Andrew Lansley – It’s a RAP!

I was astonished the other day to walk past my dad’s study and hear some hardcore rap beats pumping out of there. Now my dad is quite big on his music but I have never heard him listening to rap before. So I went inside to investigate and found him watching Loughborough rapper MC NxtGen’s video slating Andrew Lansley and his NHS reforms.

Now as a surgeon working in the NHS, it is a subject that is very important to my father but I still didn’t expect him to be watching a video such as this and enjoying it. I mean he could understand the quick flow of MC NxtGen and was left in stitches by his clever word play and well produced video.

MC NxtGen (real name Sean Donelly) has found himself a viral YouTube and Twitter celebrity after posting his video just over a week ago. Since then it has amassed over 150,000 views and seen Sean whose day job is as a binman featured in the Guardian and the BBC News website.

The song has it all, brilliant lyrics over a sample from one of my favourite songs, The House of the Rising Sun and a well shot, funny video. The rap features some great lines including, “The NHS is not for sale, you grey-haired manky codger!” with the hook repeating over again, “ Andrew Lansley, GREEDY, Andrew Lansley, TOSSER!” However what makes this rap so good is that NxtGen has done his research and knows his stuff.

Now as the state of the NHS is something that interests me, I have done a lot of research into it before for a documentary I made, but I found the way that NxtGen explained it in three minutes, was better than any politician or even NHS staff member managed in more than thirty when I spoke to them.

Take these lines for example, “So the budget of the PCTs, he wants to hand to the GPs / Oh please. Dumb geeks are gonna buy from any willing provider, / Get care from private companies.”

“These plans have been slammed by patient organizations/ Charities, unions, nursing and medical institutions/ The Royal College of GP’s even joined the attack/ Looked closely at the proposals/ and said they were crap.”

MC NxtGen

NxtGen has tapped into a deep well of feeling amongst the British people of uncertainty and wariness of these reforms. The idea for the rap actually came about because he has family and friends who hope to work in the NHS but are worried by the cuts. So in his own way NxtGen decided to do something about it, and to speak out and judging by the rapidly increasing number of viewers every day to his video, the comments left and his growing Facebook and Twitter pages it seems a lot of people agree with him.

Even Andrew Lansley himself couldn’t help but admire the 22 year old whilst still trying to defend his policies. The Health Secretary said, “We will never privatize the NHS but I’m impressed that he’s managed to get lyrics about GP commissioning into a rap.”

For me this video goes to show that video journalism can come in many different forms, our hands are not just tied by a strict news package type formula. MC NxtGen gives us his take on the story in an informative and entertaining way through the power of music accompanied with a video that would not look out of place on MTV.

In the rap world, when one rapper releases a song ‘dissing’ another then the other rapper usually releases his own diss record in response and the ensuing ‘beef’ can engulf the entire music industry – think Biggie and Tupac. So we all wait anxiously for MC Lansley’s musical retort.

Andrew Lansley being told somebody has beef with him

I think we may be waiting a while.

You can view MC NxtGen’s Facebook page here, and follow him on Twitter here. He is hoping for the Andrew Lansley Rap to be released on iTunes in the coming days.

Yianni Meleagros


“All we hear is VIDEO GaGa”: The integral role of ONLINE VIDEO in projecting Lady Gaga into SUPERSTARDOM!

Has VIDEO murdered music? Maybe it was just a bad romance…

When Lady Gaga bust onto our radiowaves in 2008 with Just Dance, she had everyone from teenage girls in miniskirts to grandfathers in brogues tip-tapping away on the dance-floor. But when we were blessed with the ability to put that name to a face at the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) in 2010, the world paused for a moment in bewildered unison asking, “WHY>?>?!! WHY THE MEAT DRESS, GAGA???”

Courtesy of REX images

Even now, half a year on –we still talk about Gaga’s radical dress sense as if it were some sort of Divinity, in place of what she should actually be celebrated for – her music. But what effect Gaga raises from her image is completely obliterated when compared to the effect caused by her music videos.

Miss Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta’s (GaGa) ‘Bad Romance’ currently stands as the World’s second most watched video EVER (Not even most watched music video, but VIDEO) on youtube.com.

