We Recommend: Your Friday Freebies

Junkee-endorsed bits and bobs to make your weekend better. Featuring old Wes Anderson video essays, some excellent radio docos, Google's 'Music Timeline', a six-year-old B-Girl, and more.

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Each Friday, our contributors send in a bunch of (legally) free stuff they’ve come across this week to help you waste your weekend. You’re welcome.

Music History: The History of Popular Music, According to Google

Recommended by: Brad David (‘Orange Is The New Black, House Of Cards, And The Myth Of Ad-Free Viewing‘)

Google has created an interactive visual representation of trends in popular music over the past century.

Though it doesn’t really tell us anything we don’t already know (classic rock was big in the ’70s, hip hop was big in the early ’90 etc), the ability to view this information is not only aesthetically pretty cool, but allows the viewer to see just how far outside of the popular musical zeitgeist they were at any one point.


For more information, head to the Atlantic.

Video: London Circa 1927 – In Colour

Recommended by: Alex McKinnon

Even if you’re not an incurable history nerd, this film is a pretty incredible snapshot of life in 1920s London.

Originally shot by Claude Friese-Green in Biocolour and prettied up for re-release last year by the British Film Institute, the footage runs the gamut, from unchanged landmarks like the Houses of Parliament to old-timey double-decker buses, bobbies strolling along the Thames and the revelation that, back in the day, every single dude in London rocked a hat.

The soundtrack, a song called ‘Parasol’ by Jonquil, is pretty dope too.

Sport: OMAHA OMAHA OMAHA! Peyton Manning Vs Tom Brady XV

Recommended by: Jaymz Clements (‘Homeland‘s Brutal Season Three Finale Should Have Been The Show’s Last Episode Ever‘)

So… last weekend, something weird happened during the NFL playoff game between the Denver Broncos (“Awwww, the Denver Broncos”) and San Diego Chargers. Denver quarterback (the dude who throws the ball) Peyton Manning yelled out “Omaha,” and variations of that across 44 of his team’s 70 snaps (offensive plays).

The best part is that no one knows what it means, and he had never done it to such an extent before (it might’ve been a signal to snap the ball, but whatever). Out of the blue, he just kept yelling it, like a drunken Joey Lawrence in some out of the way bar yelling “I was a star”. Predictably, Twitter went batshit for it. Which prompted this:

Now five Omaha businesses are planning to donate $500 to his charity (the Peyback Foundation) for each instance Peyton shouts “Omaha” in Sunday’s upcoming playoff game against New England Patriots.

That’s awesome! What’s also awesome? THE NFL PLAYOFFS! It’s championship round (basically, the prelims), and this Sunday in the ‘States (Monday morning, Oz time), two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time — Peyton and New England’s Tom Brady — go up against each other for a spot in the Super Bowl. And on the other side of the ledger? Two of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks with nuggety little Russell Wilson, and the San Francisco 49ers with noted shirt-hater Colin Kaepernick.

Two of the all time best go head-to-head, then two of the NFL’s best young QBs follow that up? Count me in. And drunk. And yelling for someone to get me a Russell Wilson hot dog. Go Pats.

Also, this:

Sydney Festival: City of Sydney Lawn Library

Recommended by: Alex McKinnon

If you’re like me, events like the Sydney Festival trigger strongly conflicting emotions. On the one hand, there are a lot of interesting things to go see, and a number of exciting activities to take part in. On the other, all those interesting things and exciting activities attract large numbers of people, and people are gross.

Thankfully, the organisers seem to have anticipated a sizeable social-exile contingent, and so set up the Lawn Library: an open-air reader’s library complete with coffee stands, umbrellas and comfy-ass chairs to curl up in. You can choose from the books on the shelves, and even bring books from home to swap with if one really catches your eye. Best of all, it’s smack-bang in the middle of the Festival Village in Hyde Park, so you get all the kudos of being Where Things Are Happening without having to make eye contact with anyone.

Article: Everything You Wanted To Know About Spike Jonze’s Her, by Vulture

Recommended by: Steph Harmon

It’s impossible to read everything that’s been written about Her: Spike Jonze’s latest is a critic favourite, which means the film is everywhere. (Including here: read Mel Campbell’s brilliantly-titled review!) To save you time, and to steal traffic from everyone else, Vulture collated all the most interesting bits and pieces that have come out of interviews with the cast and crew, and it’s pretty comprehensive.

As weird as it feels to crib from an article that’s cribbing from so many others, here are a few things you’ll learn: Spike Jonze had a cameo in the film (he played the potty-mouthed videogame hero); Steven Soderbergh took a day to cut the running time down by an hour; the cinematographer completely shunned the colour blue; and the film-makers avoided cars, keyboards, normal pants, and anything else that would date it.

Read the piece here.

Child: Terra, the Six-Year-Old B-Girl

Recommended by: Luke Ryan

When I was 6, I had only just learned how to tie up my shoelaces and could be counted on to fall over at least twice a day. Terra, on the other hand, is a better dancer than you or I will ever be. Sigh.

Google: Googling “Google In 1998”

Recommended by: Elizabeth Flux

1998 was a good year. Titanic had just swept the Oscars, Bindi Irwin was born, and people had yet to start freaking out about Y2K.

Google understands the importance of this iconic year,  and so has marked it by regressing to its appearance at this time when you search “Google in 1998.”

Not that excited by vintage Google? Try searching “tilt” instead. Or “Zerg Rush.”

Radio: Radio Diaries, from NPR

Recommended by: Nathan Wood

Fans of This American Life will love this beautifully simple podcast/radio show from NPR. These short radio documentaries are usually told from the first person view of their subjects, as they go about their day-to-day life.

Despite their brevity (most run around ten minutes in duration), they often manage to tell the entire life story of their subjects, while also documenting the changing tides of modern society.

Here are a couple of my favourites, but you can spend an afternoon with the archives here.

Wes Anderson: Old-school Wes Anderson video essays

Recommended by: Lauren Carroll Harris

New York Times film critic Matt Zoller Seitz has a new book out about his idol, Wes Anderson — but that’s not my Friday Freebie. Seitz’s five 2009 video essays about Anderson’s films have been put together with the zest of a nerdy fanboy who just loves films, and the trained insight of a professional critic who can write plainly and beautifully about the things he adores.

There’s no dry film theory here; just sharp observations on the style, influences and themes of Anderson’s cinematic tributes to outsider oddity, loneliness, and dysfunction in family and love. I learned something new about the films I thought I knew. Maybe you will too.

Here’s parts one and two; find part three, four and five at the Museum of the Moving Image.