Thursday, November 8, 2007

It's a small world someone taught to sing in perfect harmony

Today's (Nov 8th) Jon Carroll column in the San Francisco Chronicle (for some reason, I can't link to Carroll's site: go to and click on columnists, then on Carroll) reports on the international Complaints Choir movement, started by Finnish artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen.

First, form a choir of good singers. (Good, to forestall subsequent complaints about the singing, presumably.) Next, write a song full of complaints. Then videotape the choir singing the song and put the video on YouTube for all to appreciate. There's already about an hour's worth of songs from different choirs, per Carroll: search YouTube for complaints choir.

So far the choirs are from Finland, Germany, England, and Canada. Since he quotes from the Finnish one, it appears to be in English. One of its complaints: "In the public sauna they never ask if it's ok to throw water on the stones." That does it -- I'm scratching Finland from my list of courteous countries to visit.

I don't have a computer at home, and can't watch YouTube at work due to monitoring, plus I can't watch it at a Public Library due to noise, so now I'm really looking forward to visiting my sister over Thanksgiving: in addition to eating all the Thanksgiving foods our mother used to make, I can also listen to Complaint choirs on her (my sister's) computer.

(Title is a mash-up of that annoying "It's a small world" song from the Disneyland ride -- annoying because it remains with you for life -- and the line "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony" from the really old Coca Cola ad -- the song was so popular it was expanded and put out on vinyl or at least played on the radio.)

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