Last week provided me with a bit of a surprise when I idly counted the number of past columns stored on my computer.
My first year or two’s columns were lost when we changed computer systems at Independent Newspapers but I found that I had the latest 399 of them saved. The first of these was written in late 1995 and was about the then newly-launched Zip and Jaz drives.
Hard drives were still pretty expensive in those days and the Zip and Jaz offered users the chance of saving files onto removable floppy-type disks, with the Zip offering 100Mb of storage, and the Jaz 1Gb. The Zip cost R1400, disks R92 each, and the Jaz R4089, disks R783 each, which explains, I suppose, why there weren’t that many around in these parts.
This column brings the saved total up to 400 and, when I figure that I probably had about 50 printed each year, with a year off here and there, that adds up to a lot of writing and even more head scratching, to come up with topics to write about.
It is inevitable over such a long time, I suppose, that some things will come up more than once, but I have always tried to preserve a discreet interval between such occurrences. This time, however, I’m going to throw all my good intentions out of the window and go straight back to YouTube, which I discussed only a few short weeks ago.
I heard mention somewhere that there was a video of Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson singing I’m Walking, and I enjoyed it. Then, I couldn’t help noticing that there was a version sung by Fats alone, so I had to see that as well.
Then I saw that there was a recording of him singing Walking to New Orleans and one of him singing Jambalaya with Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles. Then I noticed that there was a Creedence Clearwater Revival version of Jambalaya as well; my bandwidth bill was getting out of hand again, and I hadn’t really got going yet.
The awful sneaky thing about YouTube is that it shows you a list of related videos once you’ve finished watching the one you’ve chosen. I found the same thing when I looked up American comedian George Carlin, who died on June 22, and found that there were a mere 2920 videos of him performing, or of people paying tribute.
He had many classic routines and it’s hard to choose a favourite from among them but I first listened to his views on death, which I found hilarious and unexpectedly poignant, given that he had died a few days previously, and was now finally in the position of knowing if he had been right about life after death.
Another great routine was his Seven words you can’t say on TV, which is very funny, but may offend those with delicate sensibilities. It also got him into trouble with the law on a number of occasions but luckily, the concept of free speech prevailed.
A couple of the videos on YouTube I’ve found so far have not really been that at all, but a picture of the album cover or artist that is displayed, while he or she performs. But even with that, and the high cost of bandwidth, YouTube is still a better deal than the expensive and dreadful DSTV.
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