In March 2010 I got some powerful friends together to help Save BBC 6Music. And they succeeded!
It would help to know about twitter before reading this. If you don’t know about it & would like to click here for Lucas Black’s beginner’s guide to twitter.
“What are you doing?”
This is what you are met with when you first log in to the micro-blogging site twitter.
Due however to it’s simple yet flexible & open structure, twitter has evolved tremendously in a short time to become much more than a tool for telling the world what you’re doing in just a sentence or 2.
People use twitter to say hi to their existing network of friends. They organise get-togethers. They make new friends. They make jokes. They play silly games. They provide links to videos or websites. They share photos. They share their favourite music. They share ideas & interests. They publicise their ideas & interests. They publicise their blogs. They share running commentary while watching TV shows or films. They use it as a creative or comic outlet. Businesses use it to market their products or services. Politicians reach out to their electorates. News organisations tweet the news. Radio stations tweet their playlists. Pundits tweet live sports commentary. Celebrities connect with their fans. Musicians publicise their gigs & records. These are just some of the uses of twitter of which I am aware, & I’m sure there are many others that I don’t know about.
Warming to my theme…
There’s also a use of twitter which I call “themed tweeting”. The king of the genre is RichardMadeley, who somehow manages to tweet to a different theme almost every day, but there are also twitterers who tweet as or about fictional characters, for instance DarthVader, Paranoid_Marvin, JackFacts24, MaxFacts86; spoof celebrity twitterers, like THEDavidTennant; bots which automatically pick up on & retweet tweets containing particular phrases, such as ShutUpMeg & NSFW. Then there are the mostly social users who also have a theme to their twitter personality, like Zombie_Claire, & my bad self, Drolgerg, at the time of writing an orang-utan librarian. (Why? Click here).
Most social users are content to chat & share but sometimes tweeting to a theme can be a bit of fun, or even a challenge. I recently spent a whole afternoon tweeting as the depressive Marvin the Paranoid Android from Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy. I enjoyed it, but none of my then relatively few followers who were around at the time seemed to ‘get it’. The only response I had was from a very caring person who was seriously concerned about my mental health. I had to DM them that I was just messing about so they wouldn’t try to talk me down from the edge!
Fantasia on a Theme of U2
More recently I announced that I was excited at getting some U2 albums as a present from my wife. A twitter-friend then replied with a slightly suggestive tweet that we might be getting a bit friendly later. I replied along the lines of “yes, when love comes to town, she’s not here right now”. When Love Comes to Town is of course a U2 song.
“Hello!”. I thought. “I have a lot of U2 songs”, (at the time every album but Pop & the new 1), “I wonder if I could somehow put them all into tweets?”. So I did, partly as a challenge to myself to see if I could, & partly to see if anyone would notice.
The rules: every general tweet had to contain a U2 song title. By general tweets I mean tweets that are not replies, not hashtag tweets, or tweets that post links - although the latter 2 could contain song titles if I chose. There must be no references to U2, the song or the album it came from. They should all be genuine, believable tweets. Not only that but I decided to try to tweet them in alphabetical order, just to make it more interesting!
Well I pretty much achieved my goal. I slipped up once or twice, letting out a spontaneous tweet or 2 without a song title. Some of them were a bit forced ( I mean what can you do with Hawkmoon 269? Had to go to the pub for that 1!) but mostly I think my tweets were as believable as they ever get.
I expect this may confuse or possibly even annoy some people – if so I’m sorry. I tried really hard to make every tweet genuine & as sincere as I could. It was actually a very rewarding experience. I like a challenge, & I actually had conversations that I might not have had & met some great people that I may not have otherwise if I hadn’t put these restrictions on my tweeting.
So if you’re looking for a challenge or for something a bit different I can recommend themed tweeting – use your imagination!
In case you don’t believe me here’s the full list of my U2 tweets, with the song titles highlighted:
Drolgerg Haven’t had visit from my friends Jehovah Witnesses for ages. Looks like was blacklisted all along! The Watchtower will never get in here!9:30 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck (this prompted good response)
DrolgergHate this spoilt brat Paris Hilton culture we’re infected with: “you can do what you like cos Daddy’s gonna pay for your crashed car”: awful11:49 AM Mar 11th from TweetDeck (This got a lot of support!)
DrolgergShould the Midlands be renamed the Heartland of England?6:05 PM Mar 12th from TweetDeck (A good response to this – mostly around which parts of UK would correspond with rude parts of the anatomy!)