Yup – Her lycra-coated body has paraded across the world’s eyes a staggering 362 MILLION TIMES!  (And counting!) This means that on average, ‘Bad Romance’ has been watched by ONE in TWENTY people on the PLANET! Or in other terms, her video has been watched once over by the total population of South America! If we play the video back to back 360 million times, and my calculations serve me correctly, it would take 30.5m hours, that’s 3500 YEARS to watch!  How scary is that?

It’s ironic to think you’d be hard-pressed to find 1 in 20 people who even like Lady Gaga and that everyone you speak to about ‘Bad Romance’ seems to think Gaga’s music is, well, just plain BAD.

And yet, we just can’t get enough: In February of this year, she won a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video with her psychedelic video.  Back in 2009 Lady G was nominated for a total of nine awards at the VMAs wherein she won the award for Best New Artist for her single “Paparazzi” (Which has been viewed a mere 55 million times on youtube) and won 2 awards for Best Special Effects and Best Art Direction.

At the 2010 VMAs – “she gone cleared up good”! With ‘Bad Romance’ she won Video of the Year, Best Pop Video, Best Female Video, Best Dance Video, Best Choreography, Best Direction, AND Best Editing! Not to mention Best Collaboration for her video with Beyonce – ‘Telephone’. In response to her success, Gaga is quoted as saying “I’ve always been famous, it’s just no one knew it yet”. Well they sure do now, honey! Thank you youtube! Michael Jackson’s legendary music video, ‘Thriller ’, seems like an amateur 8mm home video in comparison to her worldwide SUPER HD BLOCKBUSTER.

                 – “fashion roadkill, that’s okay” – GaGa.

Type the letter ‘L’ into youtube and Lady gaga will come up as two suggestions in a row. Type in ‘Lady’ in google.com, and she comes up as all suggestions every time. Three years ago, Lady Gaga was still Stefanie, and now thanks to ONE ONLINE VIDEO, she is a household name who has made an unprecedented mark in music history.

All this from a woman who is “just trying to change the world, one sequin at a time”.  Right then.

by NICK KWEK


Are Radiohead changing the face of online music journalism, or will crowdsourced music videos never replace professional filming?

In 2010 Radiohead released a video online of a concert they played in the Czech republic. It was their first concert video since 1995, but this wasn’t what made the video so special.

This concert video was entirely shot by fans equipped with nothing more than camera phones.

After seeing clips of their shows uploaded to video sharing websites like Youtube the band were so impressed that they worked with the fans to edit together a complete concert video and provide a professional quality soundtrack to accompany the footage – all free of charge.

See the finished product below:

But does this kind of crowdsourced music video have the potential to change the way concerts are reported online?

I spoke to James Doherty, a freelance producer who has worked for a number of London-based radio stations and currently works for the BBC’s online wing.

By Alan O’Doherty


“Connection Strength: Excellent”

Forget Nokia, Youtube is Connecting People in a big way that’s here to stay!

Many have purported that as technology advances and online social media becomes an everyday way of life, the world is getting smaller. Who hasn’t heard of facebook, or youtube or twitter by now? As a result, fears of privacy infringement have strengthened. But surely it’s inevitable, right? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling for a 1984 Orwell invasion, but I think we need to step back and look at the amazing advantages of having such social pathways, literally, at our fingertips.

Just the other day, I was able to contact Barack Obama about City University’s Question Time with a few presses of a keypad. How can one think this is a bad thing? Now, let’s talk business…

Meet Keenan Cahill:

HERO

At the age of 14, Keenan started up his Apple Mac and began lipsynching to Katy Perry. The next day Perry re-tweeted his video. Overnight, a star was born.

18 months later, Keenan has had over 200 million youtube video views and has since started a career in music production, acting and modelling –all because of ONE VIDEO.

Last week, Katy Perry made this video for him, along with Nick Cannon and Khloe Kardashian:

Cue FIDDY.

