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Columnists

Surfers' paradise

Dixe Wills

dixe.jpgThere! Did you hear that? That little 'crump', like the noise a foundling's head might make if it cracked open on a packet of bourbons? Well, commit it to memory because that, my friends, is the sound of the internet introducing a step change to our culture. You'll catch it on the cyberwind once every few days.

Take today, for example: 24th August 2010 (all right, because of the constraints of lead times you'll have to make your mind scurry back - if it helps jog your memory, it was the day Swindon went missing). Around lunch time I made an hilarious joke about popular comedy duo Nick Clegg and David Cameron (bit.ly/bOEoIW). Minutes later, scores of other people - including a Lib Dem MP and the head of his party's press department - were repeating said joke to thousands of others. A few short years ago this would have been noteworthy, but with the advent of Twitter - on which I aired said joke - such incidents have become all but commonplace.

Next, consider the case of Antoine Dodson and the Gregory Brothers.

'Crump.'

Antoine and his African-American family live on a rundown estate in Huntsville, Alabama. Recently an intruder broke into their house and tried to rape Antoine's sister Kelly in her bed. Antoine rushed into her room and fought the attacker who fled through a window. During a frenetic interview he gave to a television station (bit.ly/9grZPB), an understandably piqued Antoine mocked the stupidity of the would be rapist (he left behind his shirt and numerous fingerprints).

Enter the Gregory Brothers (a popular music combo, m'lud) stage left. For a year or so, the band has been creating songs by 'autotuning the news' - that is, feeding television interviews through a pitch-changing autotuner to make politicians, pundits and newscasters into inadvertent lead vocalists. Already immensely popular for their light satirical touch, they really hit the big time when they converted Dodson's rant into a bouncy little number called Bed Intruder Song (bit.ly/dlmyHZ). With the video attracting millions of hits, the track was swiftly released on iTunes where sales have been so brisk that it's made it onto the mainstream Billboard Chart.

So lets unravel that one a moment. This is a hit single comprising an interview about an attempted rape. Its creators are white middle class kids and its unwitting star/ butt is a young black working class man. It's all rather tasteless and unsettling, no?

Buuuuuuut - and I rarely put more than four uuuu in a but nowadays - the Gregory Brothers are splitting the profits with the Dodsons, allowing the latter to contemplate moving to some more salubrious part of the city. Antoine likes the song and is clearly enjoying his new found fame (bit.ly/9P4o8B). And it's a cracking tune. It may be an unusual method of redemption, but maybe the devil doesn't have all the best music after all…