Shaking all over - taking a sideways looks at life
DID you miss out when the Harlem Shake found its way to Wharf Green?
For the benefit of those who not only missed out but are entirely unaware of what I’m on about, the Harlem Shake is one of those internet fads, the ones that are either a bit of a laugh or yet another cheap nail in the cardboard coffin of Western civilisation, depending on which national newspaper you read.
The idea is that people film themselves looking completely ordinary and going about their normal business, then cut to precisely the same people in the same place but doing something really unusual such as wearing fancy dress and performing weird dance moves.
Swindon’s Harlem Shake included a pair of frozen half-naked Teletubbies, a Green Cross Man, an air guitarist, some people in animal costumes and a bloke pretending to be a flasher.
It was a very respectable effort. All right, so it may not have been quite as spectacular as the one with the Americans on an airliner, but the Swindon squad should take heart: at least they’re not going to be shipped off to Guantanamo any time soon. Also, they’ll never suffer an attack of PTSD at the sight of a rubber glove.
I’d like to see some more Harlem Shakes, but perhaps it’s time for the idea to evolve a bit and perhaps Swindon could be at the forefront of it. I’ve already had quite a few ideas, but there’s always room for more.
A really good one would involve those people you sometimes encounter in the town centre when you’re in a hurry, the ones who never seem to know where the hell they’re going.
If you’re one of those people you could make a video that starts out with business as usual. There you’d be, changing direction every three seconds and bouncing off lamp posts, benches, shop windows and each other, and then in the next frame you’d all of a sudden be walking in a straight line like the rest of us. It’d be really innovative – a sort of Harlem Shake in reverse.
Perhaps the annoying people in cinemas could do a version, too. For the first 30 seconds they’d be doing what they always do: things like taking conference calls on their mobiles, eating while making a noise like three stone of jellyfish in a candy floss machine, grooming one another like monkeys and attempting to remove verrucas with their car keys.
Then in the next moment they’d be watching whatever damned film they and everybody else had paid to see on the damned screen.
Maybe politicians in London could make a video that starts with them being completely indifferent to the utter chaos they’ve caused down the years and then switches to a society that doesn’t feel like an elaborate practical joke.
Nah, that would be even sillier than half-naked Teletubbies, but nowhere near as funny.