Posts Tagged 'video'


My friend Barak Sh says:

… probably around 99.9% of the world’s population already knows that you should “press ESC to exit full screen mode” in YouTube. Isn’t it time to stop showing this extremely annoying message?

I would probably disagree and say that assuming such a thing about 99.9% is too bold, but…

I’m teaching my father (62) to use the Internet. I had to explain him many times what is spam, what are tabs in the browser, what are links, how to write a subject in an email and how to save email attachments to a local folder. Very simple things, but he’s still not so sure about most of them.

But he immediately understood that pressing ESC exits full-screen mode in YouTube! And he applied this knowledge to (nonstandard).

So he’s probably not too far off the mark.

All lost in the tide

What do you get if you search for Soundgarden’s “Pretty Noose” video? The “Alternate Version” – the one where the band just performs. So the song is awesome, but the interesting original video is not on YouTube.

But what’s interesting is what appears in “Related Videos”. After a bunch of Soundgarden videos you get: Radiohead – Creep; Weezer – Say it Ain’t So; Roxette – Listen to Your Heart.

At this point i am supposed to write a Russian cuss word, but actually i can’t deny that Marie Fredriksson looks a lot like Thom Yorke. I’d love to say that it ain’t so, but it is too.

Made Me Cry – Nikita

My nephew Nikita came to Israel to spend the summer with his grandparents – my parents. It was all fun, until two days before his flight back to Moscow he was hospitalized in Rambam with a bad case of peritonitis.

So his flight is postponed, of course. A week after the operation he can still hardly eat and walk. My parents sit at his bed in the hospital twenty-four seven and they are terribly tired, so i came to help them.

Today i sat with him for a few hours. He mostly slept. The TV was on with a low volume and i watched Music 24 (nonstandard1), the Israeli music channel.

The golden age of the music video has ended in about 1996. Back then MTV was the undisputed Master of the Universe and local videos, although very low-budget, aspired to the international big brother and had a lot of character. These days, however, nearly all Israeli music videos can be grouped into three sets:

  1. The singer is walking around the streets of Tel Aviv. And it’s the same couple of streets in all of them.
  2. The singer is walking around his rented apartment in Tel Aviv, makes coffee, watches TV, talks on the phone or goes down to the street to buy cigarettes.
  3. A huge close-up on the singer’s face. Obviously, this group is the most disgusting. I guess that too many video directors fell in love with Sinéad or – worse – with Alanis (Flash2).

By a rough count, nine out of ten videos falls into one of these, which is quite astonishing and depressing. It can ruin even good songs. But there are exceptions.

Eviatar Banai‘s video for “Yesh li sikuy” (Flash) is a quiet little masterpiece of music video making. The song itself is one of the all-time masterpieces of Israeli music; It is from Banai’s debut album. It’s black and white and it shows people in a bar lip synching to the song, subtly conveying the mood of the line they are singing. (Can you spot Banai himself there?)

Somewhere in the middle of the song there are those lines:

אמא שרה לבן בלילה,
אמא כאן לידך כל הזמן.

Mummy sings to the son in the night,
Mummy’s here near you all the time.

In the video a pregnant woman is singing the last line. You can hardly notice that she’s pregnant until she touches her belly. This subtlety is pure beauty.

I guess that it would make me cry even without the unfortunate circumstances, but sitting there in the hospital near sleeping Nikita while his mother was far away in Moscow did put things into a perspective.

I started writing this entry a few days ago. It was a pretty crazy bunch of days since then.

Nikita’s mother – my sister – Olga finally came to Israel today after fighting with travel agencies for a few days. His health became better.

Yesterday i bought him Gossip’s Standing in the Way of Control, a CD for which he was looking for months, in Moscow and in Israel. Finding it wasn’t easy. He was particularly happy to receive it, which may have contributed to his slowly improving health, too. Despite his current condition, i envy him; i don’t think that i shall ever be as touched by music as i used to be when i was his age.

Anyway, for the night he put it in a drawer next to his hospital bed and in the morning it wasn’t there. There is a slight chance that with all the fuss around him the CD was just misplaced and will be found, but everybody is sure that it was stolen.

I’m amazed. What a terrible scumbag someone must be to steal a rare CD from a sick child. I mean, i would at least understand the motivation if it was something famous, but even i hardly know this band, so what kind of a low life would want to steal it? He can get – what? – 20 NIS for it in a used CD store? Fukker.

1 Actually, the site seems to be mostly functional, but the videos use CastUp technology, which is IE-only. I never managed to install the Firefox plugin they offer, and even if it would work, it would only work on Windows. By the way, i (still) work for the company that recently announced the acquisition of CastUp. What do you know…

2 Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” is not on YouTube. Alanis’ Head over Feet video is still there…

Made Me Cry – Misha

Moscow 1980 – Farewell, Misha (Flash)

In Soviet Russia the good things were very good.

