mp3)

Another AudioBoo inspired by something i heard on the radio this morning.
Talking about my experience of working in and working in an Underground tunnel in London.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

AudioBoo - It's That Time....

It"s That Time.... (mp3)

'Tis the time to start preparing for and thinking about Christmas. Whether we want to, or not.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Vote For Me, I Don't Know What I'm Talking About.

Listening, as i normally do, to the Today program on Radio 4 this morning, i caught an item on Herman Cain, the prospective U.S Presidential candidate.

The item was about how Mr Cain had had difficulty talking about President Obama's recent policy on Libya, when asked by interviewers.
You can read about it and see a video here.
If you can't be bothered to wade through that, the main talking point was that Mr Cain had pretty obviously no idea what he was talking about.
He fumbled and fudged his way through the questions. He couldn't talk about any specifics concerning the questions he was asked. He even had to question the interviewers to make sure in his mind that they were talking about the same topic.

Here's a quote from when Mr Cain was asked if he supported President Obama's actions on Libya.
Cain: "President Obama supported the uprising? Correct? President Obama called for the removal of Gaddafi. Just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing before i say 'yes i agree', or 'no i don't agree'.
He then went on to say: "I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reasons - no, that's a different one"

It is obvious that this man, who don't forget wants to become the President and Commander In Chief of the most powerful country in the world, doesn't have a clue about a very important topic of recent U.S foreign policy.
I, for one, find this to be rather scary and also extremely worrying.
If you don't know about the important topics of recent foreign policy, what hope is there that you know anything about any of the smaller, but equally important, issues that affect your country and possibly the rest of the world?

This interview comes hot on the heals of another prospective U.S Presidential candidate, Rick Perry, not being able to name the three main agencies of the U.S Government in a televised debate.
See the video here.

All this is very funny to look at, especially from over here in the UK. But, as i said earlier, this is frightening stuff. In little over a years time, one of these men could be President of the USA!

It is, of course, quite possible that Cain and Perry may well have had their campaigns seriously damamged by these huge gaffes and quite rightly so. It's also quite probable that they will give up, if not now, then fairly soon.

But, this does beg the question, why did they think that they were qualified enough to run for President in the first place and also, why did people feel that they were good enough to do so and then support and give substantial amounts of money to them?

I realise that these two men might not be representative of all the candidates and i sure hope that there are better men still left in the race. But, it does make you wonder about the quality of political candidates and not just in the USA either. We see examples like this across the world.
Maybe, in the end, we get the candidates and politicians that we deserve?

The whole political system seems to be weighted heavily in favour of the well healed, well connected and well educated. It's almost a throwback to times past where only the Lords of the manor etc were allowed into Parliament/Government and the ordinary folk were kept out.

So, we end up getting political candidates who may have money and connections, but who have no real knowledge. Candidates like Herman Cain, who rely on advisors to tell them what to think and say. So much so, that when they're asked a question that they haven't been briefed on, they can't answer it.

Personally, i'd rather have a politician who knows their own mind, says what they really think and actually knows what they are talking about. Even if i don't happen to agree with what they say.

I'd vote for that.

Sunday 13 November 2011

Britain In A Day - The Footage.

Here is the rather random footage that i shot & will submit to the Britain In A Day project.

It's just random stuff from my day & yes, i am aware that the day technically starts at one second past midnight. But, i didn't think of that until it was too late.

Here are a couple of links to the project:
YouTube -

Saturday 12 November 2011

Friday 11 November 2011


Today is 11/11/11. Unless, of course, you are in the USA, where it's 11/11/11.

Sorry, but i just couldn't resist that. But, that is the whole point of this post.
Just why is there a difference in the way that those in the USA and, at least, us here in the UK write dates?

I have found this difference a source of confusion and even irritation, for a number of years now. Especially when travelling in the USA itself. The increasing influence of the Internet and it's U.S centric nature has only made this worse.

