Wednesday, August 16, 2006

You Tube -- geriatric 1927 -- Updated

At the age of seventy-nine this has to be one of the most charming, genteel figures to appear on You Tube to date. He appears to be producing his own videos, opening with "Hello, You Tubers..." and comes across as one of the most self-assured, worldly-wise and agreeable old men I have ever seen. He is for the moment my new best find.

You owe it to yourself to take five or six minutes to watch just one of his videos. I recommend beginning with Part I of Telling it All. Later you can go back to see earlier, less polished productions, but if you are to be hooked, this will do the trick. This man is the very model of a modest English gentleman. We all can pray that at the age of seventy-nine we will multi-task as well as he, and with half as much of life's wisdom.

Part Three tells of his post-war passion for motor-cycling and his appointment as a public health inspector. Important but boring he spent a good deal of time motor-cycling. That, in turn led to his most important vocational change...a career change which took him to a lower wage but a payback of personal satisfaction that is of immeasurable value.

As of this writing he is up to Part Four and I am waiting, apparently with several thousands of other people, for what will come next. Anyone who has need of a grandfather figure or a role model could do much worse than this gentleman. Here is the link to his collection thus far.

Update, August 16

I'm moving this post to the top this evening. Parts Five and Six of this man's story are now available. I find it a great relaxation when I get home from work to just sit and listen to him talk about his life. He is extraordinary in his ordinariness, but there is a spirit of imagination, gentleness and common sense about him. Something seems to be driving him to talk, but so far I can't figure out what it is. It's more than the usual need to jabber. And at this point he has given no clue that he is doing anything more than just telling his story and having a relaxed good time by doing so.

Telling it all part 1
My life

Added: 5 days agoViews: 141,938

Telling it all part 2
A very quick trip to my conscription into the Armed Forces.

Added: 4 days agoViews: 112,705

Telling it all Part 3
A change of direction

Added: 3 days agoViews: 106,503

Telling it all Part 4 [This is in the list because the name is different; view the next one with "slides and music." I just love this man's creative passion.]
Self employed, marriage and children

Added: 2 days agoViews: 51,079

telling it all # 4
Hopefully with intro slides and music

Added: 2 days agoViews: 100,423

Telling it all Part 5
working from home and more stupid adventures

Added: 13 hours agoViews: 13,089

Telling it all Part 6
Return to education

Added: 5 hours agoViews: 2,733

Check out the number of views. I haven't been following the rest of You Tube closely, but these numbers look pretty big to me for an item not yet a week old.
The Times of London thinks so also.
And again today...

THE internet has spawned many inexplicable phenomena, but there has never been a cyber hero more unlikely than “Geriatric 1927”.

In the past week, the 79-year-old British widower’s gentle video monologues have become the hottest sensation on the web.

More than a million users of YouTube, the online home video site, have downloaded the six short films posted so far, which purport to be fragments of his life story. NI_MPU('middle');

Young people from Singapore to Seattle have responded adoringly to the “inspiring” first episodes of Telling it All, which include droll recollections of life in postwar Leicester, mild grumbles about political correctness and glowing praise for motorbikes (“maybe I’ve got oil in my veins instead of blood”).

Yesterday, a hunt was underway to establish the identity of Geriatric 1927, who appears to be revelling in his anonymity.

On the site he gives his name only as Peter. He says that he lives alone in central England and that his nom de plume refers to the year of his birth.

Each film features a white-haired man, typically wearing an open-necked shirt and sweater, seated alone in front of patterned wallpaper.

From time to time, he removes his glasses and for most of the filming his eyes are closed. He often teases his audience with snippets of information that he says will be explained at a later date.

An introductory film describes the project as the “Bloggs (Sic) of a geriatric”. Peter explains: “What I hope I will be able to do is just bitch and grumble about life in general from the perspective of an old person who has been there and done that, and hopefully you will respond in some way by your comments.”

Update September 2

Peter responds to a critic in Part 14. Don't miss it.

Another update, April 25, 2007

I see from the referrals that this post has been linked by an educator as a possible project for student inquiry. While I'm pleased and humbled by that recognition, I have to say that a single blog post is in this case not enough to do justice to the subject.

Since I first put it together Peter Oakley has not only produced a raft of videos himself (two days ago it was Number 49, I believe) but has been featured on a BBC show and taken part in a CD that has just been released. Here are a few more links to follow if you really want to get up to speed with geriatric 1927.

Geriatric 1927 -- Wikipedia article

Geriatric 1927 -- Official Site -- Updated

Best. Story. Yet.

geriatric 1927 update -- Peter also writes

YouTube memo (Several links. Time consuming to drill into them all, but don't miss the ten-minute YouTube Montage . I can't find out who put it together or anything else about it, but it is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. I liked it so well I embedded it later to the blog.)

Peter (aka geriatric 1927) on BBC Radio

And finally, this last link. The Zimmers "My Generation" via geriatric 1927
At this writing this post is getting upwards of thirty hits a day as the result of searches, mostly from Google. The recording seems to be catching on, more in the UK than here.

Afterthought...A couple of nights ago I was looking back at some of his earlier videos and came across Number 23 in which he articulates wonderfully well how important he feels his work is benefiting young people. Number 23 is recommended if you are not worn out by now. You should be able to find it at his site without a link from me.

Have fun with the projects! And thanks for linking.


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