Thursday, January 15, 2009

We Are Brilliant

You know how sometimes you're sitting in the pub (or if you're broke like me and most everyone with whom I associate, in your front room with some 4 for £5 tins) with your friend (or if you're as passively misanthropic/genuinely terrified of the general public as I am, 'allies' with whom you contractually agree to share space for the initial purposes of being able to afford to exist but then later find yourself entangled in conversations lasting more than 7 minutes wherein you inadvertently reveal vital information about yourself to one another over such an extended period of time that you come to know each other) talking shit about what you'd rather be doing than your fucking 9-5 job, because unlike the other saps in this world you have something important to contribute to society and its only this damned system that is preventing you from bringing said contribution into its fully realized glory; without the shackles of rent and student loans and a penchant for lattes you'd have all the time and resources to make some incredible thing... you know these conversations?

I don't know if its because I'm a 'starter' (as my brother says: 'Kate you know what your 'problem' is? You're a starter. There is no alternator, no timing belt, no brakes... just a starter. You never finish things or even really do them, you just get them going and walk off.') or if its that I prefer, over most all other forms in which things can be, things to be 'in theory,' but I find approximately 5/6ths of my conversations with everyone I know to start with the manic sentiment: 'Wouldn't it be cool if we did/made....'

These conversations have always proliferated in the house which I share with 2 other similarly disillusioned graduates (heretofore referred to as 'The Nunnery,' a sobriquet coined by our friend Ging ostensibly because it is located in Nunhead, a little borough of SE London known for being overlooked, unspectacular and located in between New Cross --known mainly for its tragically hip art-student inhabitants-- Peckham --known mainly for its stabbings-- and Brockley --known mainly for its yummy mummys getting their foot on the bottom rung of the London property ladder-- but mainly because no one who lives here or hangs out here ever gets any.) Safely shackled in the confines of full-time employment I was free to spend my evenings kicking back in the Nunnery, talking loads of shit about all the cool stuff I, regrettably, could never do... These conversations were usually initiated by things like:

the television programs we were watching: 'wouldn't it be cool if we wrote a full length feature script based loosely around a fictionalized account of the film crew who worked on former Dateline series To Catch a Predator'

the books we were reading: 'Wouldn't it be cool if we remade Moby a musical...using sock puppets'

the absurd 'holiday' projects we'd never be able to afford: 'Wouldn't it be cool if we shot out the window, the entire 7 day journey of the Siberian Express...both windows... in HD then mounted two wide screen plasma tvs on either side of the room and set out chairs facing forward in a row...and locked ourselves in the room for 7 days.'

In April 2008, I was made redundant from my 9-5 and feeling especially drunk on both newkie-brown and a tidy redundancy package.
One night, soon after my flatmate Corrie and I began jumping off one of our mutual spring boards for delusion and, camera in hand, locked ourselves in possibly the most destructive game of chicken in which I have ever been engaged (and I have voluntarily urinated on myself under no force other than my own stubborn will, on more than one occasion. -That's actually more or less a complete lie except insofar as its used a literary device. As literary device it is true as illustrates fairly accurately the benchmark of destruction which this endeavor has passed.)

The fateful conversation began with one of our favorite ideas at the time: 'wouldn't it be cool if we started a ukulele-fronted early 90s top 40 cover band' (this idea was quite an exciting one to bandy about as it allowed for various tangents on, for example, the type of clothing we could purchase on eBay, the potential of the music video remakes and the engineering and potential materials needed for the DIY rigs that would be necessary for said recreations. Hit singles were remembered, and, as there was generally one of said novelty instrument in arms-reach, chords were picked out and, subsequently, excited covers were drunkenly reprised. 'Man these songs are easy to pick out, we'd inevitably this song sounds so much like this other song' wed then concur. eventually we had whole viable set lists of mash ups concocted and actually started bidding on the ridiculous things we were looking at on eBay. At some point in mid March we realized this particular 'Wouldn't it be cool if...' had gotten a bit out of hand and some serious reality had to be faced. This upset Corrie, I could tell, but she was wise enough to accept my stubbornness was measured in epochs and there was no point. In the poignant words of Scott Avett, she had dreams but nothing to hope for.)

As I said, I was a bit drunk and uncharacteristically happy this one evening and Corrie surreptitiously approached from an angle with a tin offering in hand. The conversation that followed went something like this:

Corrie: So I was thinking about the 'Wouldn't it be cool if we started a ukulele fronted early 90s top 40 cover band' thing....

Kate: Corrie! Give up. We are NEVER doing that. It's a BAD idea.

Corrie: Wait wait hold on, I know i know I was thinking I've seen the bigger picture here.... Wouldn't it be cool if....

Kate: No.

Corrie: Wait hear me out.... We made a web series about us starting a ukulele fronted early 90s top 40 cover band that just makes music videos for you tube... and is a really bad idea.

Kate: Short videos of us self-deprecatingly making bad videos based on other bad videos, ey? I'm liking how far removed I am from any semblance of reality in this scenario... and how much video is involved.... And, I don't actually have to practice or perform!

