This series is called “Random Tweets Reformatted as Telegrams.” It’s an easy trick, but putting these “virtual” messages usually consumed on smartphone screens on old-timey telegrams more redolent of the Wild West or the Hindenburg crash or something, it just works.
Gute notes that “there are notable similarities between formats, such as the economy of words and syntax imposed by a limited number of characters,” which is certainly true. Plus, the last Western Union telegram, a medium that had existed for more than a century, coincided almost exactly with the first Tweet—there was a gap of almost two months—so it’s like the one short-form method of communication passed the baton on to the other.
Last year on February 19, 2013, Nick Cave did a Q&A on Twitter for his 15th studio album Push the Sky Away. And as one would expect—c’mon it’s Nick Cave on Twitter of all things!!!—the Black Crow King hated every damned minute of it.
Some might find Cave’s answers appropriately cranky. I found them to be completely hilarious.
It may have been the ever-alert Patton Oswalt who got the ball rolling when he tweeted his admiration for Gary Burghoff’s hilariously bilious Twitter feed (@Gary_Burghoff), in which the actor who played Radar in M*A*S*H (movie and TV show both) has been furnishing all kinds of insider dish about the show as well as Battle of the Network Stars. Now everybody on Twitter is falling over themselves to retweet his scandalous bon mots.
Apparently Burghoff has a particular distaste for Alan Alda (Hawkeye on M*A*S*H) and Robert Conrad (Black Sheep Squadron star, but more pertinently, captain of the NBC squad on Battle of the Network Stars in 1976), as seen here:
Alan Alda wanted his own bathroom. The producers wouldn't give him one so he used to take dumps in paper bags and leave them around the set
Note that @Gary_Burghoff has not been verified by Twitter, but the tales of (and petty resentment over) Alda and Conrad have the ring of authenticity to them. If you’re a defamation attorney in Florida (where Burghoff currently lives, according to the Twitter feed bio), there might be a client here for you.
Below we have a clip of one of the greatest moments in sports history, in which ABC (blue; Hal Linden, Gabe Kaplan, Penny Marshall, Robert Hegyes, Lynda Carter, Richard Hatch) defeats CBS (red; Telly Savalas, MacKenzie Phillips, Adrienne Barbeau, Kevin Dobson, Pat Harrington) in the climactic tug-of-war competition in the 1976 Battle of the Network Stars, preceded by Robert Conrad whining about losing a race to Gabe Kaplan or something.
‘Susan Boyle and Pebbles the Cat Duet’ by Dan Lacey
Coming as it does from Susan Boyle, it gets my vote. Via the NME:
Susan Boyle became the victim of an unfortunate spot of social networking naivety last night (Nov 20) as her record label tried to promote her new album ‘Standing Ovation’ on Twitter. Boyle’s PR team encouraged fans of the singer to Tweet about the album using the hashtag #susanalbumparty which, as you can see, is easily mistaken for “anal bum party”, a topic unlikely to feature in Susan Boyle’s music, but one which soon sent the tag trending.
Ah, you gotta be grateful for those small, everyday acts of total hilarity.
In the week Naomi Wolf’s Vagina: A New Biography goes on sale, some wit, or more likely some journalist or PR person, has started a Twitter account for NaomiWolfVagina (sensitive flower). Only 3 tweets so far, but I suspect this will increase towards the date of publication.
Scottee’s a bit of a legend in British performance art and cabaret circles, even though he’d hate to admit it himself. The 26-year-old writer/performer/director has already worked with some of the biggest names in this field and won a host of prestigious awards, not to mention a bunch of notoriety and some serious critical acclaim.
While there’s more than a hint of Leigh Bowery to Scottee’s persona, he denies seeing himself as a “drag queen,” even if that’s how the staff at Marks & Spencer refer to him. What Scottee Scottee is, beyond the messed-up make up and torn stockings, is a performer, as his involvement with London’s Duckie collective, and his own Eat Your Heart Out troupe, proves. From his own website:
He has broken limbs, been questioned by Police and lost 100’s of pairs of high heels in his determination to please and challenge his audiences. Scottee has been critically compared to variety and music hall greats with his unique practice of light entertainment.
His brash, clumsy and obnoxious approach to performance has left audiences confused, annoyed & covered in glitter. Whatever you think of Scottee - he probably won’t care.
But still, all this is not enough. Scottee wants more.
His latest project is called Follow and traces his efforts to attract more followers to his Twitter account. The end goal is for Scottee to have more followers on that social network than the British TV psychic Russell Grant, tho whom Scottee bares a passing resemblance, and often gets compared (it’s those sweaters, dear).
So far, so self-indulgent, I can hear you thinking. Well, yeah. All performance art is self-indulgent. What’s more important is what the viewer takes from the experience, and what light the artist can shed on cultural, and political, phenomena. And surprisingly, a project about attracting more Twitter followers is actually pretty good in that respect.
Who is real? What is real? Why should that really matter? Are online relationships as valid as real-world contact? Even if it’s with a robot? If they’re not as valid, then why not?
Scottee is open in proclaiming that social networking is the best invention in the history of humankind, and he makes for a compelling voice on our journey through Twitter’s seamy underbelly. Here is part two of the ongoing Follow video series, but if you’d rather watch Follow chronologically, part one is here:
Alastair Campbell (Tony Blair’s spin doctor, who allegedly “sexed up” that dossier on WMD) had a pop on twitter at writer (Veep, The Thick of It) and broadcaster, Armando Iannucci, over his acceptance of an O.B.E. in the Queen’s Honor’s List.
As to be expected, Campbell came out a very poor second.
Follow Armando on twitter
. With thanks to John Hassay
I guess a lot of today’s Twittering youngins’ had no idea who this old Paul McCartney guy was performing at the 2012 Grammys last night.
I wonder if any of these people would recognize Don Henley? Robert Plant? Peter Gabriel? Roger Waters? Probably not, I mean, not knowing who Paul McCartney is, is truly shameful (no matter what you think of his music after, say 1976). Would these folks know Elton John if he was standing in front of them? Mick Jagger if he head-butted them?
Where is the line drawn with someone who can’t identify one of the Beatles???
They would be able to ID Gene Simmons, though. That’s fucked up!
See more of the “Oh gawd do I feel old/Christ they’re bloody ignorant” tweets at BuzzFeed.