I think this anomaly really came to most peoples attention after, what is universally referred to as '9/11'. The terrorist attacks on America that took place on 11th September 2001.
When somebody in the UK sees that date written down, we automatically think of 9th November.
I totally understand why '9/11' is written as it is. After all the attacks took place is the USA and that date and the way it is written has now become seared to the memory of us all. But, this is an example of the potential confusion that can be caused.

For me, the way that dates are written down in the USA defies logic.
Why on earth would you put the month first and not the actual day? For me this is just confusing. As i'm sure it is for many non Americans.
Surely, the day should come first, because the day changes, well, daily. Whereas the month only changes every 28 to 31 days and as for the year...... well, i think you can guess the rest?

I have been wracking my brain for other similar examples of the way that important numbers are written down "wrongly". I can't think of any, but i did come up with time and the way that that is written down.

Time is also, usually, written in the "wrong" order. For example, we tend to put the hour first, then the minutes, then the seconds. Just look at a digital clock to see what i mean.
Although this goes against the reasoning that i suggested earlier, it does make sense and is logical. The sequence is just written in reverse order to the way that dates are written, in the UK that is. The number that changes the most is written last, instead of first.

Are you still with me?

For me at least, the time example just "proves" that the way that the USA write dates is illogical.
I'm not criticising the USA in any way, what they do is up to them, of course. I'm just asking the question.
So, can anyone explain to me why this is done and when it started?

One concern, for me anyway, is that the continued influence of the USA might mean that the U.S date system may start to creep into more general use. I'll admit that i would not be at all happy if that were to happen.

But, for today at least, we can all enjoy having a Universal date system.
And, it's an auspicious day all round, as it's also a binary day, Remembrance Day and Nigel Tufnell day (For all those Spinal Tap fans amongst you)

So, let's turn today up to 11 and enjoy it while we can.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Vinyl Junkie - Part 9.

The latest part in a series of videos that i made in 2009.
Trawling through a newly discovered part of my 45 rpm singkes collection.

Here's a link to the rest of the Vinyl Junkie series:

Monday 7 November 2011

AudioBoo - A Corporate Olympics?

A Corporate Olympics? (mp3)

Just talking about the upcoming Olympic games in London, in 2012. Is the corporate side taking over from the orignal ideals of the Olympics?
Have checked & the "Presenting Partners" of the Olympic Torch Relay 2012 are Coca-Cola, Lloyd TSB & Samsung.

Sunday 6 November 2011

Twitter And TV.

Last night, things finally came to a head.

What am i talking about? Well, here goes....

Why do some people insist on Tweeting about every single thing that happens in certain TV programs?
There, i said it!

I'm sure that this is a recent phenomenon, certainly here in the UK anyway?
Yes, i know that people have been Tweeting about TV progs, probably since Twitter was invented. But, not with the frequency that seems to have crept in recently.

In the UK, two programs seem to produce the biggest amount of related tweets. On a Saturday & Sunday evening we have the X-Factor and on a Sunday evening, following the X-Factor, we have Downton Abbey.
These two programs do have some of the biggest viewing figures. But, i'm not sure that that alone explains the amount of related tweets. And, yes, the X-Factor does encourage audience participation through voting. But, i don't think this explains it all either.

I'll admit that i have sometimes felt the need to post the odd Tweet during tv programs myself. But, the volume of Tweets during the above mentioned progs has to be seen to be believed sometimes. Some people are Tweeting, literally, every minute.

What i'd like to know is that if these people are spending so much time writing and posting Tweets, how much of the actual program are they seeing? And, if you're taking the time to watch a tv program in the first place, why not watch it instead of looking down at your phone, iPad, laptop etc?
Another aspect that intriques me is how many of the Tweets are not very complimentary about the program being watched. If you don't like the program, why on earth are you watching it?

I remember a time when the Internet was considered to be something of an escape, or even an alternative to tv. In many ways that is how i still view it. But, it's obvious that, for an increasing number of people, that is not now the case. The two worlds are combining and overlapping. Colliding even.
Of course, the situation is made all the worse when the tv programs being Tweeted about are ones that you have no interest in yourself.