Corrie: And then we could like do all the music videos that you were talking about for the 90s songs and I could get all the outfits...

Kate: The thing is that, while I've been using my inability to perform as the main problem with this whole band thing, there are so so many problems with this band thing... For example: its a bad idea, early 90s music is well... bad, most music on a top 40 chart is...bad. ukuleles aren't really even instruments, they are kind of annoying actually. Its just, well, a really bad idea. And not the kind of bad idea that is so bad its awesome. It almost is but there are too many things that are better at being this kind of bad.

Corrie: But I've found these really cute neon high-top trainers.

Kate: Wait a minute...Wouldn't it be cool if we made an entire web-series about us making a web series about a ukulele-fronted early-90s cover band that only remakes early 90s music videos but really it would be about two people who have overly excited mediocre ideas that they build into mighty empires in their minds when really they are bad ideas. The entire series would take place in one evening, an evening like this and it would just be us talking a load of shitty bad ideas about all the things we think would be cool if only we had the time to make them......wait.... I don't have a job. Shit wait. Remember this; I'm going to set up the camera. Get some more beer. Remember right now and we are going to recreate this exact conversation onto the camera and then continue having this entire conversation. Then we can edit it and go back and make all the scenes we think up tonight and splice them into the footage of us having these bad ideas... It'll be like an elaborate exercise cum homage to failure, to bad ideas, to this whole generation's fucking obsession with realizing their own shitty bad ideas and taking up time and space and energy and resources to make all this crap without really thinking about it. It'll be a statement. A shitty half thought statement about shitty half thoughts that people think are brilliant in casual conversation but would never really be brilliant realized... It's brilliant.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Our Entry in the 2008 World Ukulele Contest

We've entered Bushman's World Ukulele Video Contest: to try and win some new ukes because (as no doubt most of you would agree) early 90s top 40 mash-ups should be played on quality ukuleles!

Original Artists, Songs and Links to Original Music Videos:

All-4-One, I Swear
The Cranberries, Zombie
Inspiral Carpets, This Is How It Feels
Celine Dion, Power of Love
Beck, Loser
Color Me Badd, I Wanna Sex You Up
Meatloaf, I Would Do Anything For Love
James, Laid
Inner Circle, Sweat (A La La La La Long)
Boys II Men, Make Love to You
Ace of Base, The Sign

Locations by Song
Click here for map!
1. All-4-One, I Swear St Asaph Footbridge
2. The Cranberries, Zombie Behind Broca Food Market, Brockley
3. Inspiral Carpets, This Is How It Feels Telegraph Hill Upper Park
4. Celine Dion, Power of Love The Nunnery
5. Beck, Loser Nunhead Green
6. Color Me Badd, I Wanna Sex You Up Brockley Footpath
7. Meatloaf, I Would Do Anything For Love The Nunnery
8. James, Laid The Nunnery
9. Inner Circle, Sweat (A La La La La Long) Outside Brockely Motor Centre
10. Boys II Men, Make Love to You Outside Nunhead Cemetery
11. Ace of Base, The Sign The Nunnery
Personal apologies to Kevin, Laurie, Paul, Ging and all those of you out there who care about sound. My best laid plans to record a clean leveled track went awry when the batteries on my (otherwise kick-ass, thanks kev!) sound recorder died somewhere around attempt 7...I did think to put a back up mic to the camera (which is the sm58 tied to the broken lamp base with a piece of green cord...pointing directly upward, sigh, with the levels on the camera set to Corrie singing the the pretty-y-y-y bit of 'Laid' which I wrongly thought would be the loudest point, sigh... sigh.)

As my head hangs in shame, my editor's better judgment is undermined and I include the documentary bookends as evidence of my quest for decent sound. Alas, I have failed you my dear sound enthusiasts, all I can offer in compensation is my most sincere declaration of need for you in my life. x,k

Monday, November 17, 2008

Uke Hunts T-Shirts

Rain, technical faults, unemployment, camera allocation and extensive bouts of clinical depression have stalled the initial shooting for our Uke Hunts web series. To keep busy, we have designed a t-shirt. The graphic inspiration came from the opening sequence from Saved By the Bell.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The unfortunate case of Salt'n'Pepa...

I (Like everyone else in the world) assumed Salt'n'Peppa's 'Push It Real Good' was on their 1990 album Black Magic, along with 'Let's Talk About Sex'. Not so. 'Push It' actually dates to 1986, released on their platinum selling 'Hot Cool and Vicious'. And I believe was an EP before that. Either way, it was certainly not an early 90s top 40 hit.

The devastation was accute. I accepted full responsibility and begged Katian to allow this one indiscretion. I took her violent writhing on the floor as a 'maybe'. She roused later in the week to disown me in every possible sense before skulking to the study to watch the 7th consecutive series of America's next top model, apparently Tyra is in the full throws of a manic episode by this season.

We eventually reasoned that our efforts on the video cannot be laid to waste. It was permitted to survive, on the condition that it stand in exile from the rest of our efforts as an example to the rest. This was merciful. To view this rare and soon to be tragically destroyed material go to vimeo link above and listen on myspace.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Busy Building Premature Web Presence

Official Site: