What the hell is “where the hell is matt?”
Mathew “Matt” Harding, an American video game developer, quickly rose through the ladders of internet celebrityship thanks to his series of videos. What are the videos of? Well, he's not called Dancing Matt for nothing.
A sarcastic joke about shoot 'em ups led to the development of Destroy All Humans! (a game completely about destroying all humans) by Pandemic Studios. Matt received the conceptual credit for it. No desire to “spend two years of his life writing a game about killing everyone”, he decided to quit. And thus began the Dancing Matt series. Popular among his circle for a particular dance, him and his friends were in Vietnam while videoing each other. The suggestion popped up that he perform the dance on camera. So he did.
Around the June of this year (2008), his video titled “Where the hell is Matt?” garnered worldwide attention, becoming a favorite for everyone, youtube viewers or otherwise.The main personals involved in the making of the video are Matt Harding himself and his girlfriend Melissa Nixon.
The video also features an amazing song, with music composed by Garry Schyman (some of you might know him as the composer for BioShock's OST. I do. =)], and sung by Bangladesh's own Palbasha Siddique. A talented young singer now living in Minneapolis Minnesota, since age 6 (now 17). It only a quick youtube search by Melissa Nixon to find their star for the video.
The name of the song is Praan, and it's simply one of the best songs I've heard. The lyrics are derived from the poem "Stream of Life" from Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore. The single “Praan” is available on Amazon MP3 to buy, for anyone who can.
In the 14 months of dancing, Matt has visited and danced at a lot of popular places such as the Madagascar, under water in Tonga, in the Stone Town of Zanzibar, in the jungles of Papua New Guinea (the natives liked Matt, they danced with him too), in Timbuktu, Nellis Airspace in Nevada at zero gravity simulation, Yemen, Fiji, Iceland, India and EVEN New York, USA! The sad fact is that he did not dance in Bangladesh. That would have been something. That also makes you wonder what spot he'd choose. The whole video has him at center focus, usually alone, but pretty soon joined in by hosts of people from all sides. YouTube counts say that it's been watched 11,399,017 times (at the time of writing this), which is a pretty damned lot of times.
You can watch the video here (don't you wish this was a hyperlink?):
You can also visit his own website, where you can know about Matt, see videos, and/or read his journal, (blog). Matt also has plenty of travel tips that the prospective wanderer can find plenty helpful.
On a last note: “Where the hell is Matt?”, though has a silly name, is sure to bring a big wide smile to your space. It did to mine, and every other person I know.
Take a break, and make a dance for it.
THINK crime, think Edinburgh, and you're bound to come up with two names: Christopher Brookmyre and Ian Rankin. While the former has branched out to include James Bond style action and adventure, the latter has found his forte in the streets of Scotland, peeping into the homes and hearts of people to uncover their darkest fears and personal quirks. If you've been following this column for at least a year, you should be familiar with his Rebus series by now.
The beauty of the Inspector Rebus series lies in how Rankin explores the human psyche, particularly the little quirks that ultimately lead them to unravel. The author uses this talent to the max in a little gem of an anthology called Beggars' Banquet.
Interestingly, the introduction to the collection reveals that Rankin started out the way many budding writers do: by penning bad poetry. He found that he was increasingly using subjects like crime and mysteries. This prompted him to explore these themes in prose. From there came his first short stories, which gradually expanded into novels, and thus Rebus was born.
Collected together for the first time, the short stories in this anthology represent the very best of Ian Rankin's repertoire. Selected from ten years' worth of material, they are taken from magazines, radio and journals. There are seven Rebus stories in there too, as well as the novella 'Death is Not the End', which won the author a Dagger for best short fiction.
The stories themselves span a wide canvas of crime in Edinburgh. There's Trip Trap, a Rebus story about a death where the key to solving a crime lies in a crossword puzzle. The puzzle theme reappears in more of the stories, such as The Principle of Accounts, where a kidnapper is lured to the open by his obsession with puzzles. Stretching from suburban murders of loved ones to the sinister workings of a serial killer's mind and from a bent cop with a terminal approach to his work to a hitman who gets more than he bargained from in a crowded fairground, these tales are less about the crimes themselves than about the psychology of both the criminals and the victims. The same keen empathy that makes the Rebus novels so much fun to read is used with surgical precision in the short stories here.
That said and done, the Rebus stories in the anthology aren't as great as the other ones. This is perhaps because Rebus fans are used to the little details, the witty repertoire and the underlying tension between the characters, and in the short stories, Rankin has to make do without all those and focus on the crime itself, which is surprisingly not his strong suite, as the short stories reveal. The non-Rebus stories, each and every one of them, however, are incisive, insightful, and a pleasure to read. A personal favourite? The True Comedian, which deals with a stand-up comic that falls into a gangster's bad books, and must now stay ahead of the game to stay alive.
If you're in the mood for a book you can carry around with you and keep coming back to for a quick dose of suspense, this is the book for you.
By Sabrina F Ahmad
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