In Soviet Russia the big things were BIG.

Yesterday i saw a child walking with a big colorful balloon and imagined him flying to the sky. And it reminded me of Misha – the mascot of 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

Very few of the people who grew up in the Soviet Union won’t at least shed a tear when seeing the finishing ceremony of that olympiad. Its high point was “saying goodbye to Misha”, as he was released into the sky holding onto colorful balloons to the sounds of a sad farewell song. Everybody in Russia remembers the song. More than this, this is The Great Unifying Moment of post-Stalin Russia, comparable to 9/11 and Kennedy assassination.

So watch this movie. Don’t miss Misha himself shedding a tear at 0:47.

If this movie doesn’t make you cry, then you’ll never really understand anything about Russia.

Here’s the song. Lyrics – Nikolai Dobronravov, music – Aleksandra Pakhmutova. My translation is lousy, but i tried to make it rhyme; improvements are welcome. Website of the authors with links to music files is here: До свиданья, Москва.

На трибунах становится тише…
Тает быстрое время чудес.
До свиданья, наш ласковый Миша,
Возвращайся в свой сказочный лес.
Не грусти, улыбнись на прощанье,
Вспоминай эти дни, вспоминай…
Пожелай исполненья желаний,
Новой встречи нам всем пожелай.

Пожелаем друг другу успеха,
И добра, и любви без конца…
Олимпийское звонкое эхо
Остаётся в стихах и в сердцах.
До свиданья, Москва, до свиданья!
Олимпийская сказка, прощай!
Пожелай исполненья желаний,
Новой встречи друзьям пожелай.

Расстаются друзья.
Остаётся в сердце нежность…
Будем песню беречь.
До свиданья, до новых встреч.

The stadium stands are getting quiet…
Time of miracles is melting away.
Farewell to you, our tender Misha,
Go back home to your wood of fairy tales.
Don’t be sad, give a smile before the parting,
And recall these good days, please recall…
Wish us all the fulfillment of wishes,
Wish a new meeting soon to us all.

So let’s wish lots of luck to each other,
Let’s wish kindness and love with no end,
Bright and clear echo of the Olympics
Will forever be cherished and sang.
Farewell to you, Moscow, farewell,
Farewell, the Olympic fairy tale,
Wish us all the fulfillment of wishes,
Wish a new meeting soon to us all.

Friends are coming apart,
Tenderness stays in the heart…
We shall cherish the song.
Farewell, we shall meet again.

Sharp Shooters

Watch Björk perform her new song “Earth Intruders” live at SNL (Flash).

If you ask me now, i’d hardly give the song 7 out of 10. There are three possibilities: 1. I’ll give it a few more listens and love it; 2. Björk got old and lost her good sense for melody; 3. I got old but Björk didn’t.

Watching that video it is quite obvious that number two is unlikely. She doesn’t seem to get old. She is about fourteen, like she’s always been. Just look what she does at the end! A curtsey!

Also, she seems to have forgotten the dancing lessons she took for “Dancer in the Dark”. Thank God for that.

So ask me again how would i rate that song in a few months.

Made Me Cry – Hey

Arcade Fire live at Rock en Seine (Flash)

Arcade Fire released two albums. Everybody agrees that both are growers—you need to listen to them for a few times before you can really love them. The first one may have been called manipulative—several band members lost their family members during the recording, so they called the record “Funeral” and dedicated several songs to their families, most notably the unbelievable closer “In the Backseat”. The record went on to top a lot of critics’ best-of-2005 list. And no, it’s not manipulative—it is really good and all the praise was well deserved.

A week ago they released their new record Neon Bible (Flash). With such a title (taken from a novel) and a booklet with lyrics typeset like bible verses and a black-and-white photograph of a girl reading a book on every page it may look like an overblown and overambitious attempt at a sophomore album. And on the first listen it really sounded like an album full of opening tracks, big-sounding but not too engaging. After a few more listens, though, it took a shape. The next-to-last track, No Cars Go, is my favorite, and probably everyone else’s. The music reminds a little of Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight Tonight”, but far better. The lyrics are unusual for the band, which often employs wordiness, retro imagery and lines in French—here the lyrics are very simple, short and repetitive. The result is the best rock anthem of the decade so far. And it comes from a bunch of Canadian Québécois geeks.

Watch the video closely. I would really like to learn to play accordion now.

Made Me Cry – Matt

I am a basket case Internet junkie, but more often than not it takes a while until email fads reach me.

This one finally did.

I mean OK – i cry at greatness. And i love his dance (i should have been more prudent at filming myself jumping on beds in hotels.)

But the music! The music! Reminded me of the best moments of Go Home Productions. And Dancer in the Dark too.

Just made me cry.

Oh (edit): Stupid, stupid – i know what it really reminded me of. Cocteau Twins’ “Lorelei”. The song to which Hadar and me walked to the hupa. Videos will be uploaded Real Soon Now.