Monday, December 04, 2006

A Couple of Videos

The wind refuses to quit around here; it's been serious straight-line wind for several hours now, but we're still anchored to the ground. (It's been this way off and on for several days -- winter blowing in?) Sleep, on the other hand, is somewhat elusive. So I provide you, gentle reader, with two worthwhile gleanings from my aimless internet wanderings.

First, let me say that I am discovering how surprising I find people. Here in Britain, many people are quite keen on trainspotting: not quite my cup of tea, but I really like trains, so I can sort of understand it But there are also some youth -- and who else but youth, right? -- who are keen on trainsurfing. It is increasingly an issue here in the UK, and even more widespread in South Africa. And I ran into this video on Myspace:

Posted By:•Jðhññ¥ VïÐêÖ•

Get this video and more at MySpace.com

Do I really need to tell you not to do this? Yes, the price of train tickets are high and set to go higher at the new year -- don't get me started -- but really, riding on the outside, your copy of the Guardian will blow away and there's no trolley service. (That said, there is a haunting beauty to it. Or maybe that's the video editing.)

But while I'm busy sharing videos with you -- and I hope it goes without saying that I don't endorse everything that MySpace or YouTube, for all their fun, time-wasting goodness, post for viewing -- I should tell you how much I love Ken Nordine and his spoken-word artistry.

I really, really love Ken Nordine and his spoken-word artistry.

Oh, I know, you're thinking: "who?"

Trust me: you probably don't know his name, you won't know his face. But you know his voice.

Ken is now 86 years old and still going strong. He has been a voiceover artist, a voice artist, since the 1940's. He created Word Jazz, described as 'aural vignettes', more or less stream of consciousness spoken word performances recited over a background of cool jazz, sometimes humourous, sometimes thought provoking, and sometimes undertaken just for the sake of the journey. They are inimitable.

My wife and I went to see him perform 7, 8 years ago at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music. The room was packed, and he held us transfixed for an hour, hour and a half, two hours, just talking. I'll never forget it and desperately hope we get to attend another one.

Nordine put out a Word Jazz inspired album entitled 'Colors', in which he performed an 'aural vignette' for each of the colours. I found the following video on YouTube, a video accompaniment to Nordine's performance of 'Yellow'. Enjoy.

Well, the winds have died down, so I guess I'll turn in for the night.

(Oh, and I updated my book list on the sidebar, for those of you keeping score at home.)


Blogger maggi said...

just worth pondering, Jason, that there are more trainspotters in Cambridge than in the rest of the UK....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 9:26:00 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Really? I had no idea...I just knew that it was a generally more popular pastime in the UK than the US.

Yes, quite worth pondering, the correlations of the two.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 3:01:00 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Actually, the more I've pondered it, the more amazed I am that we actually know how many trainspotters there are in any particular region of the country.

I mean, which is more odd: spotting trains or spotting trainspotters?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 8:16:00 PM  
Blogger PdB said...

Being one of the uninitiated, it first appeared to me that he was mass-marketing his panhandling by washing the wind"screen" of the public transport! Then the train started moving in the opposite direction... Much safer for him that way, I'm sure.

BTW- Did you know that our old friend Howard is a trainspotter here in Illinois?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 4:06:00 PM  

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