One of Keenan’s dreams was to one day perform with 50 cent. The boy idolised him and made video after video singing along to ‘Candy Shop’, ‘Disco Inferno’, etc. Then one day as Keenan posted yet another video of him singing along to 50 Cent’s ‘Down On Me’, someone made a guest appearance…

The video with Keenan and Fiddy has 28 million hits on youtube and is actually more popular than the official music video that has only 13m!

Then there’s those with the BIEBER-FEVER!…

Say Hello to 3 year old Cody:

     – “I’M CRYING BECASUE I LOVE JUSTIN BIEBER!!!” Fair Does…

Her sister uploaded a video of her crying over Justin Bieber and the video attracted so many views, 20 million in fact, that American TV Host  Jimmy Kimmel arranged to have Bieber surprise little Cody, and in doing so, cleverly attract more viewers to his television show! Cody’s dream came true, because of ONE VIDEO.

And now this video, in itself, has attracted over 27 million views online.

Bieber, obviously indebted to youtube entirely for his success, has made somewhat of a hobby in doing this. For the Ellen show last month, he went to surprise his ‘superfan’, 15-year old Paige Conway. As Paige and Ellen’s production team record a video about how crazily infatuated she is with Bieber, what do you know, BIEBER TURNS UP! OHEMJEE. Like Totally. Shock. Horror.

This video has also been watched a mere 2m times on Ellen’s youtube channel in a month, but Ellen has made a cheeky buck or two from the advertising, say £20,000. As Mike Lok, Head of MSN Entertainment, says, “for each click online, advertisers pay 1p”. Not all bad then. Certainly hasn’t done badly for Bieber either, who has taken over Lady Gaga’s monster ‘Bad Romance’ and is now star of the number 1 most watched video EVER – at a jaw-dropping…wait for it…

HALF A BILLION views!!! Yup, ‘Baby’ has been played over 503 MILLION times!

All in all, online video can make dreams come true overnight, reconnect artists with their audiences, and as a result attract a wider audience, then we should all be grateful for youtube and the connecting power of social media. If you think the internet is a pit of evil and that the box is a waste of time, then bog off and move to the country!

But you won’t be alone for long.

By NICK KWEK


Listening With Your Eyes: Overcoming disability with online video

Imagine the internet without sound – your favourite movies would be destroyed, watching videologs would be pointless and music videos would be rubbish, right?

WRONG! Welcome to the world of online DEAF video television…

Behold! – A whole online community of videos for the deaf, or keen sing-language readers. On these websites, users upload videos just like youtube, but with the sound turned down. People are able to express their feelings, opinions, emotions VISUALLY like never before. Can’t hear someone’s vlog? No matter- with sign language in essence you can.

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Voila! This is just one user who’s expressing her frustration over DEAFvideos’s comments section.

And here is a Film Producer podcasting about the future of DEAFpod.

But it’s not just deaf vlogging and podcasts that online video has revolutionised, but the ability to learn sign language quickly and efficiently. Ever wanted to express yourself through sign but been unable to find the correct movement? By clicking here you can find that word you seek in seconds!

Just follow the instructions on screen to select the word and KAZAM! A VIDEO appears with the correct sign language interpretation!

Let’s say you’re not looking for a word, but perhaps just want to learn the basic alphabet. With online video, you can experience the hand movements time and time again outside the restrictions of a classroom, and with actual motion that beats a textbook 11 times out of 10!

This funky video’s created by Smart Hands – a company specialising in teaching sign-language to children. They educate parents in how to effectively communicate with via sign-language and what’s truly amazing is that parents anywhere can follow classes LIVE ONLINE!

All you need is a computer with a broadband connection and you’re good to go.

But say once class is over you want to relax and have a bit of fun? Whilst others may dancing around their living rooms listening to their favourite song, now with online video you can listen to the most up to date songs on the charts with sign language interpreted music videos!

I GOTTA FEELIN that whilst BSL’s (British Sign-Language) Sign Post may be leading the way on television, regularly broadcasting to 2.5million people in the UK, online videos for the people with hearing disabilities are reaching people on a GLOBAL level. Online videos for the deaf are truly breakign barriers – not only can they help deaf people access quality education, but they can also help those with learning difficulties too, the dyslexic and the illiterate.

by NICK KWEK