Drolgergwossy keeps tweeting about the Saw ride at Thorpe Park. Personally I think I prefer the Helter Skelter owing to lessened entrails count6:35 PM Mar 12th from TweetDeck (Had a lot of agreement with this)
DrolgergHow is it possible to not be solipsistic? Not possible to know anything outside your own senses: never understood that one.6:24 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck (This set off a great discussion with @christinefarmer, who’d I’d never talked to before)
DrolgergForget American teen soaps: real One Tree Hill is actually the main natural landmark in Auckland, New Zealand. Not a lot if people know that6:30 PM Mar 13th from TweetDeck (cheating slightly, that’s actually the inspiration for the song)
DrolgergPlanning mini-holiday. Hope not to do too much driving: most of our hols r to places where the streets have no name, even satnavs can’t help11:05 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck (Turned out to be prophetic: on city-break in Istanbul got lost a lot due to lack of street-signs)
DrolgergNever watched The Wire. Plan to. I hear it’s quote good! FX UK started showing again from series 1- boxed & ready!11:32 PM Mar 15th from TweetDeck (Got response that it is also about to be shown on BBC2, so was able to clear space on the box & wait for that instead – useful!)
DrolgergI want to see U2 in Cardiff, who knows where’s the best place to get tickets? And I’ll go with or without you!9:30 AM Mar 16th from web (At this point I was rushing to finish before our city-break, thought I was dropping a rather large hint)
There’s been a warp in the space-time continuum, resulting a melding together of actors & musicians. Here’s some of what we’ve been left with:
George Michael Douglas: I Can’t Make You Love Mimi Rogers
Sigur Ross Kemp: Vidrar the River Quai
Tony ‘Smokey’ Robinson & The Miracles of Archeology: You’ve Really Got a
Hold on My Shovel
Seasick Steve Buscemi: My Donny Darko
Don Estelle: American Boy Werewolf in London (aka It Ain’t Half Hot on the
Jean-Claude Vangelis: Chariots of Cyborg
Bob Dylan Moran: Black on Black Books
Radio TonyHead: Straight to Videotape (sorry)
Thin Lizzy Taylor: The Boyo’s Back in Town
The Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Pop Will Wheaton Itself: Everything’s Cool (in the Vacuum of Space)
Elton John Wayne: Goodbye Yellow Ribbon Road
John Lee Marvin Hooker: Whiskey & the Dirty Dozen Wimmin (aka Boom Boom)
Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Trisha Goddard
Neil Diamonds are Forever
Last Tango in Paris Hilton
Musactors suggested by kenarmstrong1
The Sex Piss Tilda Swintons – Anarchy in Narnia
The George Lazen Bee Gees – On Her Majesty’s Saturday Night Fever
Deep Perp Phill Jupitus – Smoking Room on the Water
Bonzo Dog the Bounty Hunter Doo-Dah Band – I’m the Urban Spaceman (2001
Sean Conner-Ry Cooder – From Paris, Russia With Love
Credence Clearwater ReviVal Kilmer – Bad MIG Rising
R.E.M. Night Shyamalan – Signy Happy People
Soylent Al Green
Muddy Julie Walters – Educating My Mojo
Dick Van Halen – The Grapes of David Lee Roth
The Pegg Shop Boys – Go West, Fat Boy, Go West
Kathleen Turner Overdrive – You Ain’t Seen Naked in New York Yet
And You Will Know Us by the Trail of ourTed Danson – Save Private Ryan
& the Rest Will Follow
Fiennes Young Cannibals – The Red Dragon Drives Me Crazy
Nicholas Parsons Project – I Wouldn’t Want to be Like You in Just a Minute
Thanks to twitterers RandHobart, LucasBlack, snedwan, vatimatt, MrLEdge, NickPeters, davidpwatts, Call123 for the musactors.
Feel free to add your own here.
“I have a dream” she said, “to be a dancing queen!”
“But Chiqitita” (for that was her nick-name) “does your mother know?” cautioned her brother Fernando
“No – but to follow my dream I must be as brave as a super trouper!”
“You mustn’t do this! You’re always rushing around: another town, another train! And when did you learn to dance?”
“When I kissed the teacher!”
Shocked, Fernando ran off to tell their mother
Rushing in she cried ”Honey, honey – he is your brother! You should listen to him!”
“This family never does anything; at least one of us is trying!”
This struck a chord. “You really want to do this?” mother said, relenting
“I do, I do, I do, I do, I do!”
So, an SOS to the BBC then the ring, ring of the ‘phone & she took the train to Waterloo & waited for her day.
Her day came: she left & she danced for the four.
“Mamma mia – you stink!” said one
“You can’t dance, but you can lay all your love on me!” said another with an unpleasant glint in his eye, at which she was embarrassed.
“Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight!” said another, & nobody was sure why
“You’d be better off knowing me; knowing you – you were rubbish” said the last.
“Aah!” she cried in despair. “Please take a chance on me!”
“Sorry love, the winner takes it all – that’s the name of the game” they told her, cruelly.
So she left, gracious in defeat, turning as she did so to say “Thank you for the music”, & vowing in her heart to dance while the music still goes on.
