At various times in my life, I’ve branched out into different creative endeavours. I’ve tried poetry, writing, podcasting, photography, and much more. I’ve even tried the hardest medium of all: video.
That’s why I have a YouTube channel. With a solid 25 videos. And 439 sorry subscribers. The videos span a five year period, from 2014 to 2019. And as a kind of Halloween prank on myself, I thought it could be interesting to revisit these failures and ask: “What the hell was I thinking?”
Apologies, I know this is kind of self-indulgent.
So the first video is a video game one. Specifically it’s recorded footage of a Left 4 Dead 2 mod I was playing with. Left 4 Dead 2 is co-operative zombie game, and the mod I installed had the effect of replacing the ‘boomer’ zombie type with Shrek. All Star by Smashmouth would also play when they showed up.
All in all, not a bad first video. It’s an interesting bit of video game meme history, and probably one of my earliest pieces of Shrek content. Six years later and I’m still on it.
My most popular video, with over 400k views! I can’t take credit for this content, as it’s just a recorded episode of the CiTV gameshow Jungle Run. The reason it’s on my channel is that I’m actually in it! Yes, that spirited young chap with the quiff is me. I should probably write a blog post about the experience some time. This one holds up.
Possibly the height of my own pretension. Just look at the photo. It’s one I took myself in Times Square on a vintage camera using black and white stock film like the raging hipster I was in 2014.
The video is a audio recording of a poem I’d written at the time called Growl. I was an aspiring poet and decided I would do my own take on Ginsberg’s epic Howl poem (geddit?). As a youthful expression of ‘something’ I guess it works. But my poetry career didn’t take off so this was ultimately a bit of a dead end.
Another poem! This one was interesting – each verse is made up of words each beginning with a letter of the alphabet. A bit like Blackalicious’ Alphabet Aerobics but by a white Cambridge hipster.
Get the cookywook look! Vintage.
Ok, so this is a real specific bit. At the time, my friendship group included some folks who you’d today consider influencers. I found this fascinating and decided it would be something I could lightly mock.
This is the first of a series of those videos, meant to be a parody of beauty/fashion/lifestyle bloggers. I did actually go to a vintage fair and buy this stuff. But the video still isn’t great. I’m filming it myself on my bed, the lighting is awful, and the top of my head is cut out of the frame most of the time. Amateurish.
Get the cookywook look! Election special
More of the same. The bit here is that I just talk about socks for four and a half minutes. The election angle is largely irrelevant. One comment underneath the video asks “Wait, is that how you actually sound, or are you doing an exaggeration of a gay Englishman?” which is quite strange.
Get the cookywook look! Halloween Special
Oh, relevant! I actually tried to do something with the lighting here (still orange af) and I’ve learnt about depth of field. The autofocus on the camera is on, though, so you can hear mechanical sounds constantly throughout the video. Meh, upload it anyway! Who cares!
Uploaded for a thing I was doing where every day of the year I’d recognise the national ‘day’ it was. Not worth a rewatch.
Get the cookywook look! EASTER HAIR & MAKEUP TUTORIAL
I forgot I’d made this many of these. Love how I’m just mildly out of focus the entire time. Doing these on your own is incredibly difficult.
Taking the dog for a walk in Fallout 4
Some video game footage! I realised that I had software installed that would let me record myself playing games and that this could be a hot new source of content. So I recorded myself playing Fallout 4 for 12 minutes.
Sadly, I forgot to turn on the setting to capture my own audio. So my witty commentary is forever lost to history.
Happy Mother Goose Day!
Another one of the days of the year things. I realised as I was going to bed that I hadn’t done one, hence literally doing this in bed. Not great.
My GBBO new host audition tape
The first of my audition tape series! I actually still love these. The bit is that I’m auditioning to be the new host of The Great British Bakeoff. The script is mostly improvised, with me grabbing a nearby coconut just before hitting record. I like this one a lot, it’s just let down by the lighting.
Doctor Who audition tape
There’s a lot to love here. I like my jumper and hair especially. The bit where I take my top off at the end is quite something. The autofocus again means you have to put up with constant whirring. I wish I’d bothered to learn to use my camera properly. Good content.
Reading out the wrestling career of Dwayne Johnson but I’m wearing a different hat for each section
It should go without saying that I was not in a good place when I made this. Living alone in a big house with just booze and hats for company. This SIXTEEN MINUTE nightmare of a video portrays a man at his lowest. The content is exactly as the title of the video promises. I still don’t really know why I made it.
Fun fact: this is actually the second take as first time around the audio entirely messed up! That’s 32 whole minutes of life wasted.
Taking down a camp in Mad Max
This is just cool footage from a really great game.
I am not good at Nuclear Throne
More footage of me playing games. I’d totally forgotten about Nuclear Throne until just now. It holds up, I reckon.
CookyWook’s Cooking Look: Episode 1!
A new series! This time a cookery show parody thing. I mostly just wanted to do the Ignition (Remix) gag and wanted an excuse to film it.
MASSIVE HAUL | NOVEMBER 2017
Maybe my favourite video! And quite successful from a technical standpoint. I’m in focus! The audio is decent! I even did some basic vlogger-style editing. Wow.
Making fun of ‘haul’ videos (where people buy stuff and show it to you), the video is me showing off the various plastic bags I’ve got from different shops. Not the worst idea in the world and some funny bits in there.
A video message for the Sour Patch Kids
Another audition vid. This time it’s for the Sour Patch Kids. I love this video a lot, even though it is quite disgusting. And I based it on a bit I’d seen Ben Target do years ago where he ate an entire packet of crackers while talking about his family history. Also strong jumper game.
HQ Trivia Audition Tape
Remember HQ Trivia? That was a short-lived fad, huh? Anyway, I genuinely thought I could get involved as a host on the app with a viral video. This did not go viral and is mostly a bit of a fail. Also I hate my hair in this and I’m wearing a really ugly pair of glasses for some reason.
CookyWook’s Cooking Look: Episode 2
I put real effort into this. It’s a real cooking video, with ingredients and everything. There’s some really beautiful voiceover work at some points. I think the end product (a disgusting guacamole Shrek onion thing) is at least half-decent. And it ends with me eating a raw onion. Which is something.
Question Time Audition Tape
I feel like this is the kind of thing that commonly goes viral on Twitter or TikTok these days. Was I just ahead of the curve? There’s some weird Jamie Demetriou energy going on here too.
Richard Cook stand-up – The Bill Murray 3/2/19
Actual real stand up by actual me on the actual stage at the actual Bill Murray pub in London. This was an absolute dream come true and it went pretty well! People have said lots of nice things about this. And I look back at this footage fondly.
What if Shrek did stand up?
The low point of my stand-up career and actually the last time I took to the stage. The night was a Halloween special where every act performed in costume in character. Naturally I did Shrek, but I was horribly out of practice, the material was weak, and I had to go up first to a room that were not very warmed up. I have never rewatched the footage in full and I include it here only for the sake of completeness.
Jeremy Corbyn – Manifesto in 60s
This is literally just footage of Jeremy Corbyn describing his manifesto in 60s. I did this so I could make this mashup of him doing it over a sick rap beat.
There’s some really interesting ideas here. But they’re mostly executed with only half a heart. I was afraid of failure, or being criticised, so I deliberately put low effort into these things. I wish I’d taken some of this stuff more seriously as I can see real potential in some of it.
But hey, they are what they are. Each is a portrait of me – or my interests – at a particular time in my life. And as much as this blog is about me examining cultural artefacts of the wider world, so too should we do our own personal archeology. Who knows what you might uncover.