Over the past few weekends i have often found myself turning off Twitter when these two tv progs are on. But, by doing that, i am then denying myself everything else that is going on in the Twittersphere.
Why should i do that?
So, i have now felt the need to take some drastic action and last night i 'Un-followed" two of the worst TV Tweeting offenders. Maybe it's my fault for following certain people in the first place? But, as with many things in life, you don't always know what you're letting yourself in for when you sign up!

Maybe the situation will get better when those two particular tv progs finish their run? But, i have a feeling that's not going to happen. Another show will, most probably, come along and grab the attention of the TV Tweeters.

I guess i'll just have to keep my finger poised over that "Un-follow" button for a while longer yet?

Thursday 3 November 2011

Life In A Day.

On Saturday, 24th July 2010, myself and approx 80,000 other people, from across the world, took part in a very special project.
It was called Life In A Day and the project was all collated via YouTube, the video sharing website.
Many of you will already know that i have been making and posting videos onto YouTube for over 5 years now. So, when this idea was first announced, i knew that i had to take part.

The whole idea behind the Life In A Day project was for ordinary people to film themselves, or what they were doing, however mundane, on that particular day.
In total over 80,000 people took part, submitting over 4,500 hours worth of video footage. This was then edited down and made into a feature length film directed by Kevin Macdonald (Last King Of Scotland, Touching The Void) and produced by Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Thelma And Louise).
The result was the worlds first crowd-sourced documentary. Something i was very pleased and proud to have played a very small part in.

Well, as i suspected, my own footage ended up on the cutting room floor. But, what did make it past the editors was some truly great video footage, all of which was then put together to make a really heartwarming 90 minute movie.

Although Life In A Day did get a cinema release, i don't think it was ever seen by many viewers. But, never fear, because the movie is being shown tonight, Thursday 3rd November, on British tv.
At 9pm this evening, Life In A Day is on the BBC2 and BBC HD channels. I've been lucky enough to see the movie, via a special screening on YouTube for contributers and can highly recommend it.

For those who cannot see it tonight, or who would like to see it again, Life In A Day can be seen on YouTube and the movie will also be available on DVD shortly.

But, that isn't the end of the story.
If you live in the UK, you can now take part in our very own version. It's called Britain In A Day and takes place on Saturday, 12th November. Although this is also being done via YouTube, where you will have to upload your own video footage. The resulting documentary will be screened by the BBC in 2012.

So, if you've got a video camera, or any device with video making potential, why not get involved?
I know we all tend to think that we lead mundane and ordinary lives, but that doesn't matter. That is a part of life and needs and deserves to be documented just as much as something special does. Of course, if you are doing something special on 12th November, you can film that too.

Just watch Life In A Day and see what the people of the world were doing on 24th, July 2010. You may well be amazed, surprised and even moved by what you see and hopefully, you'll also be inspired to get involved yourself.
Who knows, you just might end up seeing yourself on the BBC?

Happy filming.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

What Are You Doing This November?

Well, the nights are drawing in, the clocks have gone back and all pretence of Summer has disappeared down to the southern hemisphere.
November has well and truly arrived.

So, what are you planning to do this November?
A quick trawl around the Internet can give you some very interesting ideas and suggestions:
1 - Movember Why not grow a moustache and help support mens' health? I've heard this mentioned on a radio station that i listen to, where the male DJ's are all supporting this worthy cause and growing moustache's during November.
2 - NaNoWriMo National Novel Writing Month. Although i think this is primarily something that happens in the USA, i know of people in the UK who are taking part. The idea is to write a 50,000 word novel during November. In 2010 there were over 200,000 known participants! That's pretty impressive.
3 - NaPodPoMo National Podcast Post Month. As above, but the challenge being to record and post a podcast for every day of November. This is in its 5th year in 2011.