For when all is said & done, it wasn’t about her dancing; it was all about money, money, money!
In case you haven’t worked it out the story is based around the titles of ABBA songs. There are 25 of them – did you see them all?
These are things that, while probably won’t make the Guinness Book of World Records or anything similar, may be unique to my existence. If any of them are not – I want to know!
1) As I at present work from home, for my sins I get to do the housework – which can mean, for instance, listening to Radiohead on the wireless ‘phones while Wielding My Mighty Duster. This in itself may be unique, at least for a (theoretically) ‘mature’ married male, but I would love to know if at any other time in human history the following 2 sentences have ever been uttered (yes I do talk to myself) together: “‘How To Disappear Completely’!” & “Where’s my duster?”. Answers on the back of an elephant please to the usual address (that would be here).
Funnily enough ‘Everything In Its Right Place’ fits in quite nicely – maybe ‘Kid A’ is actually a concept album about housework – Discuss. BTW ‘Paranoid Android’ sounds amazing if you get the vacuum cleaner to kick in at just the right moment – Rock & Roll!
I’m sure you’ll be delighted to know that I’ve phoned my mother-in-law to say thanks & she seemed quite happy about it, as is hopefully my nice wife as well. I didn’t do it last night, as I became distracted by my nice wife providing dinner, by our watching Ugly Betty in bed (I know there’s a joke there but it’s just too obvious), & then my watching England being especially crap, even by their standards, at football. I will not speak of this again. I also support the All-Blacks. Did I mention that I’m not happy? Anyway, I ‘phoned this morning so at least my in-laws are.
Can you believe I’m now also being sued for sexual harassment by some spotty kid in a game shop?! I don’t understand this world any more.
By the way, my inspiration so far for this already-classic blog is my listening to what is now my all-time favourite radio station of all-time (mate) since BBC6 became Radio Silly Kids +5: “Planet Rock” (prounounced “rawk”), so you now know who to blame. Who’d’ve thought Rick Wakeman would be so funny? Least of all him, I expect. Don’t remember many hilarious gags in his million-hour long “The Legends Of King Arthur & the Knights Of The Round Table, Their Mistresses, Their Horses & What they Ate For Breakfast, Part 3” (or whatever it was called). All that stuff is just sanitised & white-washed Beowulf with the names changed which missionaries at the time used to convert British ‘pagans’ to Christianity anyway. Hopefully this will be made explicit in the forthcoming film, although it looks like it might be all mouth & no trousers. I recommend reading Seamus Heaney’s excellent translation to get the ‘real’ story.
Wow – rock radio to Anglo-Saxon mythological poetry in 1 paragraph – the pills are working nurse!
What an exciting life I lead! I did the washing-up this morning (our new dishwasher is still in it’s box due to someone called ‘Mick’ walking off the kitchen refit job halfway thru). After that I went into town to buy a heater (reason: kitchen is freezing cold due to radiator not working & cold air coming in through gaps in wall due to someone called ‘Mick’, etc…), a new cafetiere (reason: my new coffee machine broke, I can’t find my old cafetiere as it’s still in a box somewhere due to someone called ‘Mick’ (I think you know the rest), & the cheap cafetiere I bought last week seems to be allergic to hot water), & some Regucol (reason: you don’t want to know, but I blame ‘Mick’).
I’m now sitting at my desk listening to George Michael & Gorillaz (not at the same time) & trying to fax various people about my apparently growing list of court cases. Another ‘Mick’ has also just informed me that he is unable to finish my kitchen – must be a ‘Mick’ union somewhere that has blacklisted me for not being nice to (trans.: “not letting myself be bullied by”) ‘Micks’. I used to like ‘Micks’; my record with ‘Micks’ has up until now been excellent! I used to work with a ‘Mick’ & he was great – he played bass in a great local band (called “Alaska” – you can’t get cooler than that), & banged on drums at festivals – he was a cool guy! What’s happened to the ‘Micks’ of this world? Maybe he wasn’t in the union. He also lives in Brighton rather than Birmingham, & that probably helps. Bit of a ‘cool’ divide there, no offence intended (please don’t sue!).
“George Michael & Gorillaz” – that is not only: 1) a collaboration I’d love to see, 2) a possibly superb mash, 3) an excellent name for a rock band, but also 4) probably illegal in several US States – & not just “Outside”. And before any lawyers get uppity (as if I don’t have enough of that already) I love the guy – we had his (& Mary J Blige’s) version of “As” played at our wedding, & he has written & performed some of the most heartfelt love songs ever; his album “Older” is one of the saddest most beautiful albums I ever expect to hear. And I’m straight – go figure! And (on the subject of being male & hetero) the “Too Funky” video – wow! For that alone I will be forever grateful.
That’s enough rubbish for now I think – where’s my dinner?