Today we're going to talk about advanced Photoshop techniques with Photoshop, but also I have discovered the most incredible thing. It's a Youtube playlist called "Important Videos", by a man called eljolto. Rarely has a playlist been so aptly named.
There are currently 312 videos, mostly quite short. They span the gamut of human experience. A man performs a snooker trick shot with a dog; men, women, and children fall over; a man shoots a child's toy in the head with a revolver and it falls over; a baby sees chickens for the first time and falls over. A man tries to climb his kitchen, but he falls. A helicopter takes off from a dog's head and although we don't see it fall, it does fall. Gravity, time, sex, and pain. There is no more, because there is no more.
A woman pours too much vodka. The human animal is indescribable and limitless. Ducks can walk, fly, and swim; human beings can only do two of those things, yet we are the masters. You have seen some of the videos before, but you were different then.
It's important to give your layers descriptive names
My favourite video has a Turkish man yelling the word "meow" at an egg:
Why does he shout at an egg? Is he trying to wake it up? Why "meow"? That video has amassed over one and a half million YouTube views; many thousands more than you or I.
Eggs have enormous metaphorical resonance, and something about the video's unintentional symbolism appeals to me. Human beings are of course not born of eggs. We are mammals. The writers of television's Mork and Mindy chose to demonstrate Mork's non-human nature by having him arrive on Earth in an egg-like spaceship; in later seasons we learn that his race are born from eggs, and that they grow young.
All of comedy stems from violent subversion. Why is the Turkish man shouting "meow" at an egg? The collision of disconnected ideas defies rationality. It shocks and amuses us. Laughter is the physical manifestation of an unexpected mental sneeze. The video reminded me of Can's "Father Cannot Yell", which is the opening song from their first album, Monster Movie. The lyrics present a horrific portrait of sexual dysfunction in a primordial landscape of anarchic dissipation.
After setting up seventy adjustment layers, you need to use the curves dialogue. It's important to use adjustment layers so that you can tweak the end result without altering the original.
"All has been forgotten and the plastic turns to rotten rays and smells", sings Malcolm Mooney. The words are not supposed to make literal sense. Instead they are an impressionistic depiction of chaos. "Mother screaming I AM MOTHER woman screaming I AM FERTILE and the father, he hasn't been born yet", but if the man cannot make love with the woman, how is he a father? Does the fertile woman know what she is letting herself in for? "Woman who just lies there waiting, and the father hasn't been born yet".
For a man, there is something disturbing about fatherhood and fathers. There's nothing funny about fathers. It's impossible not to think of a father without thinking of his cock, but not in a funny way; a father's defining characteristic is that he has had sex - unfunny, serious sex. Grown-up sex. A bearded, sweater-wearing father has had sex several times with the same woman, not for fun but to have children. When he goes outside to join the hunt he does so for sustenance, not for fun. Fathers have conversations about farming equipment and/or tides, not Adventure Time.
In this example I have used the measurement log. I have not yet found the pattern.
Fathers have to give up drinking and having fun with their friends; they don't have time. They have to learn about mortgages and tax relief. They put on weight and change nappies. In centuries gone by it was customary for the man to spread his seed and then ignore the children; in certain cultures today it is normal for men to leave a trail of single mothers and fatherless children behind. Male bears famously have a dim view of their children, and the rest of the animal kingdom is just as brutal. It is surprisingly difficult to burn a book, or rather burn a book so that there's nothing left. Books go crispy around the edges but the interior is insulated, and even when they have been in a fire for a long time the middle of the pages remains intact.
Therefore, when I write my novel, it will have all the little itty-bitty words around the edges of the page, with the meaty important words in the middle, like so:
Edit: A month after writing the above the BBC discovered "important videos" as well. Never let it be said that I am behind the curve. In the words of Sophie Ellis-Bextor, it's a mixed-up world, and I, Uncle Ashley - your real uncle, not that impostor - will guide you.