Sunday, November 3, 2013

for your sunday viewing pleasure
Videos of entire long-distance train journeys

from Boing Boing

YouTube has been an existence-proof of forms of video that were lurking in potentia, unable to come into existence due to limitations of the distribution channel. The two-to-three-minute video has now been firmly established as a genre (with the six-second video hot on its heels), but there's plenty of room at the long end of the scale. Case in point: subculture of YouTubers who post full-length train journeys, hours and hours' worth -- and if that's not long-form enough, how about 134-hour sea crossings?

Given the modern vogue/panic about short-reads being mere "linkblogging" and the practice of spinning out a few hundred words into a "serious, long-form journalism" wheeze that is split across eight or more screens, this may just be the video form for our age (and please let it be a short one!).

I was thrilled to learn, via an excellent Metafilter post, about a small online subculture of resistence to the attention-frittering trend: the existence of scores of YouTube videos documenting entire train journeys, some many hours long, from the perspective of the driver in the cab. The video above is nine hours and 53 minutes long – it's available in spring, autumn and winter versions too – and while I won't claim to have watched it all, I've spent some pleasant work breaks in Brooklyn watching Scandinavian scenery go by. But perhaps you'd prefer Glasgow to Fort William and Mallaig in Scotland? It's every bit as rainswept – and bleakly beautiful, especially in its latter stages – as you'd imagine:
Life too exciting? Enter the calming world of full-length train journey videos [Oliver Burkeman/The Guardian]

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