Category Archives: Early films – first attempts
Early YouTube stuff that is not very good, just here for the sake of completeness.
This was made on May 27th 2006, when I had been on YouTube already over three months. The day before had been my birthday, and my parents had been here in Warsaw. For my birthday gift they gave me my first ever webcam, and the next day I got on it and started to do characters. Viktor Huliganov was born. This is the first ever Viktor video – he was going to be an amusing shady Russian businessman at first, but developed into more of a crazy professor, once the Russian lessons started. Although, of course, the one does not necessarily exclude the other. This marks the end of my “early attempts” section, and is therefore the last film in this section. With this film I transferred into the next phase of what I’ve been doing on the internet ever since.
Viktor has come to life in more ways than one. He blogs, he makes Russian lessons, he writes books, he talks on the radio. People write to me as Viktor, talk to me as Viktor, some people still think after watching many Viktor films that there really is this Russian dude – more sophisticated viewers are aware that it is a persona but want the persona to live anyway, and so they continue to address and to follow Viktor Huliganov. I had no idea of the success that this would have when I started doing it.
Some people have accused me of doing a Borat, but there are big differences in style on the one hand, but on the other hand, I have been impersonating the Russian accent ever since Sacha Baron Cohen was running around in short trousers. There are many sources for the Huliganov persona, not all of them Russians, actually. If Borat is on that list anywhere it is not high on the list and not with any intention or awareness on my part.
Another carol from the same carol concert as earlier. This is Richard Berkeley’s choir here in Warsaw singing “Przybiezeli do Betlejem”, a famous Polish “kolęda” or carol. Again just a single verse here owing to the tiny memory card I had when starting off. Since that time everyone’s memory card is now much bigger, and I sometimes wonder which is driving which – is YouTube driving the technology available on the highstreet, is it the highstreet which is driving YT, or is it both ways?
This was another early attempt at aquarium filming. This convict cichlid was bought initially in an attempt to breed with a sajica, but they all turned out to be males. I no longer believe any fish shop with promises a female cichlid, They all sell you males as females, they are like Svejk with the dogs.
After the sajica was no more, the convict lived with this Pimelodus fasciatus, which was a good match for it, being a lot bigger. That pim died only late this year after living in my tanks for about 4 years. I first bought it from a tank of much bigger cichlids in a shop where it had been roughed up a bit. At the start it had a broken barbel, but that fixed itself in time.
Secret Concert, three small parts
This is Richard Berkeley’s Nowa Orkiestra Kameralna, or New chamber Orchestra. The piece is from an anonymous Polish composer and is part of Simfonia di Nativitate.
I went on to film much more of the work of the NOK and it will have its own section on this blog. The memory card at this time was tiny – I could put only 4 or 5 minutes on it then unlike the 1 or 2 hours I can film today. However, the short clip here just gives a hint of the magic of their Christmas concert in 2005 in the Reformed Church on ul Solidarnosci, Warsaw.
The second bit is a piece I still cannot identify – please add if you know it
Here is the third bit I took. Some of “My country childhood” by Vaughn Williams.
This was, as with everything so far, taken with my now defunct Fuji Finepix. An excellent camera while it lasted, with just a few shortcomings, but with lovely sound as you can hear.
For those interested in visiting this Church building, one of a handful of impressive protestant places of worship in Warsaw, you can see it in the centre of the below map…
This is pretty much George’s first solo appearance on the channel. He doesn’t do that much, but he can be very amusing in his own way. There was something cute about the way he was eating those chips. We had a chip maker for a short while, but then it broke, after using it for less than a dozen times. The chips were very good while they lasted.
The Czech word for chips, by the way, “hranolky”, I used to just take at face value, but recently while developing my goldlist I discovered that literally it means “little prisms”, which is quite an original term for them.
The background to this film is the fact that on Gazeta Wyborcza’s website (the most successful newspaper website I should say in Poland) I did quite a bit of forum stuff. I ran a private forum for Foreigners Living in Poland which you can find here, and also I spent some time on the Fishkeeping private forum on there, which is all in Polish. That’s where I made the acquaintance of this guy from Szczecin, who gave me some plants – I probably still have the genetic successors of some of them – and there he let me film his tank in his student room, while I was in Szczecin just to do an AGM appearance, which is a sort of cameo part that auditors of companies are called upon to do from time to time. I did mine the next day, and I can tell you there were some unusually straight faces around that table – not much fun I can tell you. But the film of Arsik’s tank has become pretty popular on YT – about 10 hits a day over the last four years – which just goes to show that there is always call on YouTube for pretty fishtanks and fish and plants.
This is about the first time on a film that you hear me speaking Polish, by the way.
The funny thing about this is actually the comments on YouTube. The number of people who took this at face value is quite astounding. They see a film of me driving past a dog on the road, and they hear some tongue in cheek commentary about me hunting a fox in a car – a ludicrous proposition – and all common sense flies out of the window! Seriously, just click through on it to the YT environment and you’ll see a fine selection of the nutjobs we share the planet with voting down my film and getting irate with me.
Still this is pretty much “juvenilia” as far as filming is concerned, but it shows the start of what KenBank was to christen “environmental video” on my channel. Taking the camera out to wherever I am and moving around with it. This is probably one of the first like that, and it turned out to be one of the most common ways of taking film.
So far, all the YouTube offerings were all done on my Fuji Finepix, and this is no exception.
There you go, this here hotel, if you want to find it, is, I believe somewhere on that map. Don’t ask me where exactly, but it was signposted from the road. And a very welcome sight it was on the road up to Gdansk as the snow started to fall heavily. I arrived here in poor visibility at the end of a long drive, and I didn’t see anything out of the window until the morning – when I opened the curtains and saw this pretty scene and immediately wanted to film it. But I couldn’t resist contrasting it with the mess I had made in the room by hastily going to sleep the night before and not bothering about anything…
On that note, be a little bit careful choosing hotels in Poland and East Europe generally from the road in winter if you haven’t pre booked them – not all of them (in fact only a minority of the country ones) pre-heat the rooms. When its cold, the first question you want to ask is whether they have any heated rooms free. In case of not finding any pre-heated hotel rooms, you should travel in winter in Poland with thermal underwear to sleep in under your pyjamas. I have even had occasion to sleep in socks and jumpers!
This is also my first ever hotel room film. There must have been dozens since then!
Another one of the earliest attempts to get old Soph performing for the camera. She’s five, and already has a great liking for the Phantom of the Opera.
We should revisit that sometime and see how far she’s come in four years – she still can’t keep a straight face, though. Jolly good thing, too.