These are just some of the ideas around and i'm sure there are plenty more where they came from.
I know that these kind of challenges happen throughout the year. But, November seems to be the month when more come together than at any other time. So, why might that be?
My own theory would be that, as i said at the beginning of this post, the clocks have changed, the nights are drawing in and the outdoor life just isn't as attractive as during other warmer months.
There is also a little bit of a lull between the festivities of Halloween and the coming of the festive season. (I refuse to use the "C" word this early on in the year, unlike some others)

Whatever the reason, it's always good to challenge yourself in some way and the ideas above are all good and productive ways of doing so.

I have participated in challenges of this type before, although not for a whole month. This has been on YouTube, where various people in the past have challenged video makers to make videos every day for a certain length of time, usually a week.
Although i have always enjoyed this kind of challenge, i have never taken them very seriously. Partly because i've always viewed video making as a bit of fun and don't like to think of it as work, of any kind.
Maybe this is why i've never taken part in NaNoWriMo, or NaPodPoMo and frankly i'm really not sure a moustache is a good idea for me!

But, this November i've decided to at least try and do my own version of the above challenges. I do promise that no moustache will be grown, in the interests of public decency.
Being me though, i intend to do it my way and try and produce some form of content for every day of November. This might be a blog post here, a video on YouTube, a podcast on AudioBoo, or even a blog post for a private forum i'm involved with. Except for the private forum content, all will be posted here in some form.

But, also being me, i reserve the right to miss days, or just give up at any time i choose.
Well, why change the habit of a lifetime eh?

Tuesday 1 November 2011

The Digital Long Tail.

Like many people interested in music business in the UK, i listened to the lecture given by Pete Towshend, of The Who, yesterday. It has certainly caused a bit of a fuss in the media, with its seeming attack on Apple, iTunes and digital music services.

Whilst i do tend to agree with Pete Townshend on his views about modern record companies and the idea that digital music providers could and maybe should do more to help new music. It made me think of another aspect of this.

Pete Townshend himself referred to the idea of the Long Tail in his lecture. But, i'm not sure he thought that digital music provision and the Long Tail idea could actually help provide some much needed income for musicians in the future?

In the traditional music business, albums were recorded and then released by record companies on vinyl, or more recently on CD. This meant that the CD's etc had to be physically produced, packaged, packed and then distributed to record shops, or outlets across the world. This, as you can imagine, is a costly business and the distribution companies would take a cut of the cost price for their services.

When a group split up, or stopped recording, there would usually come a time, especially for lesser known artists, when those original recordings would be deleted from the record company catalogue and would therefore be no longer available to any potential customer. Either via the record company themselves, or in record stores.

How often have you discovered a band, or artist, only to find out that they're no longer around and their CD no longer available?
This happened to me only the other day. The band in question, The Aeroplanes released their one and only album, 'Black Hearts And Maladies', back  in 2008. Unfortunately, the band split up in 2010. Meaning that i never got the chance to see them live, except on YouTube. A fact that ties in very nicely with the whole point of this blog post.

How i found them is another story. But when i went to try and buy that album, the only place i could buy it was, rather ironically, on iTunes. The physical CD couldn't be found anywhere, except secondhand. It's possibly that with a lot of searching i may have come across it, but who does that kind of thing these days eh?

So, and i'm sure you're ahead of me here, in the old days i wouldn't have been able to listen to, watch, or buy The Aeroplanes music. The digital revolution has enabled me to buy the music and give a little bit of money to the songwriters and members of that band. Money they would not have got otherwise.
It may well only be a small amount of money. But, that is exactly the whole idea behind the Long Tail theory. Small amounts add up to something bigger.
Especially, as that money would not have been forthcoming in the pre-Internet age.

I'm not suggesting that the Internet and digital music in general is good for everybody, because is quite obviously isn't. But, for The Aeroplanes at least, it has helped them to gain one new fan, some much needed royalties and it's also given me a favourite new band.

Sounds good to me.