I’m not a music critic. I couldn’t dissect a song to tell you what parts of it are good and what parts are bad. That’s why you won’t see me writing about music a lot.
But this is an exception.
The above is United State of Pop 2011 (World Go Boom) by DJ Earworm. It’s a mashup of the 25 most popular songs of 2011, including songs by Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, LMFAO, Rihanna and Adele. It was uploaded to YouTube on Christmas Day.
And it’s awesome. But I expected it to be.
To describe it as a “mashup” seems unfair. In reality, this is a song created from little bits of other songs, a masterpiece of musical editing that is as awe-inspiring by its complexity as it is catchy in its melody.
If you haven’t heard of this before, you need to listen to the previous years’ versions:
Each is just as impressive. And for added awesomeness, each can be downloaded free as an MP3. Just follow the link in the YouTube description to DJ Earworm’s website.
Last month, I gave a talk to some student journalists from Ontario and Quebec who gathered in St. Henri as part of a regional conference of Canadian University Press.
I occasionally get asked to talk to students, and like most professional journalists I’m happy to do so, because it gives me a chance to help others and because it totally inflates my ego to see so many people look up to me.
As it happens someone was there with a camera and recorded the whole thing.
About half of the talk (which is in English but has questions answered in English and French) has been posted to YouTube in three parts (keep in mind I was low on sleep and didn’t have enough time to prepare a script or even a list of talking points, so you’ll hear a lot of “uhh”s and awkward pauses – the question period is better):
Okay, I admit, maybe it’s just that Annie Brocoli catches my eye more than other artists. But I still think there was a cameraman or director who paid a bit of extra attention to this lady.
I find it funny how the lady in the Sun News Network promo complaining about how “political correctness has run amok”:
is the same lady promoting government assistance to old people in Quebec:
(Click on the photos to get links to where they come from)
This is, of course, a stock photo. I tracked it down to German photographer Martina Ebel, who sells it through various stock photo sites. She confirmed the photo was hers, though she didn’t give me information about the model, who appears in dozens of other photos taken by Ebel.
I’d be willing to put money on the assumption that this nice-looking old lady is not Canadian, has never requested financial assistance from the Quebec government, and has never watched the Sun News Network.
But that’s not important, right? What’s important is the illusion that this photo represents an actual person we can relate to, and who are news media or the government to dispell us of the false impressions they planted in our minds?
Besides, it’s so heartwarming that right-wing media blowhards and left-wing government money wasters have at least one thing in common: the same taste in generic old women.
With apologies to Stephen Colbert
It wasn’t quite the way I pictured it would be, but on Friday evening I was on national TV for the first time.
Well, maybe calling it “national TV” is an exaggeration. It was during the 5pm hour on a Friday, and the audience was probably somewhere in the low five figures at best. I was actually more curious about the experience than I was excited about the idea of having wide exposure or getting famous or something.
Well, you knew it had to happen eventually. Big Orange Crush (on Ruth Ellen Brosseau) is the creation of Snowman in Heat, a Vancouver-based band (about as far from Berthier-Maskinongé as you can get). You can listen to their other songs here.
Note to strip mall managers: I have this strange aversion to tying my bicycle to a rack that can be moved with one hand.
Maybe I’m just being paranoid.
As it turns out, knowing about it for months didn’t soften the blow too much.
Aaron Rand, who announced in February he would be leaving CFQR/Q92/The Q after more than 20 years as a morning host, spent his last day at the microphone on Thursday.
And when he finally said goodbye, there weren’t too many dry eyes in the room.
I’m pretty sure the aliens are trying to send us a message.
This National Film Board documentary about the state of Canadian radio (particularly CBC/Radio-Canada) in 1949 has some funny lines. My favourite is this one:
“Radio reads its fan mail and makes its listeners’ surveys because radio has learned to trust the judgment of the listener. And in Canada, the listener gets what he asks for.”
