Category Archives: Media

Happy

Here’s a fun discovery for the New Year. The world’s first 24-hour music video featuring Pharrell Williams’ song Happy, which was originally written for the movie Despicable Me 2.

It’s a theme and visual variations for a danceable pop song. The 4-minute piece repeats continuously for 24 hours, but each rendition features a different video of one or more people dancing to the song. If you watched one each day, it would take almost a year to watch all 360 of them.

If you click on the image below, your browser should open the video at the time that corresponds to your time of day.

Screen shot of the Happy music video.
Happy music video at 01:33:01 PM.

Newspapers desperate to entertain

Newspaper advertisement for a free DVD
Newspaper advertisement for a free DVD

Newspapers are struggling these days. It seems fewer and fewer people read a newspaper regularly, and circulation revenue has decreased as a result. So the press is trying all kinds of ploys to attract “readers”, even going so far as to give away DVDs of full-length movies each week in the attempt.

Today, for example, the following papers are giving away the following films:

In keeping with the national trend, my wife and I rarely buy a weekend paper. However, in recent weeks we’ve been tempted to do so just to obtain the free DVD with which to improve our weekend viewing. Not long ago, your choice of newspaper was often seen as an expression of your political views. Now it’s more likely to reflect your taste in films!

You can read more about how these DVD offers are turning readers into “newspaper tarts” at the BBC’s web site (see How can papers afford to give away DVDs?).

Guardian radio?

Yesterday provided yet more evidence that the internet is transforming the media. In this case The Guardian newspaper is behaving like a radio broadcaster. Yesterday’s entry on its Conference Blog (New Labour is really a post-Thatcherite party) contains a link to an audio interview with Tony Benn at this week’s Labour Party conference in Brighton. So if you haven’t time to read the paper, you may find it more convenient to listen to it instead!

Think Canadian

thinkcanadian
Do you remember Apple’s television advertising campaign commonly referred to as Switch from a few years ago? There are a number of parodies floating around the internet, at least one of which (starring Will Ferrell) is still available online (Careful – it’s 4.1 Meg).

Well, Tod Maffin of the CBC has produced his own version to highlight one of the risks inherent in the current lockout affecting Canada’s national broadcaster. It’s pretty good, but you probably have to be Canadian to appreciate it fully.

BBC Podcasts

A pair of white ear speakers for a personal music player
Earbuds

The BBC has started to provide MP3 recordings of some of its radio programmes. In cyberspace this phenomenon is called “podcasting” (after the ubiquitous Apple iPod which can be used to play these files) and it’s all the rage.

I’m a cynic when it comes to the hype surrounding podcasting. It’s been simple to record radio programmes on tape for most of my life, and it’s been possible to make your own MP3 recordings automatically, using software such as Total Recorder, for several years already. So I find it difficult to get excited about recording them digitally now.

Nevertheless, I welcome the BBC’s initiative, if only because one of my favourite Radio 4 programmes is included in the trial — In Business. See the BBC’s Download and Podcast Trial for more information.

Music in the Kitchen

Music in the Kitchen? Sure, I can play that game; despite not being much of a chef.

A photograph of a BT Voyager Internet radio.
The BT Voyager

In fact, music has recently been rejuvenated in our kitchen with the arrival of a BT Voyager Digital Music Player. Sitting simply in the corner, it allows us to listen to anything our computer can play on CD, MP3, or stream via the Internet. Consequently, I’ve been listening to NPR and the CBC a lot recently.

  1. What is the total number of music files on your computer?
    • No idea. Does it matter? It’s quality that counts.
  2. The last CD you bought?
    • Shortly after Christmas I heard a discussion on CBC Radio about the best Canadian albums of 2004. One of those mentioned was My Favorite Distraction by Coral Egan. Think Sarah McLachlan crossed with Joni Mitchell.
  3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?
    • Trouble from the album of the same name by Ray LaMontagne.
  4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
    1. Jack Reardon and Sacha Distel’s The Good Life as performed by Betty Carter on Look What I Got!
    2. Al Jarreau’s interpretation of Lennon and McCartney’s She’s Leaving Home is a marvel, as I’ve said before.
    3. Corcovado as performed by Astrud Gilberto, João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Tommy Williams, Milton Banana and Stan Getz. It’s the epitome of cool.
    4. Once in a Lifetime by Aretha Franklin from the album Yeah! Aretha Franklin in Person — a great preformance recorded live at a nightclub in 1965. The crowd obviously doesn’t realize that the young Aretha will become the undisputed Queen of Soul. At one point you can clearly hear a young woman let out an indignant “ouch!” as if she’s just been pinched, and during the next song a man whistles the theme music to the Twilight Zone. Philistines!
    5. Softly, William, Softly from the album Concord on a Summer Night by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. A magical song-without-words on an atmospheric live recording.
  5. Who are you going to pass this stick to and why?
    • Anyone who reads this post and cares enough to reciprocate; because they obviously care.