2012

Hurricane Sandy

The Internet is a burst with Sandy. Hurricane Sandy, that is. There are posts about fictional Weather-pocalypses, and everyone seems to want to give you a playlist for the Franken Storm, even The Guardian. Tuesdays is usually the day when I try to get a Music for the Apocalypse up for you guys, but this Tuesday… I feel like everyone else has done it for me. There was also an element of questioning the clammering to use an international disaster to drive hits to your blog. It’s… a sensitive area. However, one of the amazing things about Sandy has been the buoyant spirit of those in the path of the storm, sticking two fingers to the ‘cane and battening down the hatches. So, instead, I’ve decided to look at some of the wonderful things other people have done to bring hope and joy and laughter to each other.

Some people met the hurricane in swimming trunks and a horse’s head.

Jimmy Kruyne has taken credit for this little piece of joy, having tweeted ‘The news crew is down the block, Im thinking horse mask and swimming trunks?

Props should also be given to David Tra for one-upman ship:

The caption on YouTube pleasingly reads ‘On a scale of one to horsehead jogger…’, and whilst I think videoing yourself is not quite the same as high-jacking national news coverage, you have to admire a man who, according to Metro, said: ‘I see your shirtless, horse-head jogger and raise you a shirtless, unicorn-head roller-blader.’

Some people took slightly mean pleasure in tricking Twitter users into retweeting pictures of other storms. istwitterwrong has made an excellent post debunking these. Whilst others responded by satirising this practice and tweeting links to pictures like these:

Click here to see image

click to see image

Naturally, spoof twitter accounts popped up for the hurricane itself:

click to the Twitter pageAnd amidst all this good humour, good people were also on the ground, helping each other out. Witness this haunting image of ambulances moving patients from one hospital where the power had gone out to another:

click to see original Twitter status

Meanwhile, 190 firefighters battled through the night to tackle a catastrophic fire that had broken out in Queens, and Emily Rahimi, a seven year veteran of the Fire Department of New York sat by a Twitter feed through the night providing vital support to people who couldn’t get through the over-taxed 911 calls. Truly a woman you’d want with you, come the apocalypse.

If this were in Britain, we’d call it ‘Dunkirk Spirit’, but really it’s just the simplicity and goodness of people pulling together in a crisis, to stand by one another and keep their spirits up. Not just the heroes, although we should never undermine the work they do, but the jokers who bring us around to the funny side of our situation – who play us a song, or make a silly image, or run around in the rain with a horse mask on their head.

To all of the people keeping it together in the face of Sandy, we at the Girls’ Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse salute you.

Music for the Apocalypse #44: Till the world ends, by Britney Spears

OK, I don’t think this song is set to be an apocalypse classic, but you have to give her props for exploiting the 2012-Mayan-calendar-end-of-the-world theme. I’m surprised more pop-stars haven’t gone for it, to be honest.

The first half of this song is fairly standard mindless noise that doesn’t really seem to have anything to do with the apocalypse, but keep with it, around 2:35 it kicks off into something a bit different and more interesting:

See the sunlight, we ain’t stoppin’

Keep on dancing till the world ends

If you feel it, let it happen

Keep on dancing till the world ends

It’s still a pretty simple lyric, but the timbre shifts from the standard dance beat to a softer, more open sound as the melody rises to echo the rising of the sun in the lyric and I have to admit, I get a tingle. It is evocative of a survivor emerging from their hidey hole after some tumultuous disaster has swept over them, to see the still destruction in the dawn light. It’s not Mozart, but it earns it a place in our post-apocalypse playlist.

Credit is also due to director Ray Kay for creating a music video that is rather more spectacular than the song. This is a pretty stunning depiction of the apocalypse. I’m not quite sure what sort of apocalypse it is, but I’m also not quite sure that I care. It’s very pretty. Equally, the frenetic choreography of the dancers (who are maybe engaged in some kind of sex-death ritual, maybe zombies (probably sex-zombies, if there is such a thing), or just the world’s most committed ravers) evocatively capture what  all songs of this type are getting at: i.e. whether you’re dancing like it’s 1999 or like it’s the end of the world the music is taking you to a frenzied beat that shakes passion off it like sweat. It’s the ‘quick! The four minute warning! Find someone to screw!’ impulse mixed with dancing like your life depends on it. Both themes are exciting and evocative of the sex-death link that has fascinated theorists like Freud.

It’s a simple idea with no real distracting depth, but it’s nicely realised. It’s a 2012 themed song – I felt it did have to make the list before the year was out.

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