There’s also some talk near the end about setting up a national television network and developing this new “frequency modulation” radio. And a clip of Oscar Peterson tickling the ivories.
I watched the special 50th anniversary broadcast of CFCF-12 last night. It was nice to watch for a local TV buff like me.
The anniversary special was preceded by a very short newscast. And since I made fun of a Global error the night before, I can’t ignore the fancy camerawork on display during a broadcast that I’m sure many other people also had on their digital video recorders.
CFCF’s own 50th anniversary blooper reel is here.
You might have missed it because you were on vacation or something, but the ad agency écorce put together a form of online advent calendar in December with … let’s call them interpretations of things that happened online in 2010.
It was kind of hit and miss, but there were a few gems among the videos that were done for this:
Une fille inoubliable, by Les Appendices. My favourite sketch comedy fivesome, the stars of the Télé-Québec show covered an awfully written and awfully-sung song from a video that was posted to YouTube but later taken down (fortunately, the Internet keeps copies of these things). Even though they use the same lyrics and roughly the same music, the Appendices version is actually pretty good. At the very least, it had a much higher budget.
Contrat d’lezz, by le Girly Show. You’ve seen Contrat d’gars, right? The show that goes so over the top with the testosterone you can’t help but laugh. It’s hard to parody something that already doesn’t take itself seriously, so Le Girly Show just turns it on its head and has women playing the lead roles. It’s not much funnier than the original, but it has the same magic.
L’Année 2010 selon Carole. Carole aide son prochain is a straight-faced comic web series that … I’ll be honest, it’s kind of hit and miss, though I like the concept. In this video, she takes on that lots-of-celebrities-political-message asking for a moratorium on shale gas exploration with some simple but effective satiric criticisms.
The rest of the videos from this project are listed on this page, and lots of other non-video-related recaps are also worth exploring.
(Did I miss something awesome? Think one of these videos is stupid and uninteresting? Tell me off in the comments)
I think what worries me most about the weather, as I saw it on tonight’s Téléjournal, isn’t that major cities on the west side of the country are farther east than they should be, but that the wind there is so strong it is repeatedly pushing Calgary into Edmonton.
This parody of Céline Dion and Julie Snyder: Funniest segment of the night, or mean-spirited attack on Quebecor? In this case, funny is in the eye of your employer
It’s tradition in Quebec media to review each year’s end-of-year special from Radio-Canada, the Bye-Bye. It went a bit crazy two years ago when Véronique Cloutier and Louis Morissette decided to take their first crack at it. So much so that there wasn’t one to end 2009.
So you can imagine how much everyone was anxious to see what would happen when Cloutier and Morissette decided they would throw themselves into the gauntlet again and host the Bye-Bye 2010.
I watched it, along with my family, on New Year’s Eve, and followed the reaction live on Twitter. My first thoughts were that it was pretty impressive, that they weren’t overcompensating by pulling their punches compared to 2008, and that it wasn’t likely to offend anyone … or at least, no one not working for Quebecor.
The consensus was that the production values were good (particularly makeup and prosthetics, which in some cases made the actors barely recognizable as themselves and instantly recognizable as their targets), the parodies were well done, and the music videos were great, but the jokes fell flat, which is kind of the most important part.
The first professional reviews came quickly afterward (Richard Therrien’s was up in less than an hour). But many others waited because they were to go in newspapers, and many of them published neither on New Year’s Day nor on Sundays. It would be more than 48 hours before some people would read anything about it.
I didn’t catch this on Christmas Day (because, sadly, I was working), but CFCF aired a half-hour year-in-review special in place of its regular newscast. It featured some discussions with CTV staff, and little packaged bits from reporters about their favourite stories of the year.
Artist's conception of the new studio planned for CFCF's newscast
You can watch the whole thing on its website, but the highlight for local TV buffs is the final segment, which takes a look at their plans for a new studio (hinting that the newscast will be in HD in 2012), and finishes off with bloopers (the funniest ones involving Paul Karwatsky).