Saturday, 12 June 2010

It Came From The Mind Of The Pastry Champion

If anything can be attributed to the JustSandN staff having consistently low test scores during our school years it's Weebl's Stuff. This isn't our way of saying that Weebl's Stuff is damaging to the human brain, although all those flashing lights can't be good for you, what we're saying is that Weebl's Stuff is addictive. Honestly, we grew up watching Weebl's Stuff when what we should have been doing was learning to build rocket ships, cure world epidemics and maintain websites. Clearly Weebl has something to answer for, so join Denial and Drew as they take an extended trip into the weird and wonderful world of Weebl's Stuff.

Over the years Jonti Picking's creations have become the stuff of legend. In the early days what attracted us to Weebl's Stuff was the randomness. Quirky, hideously catchy and ever-so-slightly insane music over short, looping videos depicting strange and unusual images. Obvious examples of these being 'Scampi', 'Kenya' and the ever-enduring 'Patrick Moore Plays the Xylophone'. These glory-nuggets entertained a generation and gave us something to talk about during alleged IT lessons at school. On the flip-side of these were the series', several of which were restricted to a small handful of episodes (the brilliant 'Mr Stabby' and 'Lardman' spring to mind) but some went on to become institutions in their own right.

Weebl and Bob is by far Jonti Picking's most popular and well-known creation having, over the course of it's life, been featured on MTV2 in the UK and also a twisted version of them being using in an advertising campaign for butter. While Weebl's contribution to butter has had limited impact on the lives of the Justsandn team, many afternoons were taken out of school enjoying a blend of alternative music and the antics of Picking's imagination. With this in mind Weebl's Stuff has become a cultural phenomenon as much as an escape from learning. Our earliest memories of the internet are of trawling for amusing flash videos while taking part in aimless MSN messenger conversations with friends we would inevitably see the next morning in school. As such the internet is awash with sites like Weebl's Stuff and Newgrounds all offering their own brand of lunch hour escapism.

However, don't be fooled into thinking that the likes of Weebl's Stuff are simply forgettable flashes against the backdrop of the evolution of the internet and cult culture. Whether wittingly or not, Picking's contributions have helped lead a digital revolution in user created content and an uprising of young artists, programmers and writers.

Many sites have appeared over the years which promote user generated flash content. Weebl's Stuff itself has an 'Upload Your Toon' section where users can submit their own creations, whereas Newgrounds is a massive hub for user generated content and has been a source for a vast array of the memes we have all come to love, including the substantial portion that have come directly from the brain of Mr Picking himself. In addition the sheer volume of content these sites have attracted has resulted in several artists being able to promote their videos and games and attract users to their own sites. There are far too many to mention in one article but some key examples include the 'Brackenwood' series, Homestar Runner and the videos at, host of the infamous Salad Fingers series.

Returning to Weebl's Stuff, the site has continued to evolve since our now hazily remembered childhood's and Picking has, while remaining faithful to the feel of the older content, moved on into the terrifying world of commercialism, becoming a business in it's own right (and presumably keeping Mr P in pies for the rest of his life). The videos on the site have a distinctively polished look to them these days and the trend has become that we see more episodic content than one-off videos but rest assured, the distinctive roots of Weebl's Stuff remain and those first pioneering videos are still available for your perusal. Fans will be happy to hear that Weebl's stuff has grown to accommodate various forms of merchandise ranging from t-shirts through to mp3 downloads on iTunes and Amazon, so that you'll never be short of the means to amaze and annoy friends with the content of Weebl's stuff.

So that's our trip into the land of Weebl's Stuff, now go forth and sail the seas for nonsense for yourselves, to help you on your quest Denial and Drew leave you with the following recommendations. Follow them at your own risk. And remember kids - don't be a porky chancer.    

Drew: Lardman, Owls and Cat Face - I love Lardman, he is irrefutable proof that you can waste time just as well at university as you can at school.

Denial: Australia, Kenya and On the Moon - Evidence that Possums, Lions and testicle-rolling Prawns are certainly not to be trusted.

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