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Posts Tagged ‘slow TV

“Symbols can be so beautiful, sometimes”*…

 

McDonalds

 

One of Northern Europe’s arguably most distinctive exports is “slow TV”: real-time recordings of train journeys, ferry crossings or the migration of reindeer, which regularly draw record audiences.

Among perhaps the most successful — and least exciting — examples of that genre is the live stream of a McDonald’s cheeseburger with fries. At its peak, it drew 2 million viewers a month. The only element on the screen that moves, however, is the time display.

The burger looks the same way, hour after hour.

As of this week, it has looked like that for 10 years.

Purchased hours before the corporation pulled out of the country in 2009, in the wake of Iceland’s devastating financial crisis, the last surviving McDonald’s burger has become much more than a burger. To some, it stands for the greed and excessive capitalism that “created an economic collapse that was so bad that even McDonald’s had to close down,” said Hjörtur Smárason, 43, who purchased the fateful burger in 2009. To others, the eerily fresh look of the 10-year-old meal has served as a warning against the excessive consumption of fast food…

A symbol for our times: “The cautionary political tale of Iceland’s last McDonald’s burger that simply won’t rot, even after 10 years.”

* Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

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As we muse of the messages in our meals, we might send gloriously-written birthday greetings to today’s epigramist, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.; he was born on this date in 1922.  In a career spanning over 50 years, Vonnegut published fourteen novels, three short story collections, five plays, and five works of non-fiction, with further collections being published after his death. He is probably best known for his darkly-satirical, best-selling 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five.

Vonnegut called George Orwell his favorite writer, and admitted that he tried to emulate Orwell– “I like his concern for the poor, I like his socialism, I like his simplicity”– though early in his career Vonnegut decided to model his style after Henry David Thoreau, who wrote as if from the perspective of a child.  And of course, Vonnegut’s life and work are resonant with Mark Twain and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 

Author Josip Novakovich marveled that “The ease with which he writes is sheerly masterly, Mozartian.”  The Los Angeles Times suggested that Vonnegut will “rightly be remembered as a darkly humorous social critic and the premier novelist of the counterculture“; The New York Times agreed, calling Vonnegut the “counterculture’s novelist.”

220px-Kurt_Vonnegut_1972 source

 

 

 

 

Written by LW

November 11, 2019 at 1:01 am

“Slow but steady wins the race”*…

 

Slow TV comes to the U.S…

TV viewers in Duluth, Minnesota had the opportunity to witness a record-setting premiere last Staurday:  the world’s first thirteen-hour-long commercial– an ad for the the chain that Jon Stewart loves to hate, Arby’s.

The door of a smoker will open, the brisket will be placed inside, smoke will flow in, and for just short of 13 hours, the viewer will watch it smoke through a window. A small logo in the corner of the screen identifies Arby’s…

At 13 hours, the commercial will be longer than pre-game coverage of the Super Bowl (6½ hours), and not much shorter than Richard Wagner’s operatic “Ring” cycle (14½ hours)… Indeed, when the commercial passes the one-hour mark, it will have exceeded the Guinness World Record for longest TV commercial, currently held by Nivea…

The manager of My9, the Duluth station that aired the spot, reported that he got “a ‘ton’ of media calls about the stunt—that is, six or seven.”

Read more here.

* Aesop

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As we proclaim “Out damned spot! Out, I say!“, we might recall that it was on this date in 1957 that Chuck Berry opened “Berry Land” (AKA “Berry Park”), an amusement park and resort built on his estate outside of St. Louis.  The 30-acre complex had hotel rooms, a miniature golf course, a Ferris wheel, a nightclub, children’s barbecue pits, and a guitar-shaped swimming pool.  The attraction closed in 1961, when Berry was convicted of a Mann Act violation.

 source

 

 

Written by LW

May 31, 2014 at 1:01 am

“Wisely, and slow. They stumble that run fast…”*

 

Last Friday in Norway, 1.3 million people watched strangers knit on television. For four hours they tuned in as people talked about knitting, and then they stuck around for eight and a half extra hours of actual knitting. I’m serious.

National Knitting Evening is not the first program belonging to a genre called “Slow TV”: Norway’s public TV company, NRK, is responsible for several. Its predecessors include behemoth-size studies on a train trip from Bergen to Oslo (the station’s first, in 2009, clocking in at seven hours), a cruise ship (a record-breaking five days), salmon swimming (18 hours) and a fire burning (12 hours, and very reminiscent of our nation’s own Christmas Yule Log broadcast). Norway’s population is just more than 5 million people, and more than half of them watched a cruise ship’s voyage for the better part of a week…

Read more at the always great Grantland in “Wait For It: Norway’s Slow TV Revolution.”

* Shakespeare, Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 3

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As we take our time, we might recall that it was on this date in 1936 (though some records hold that it was this date inverted– November 21) that the BBC broadcast the first televised gardening program, a special based on a radio staple:  In Your Garden, hosted by C. H. Middleton– known throughout the British Isles simply as Mr. Middleton.  The son of a head gardener in Northamptonshire and a gardening columnist for the Daily Mail, Mr. M, Britain’s first celebrity gardener, introduced and championed the “Dig For Victory” campaign in 1939.  His Sunday afternoon program reached 3.5 million listeners, over a third of the available (licensed) audience in the U.K.

Mr, Middleton

source

 

Written by LW

November 12, 2013 at 1:01 am

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