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The cultural collapse of the world, as we know it, happens at 2.14am on a Sunday morning when Samuel Brinston uploads a YouTube video of his parakeet performing Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’. This is Samuel Brinston’s first YouTube video and he has spent exactly 24,090 hours working towards this moment. Inspired by an endless stream of similar videos, Samuel Brinston and his parakeet Brian, have listened to the song 5,365 times in preparation for this final performance. Samuel Brinston has never committed more to anything in his life.

Samuel tended to barrel his way through life in a sort of roly-poly fashion and had reached this point in his life true to form. Not a loser but never the achiever. During his school years he was never bullied but he had no strong friendships. He never had girlfriend until his mid-twenties but at age sixteen experienced a brief affair with his French tutor. Memories of his biological Dad are foggy at best but solid relationship with his step-Dad makes up for things. This was the pattern, the order of things that would dictate Samuel’s life.

Brian had been a present. If you ask Samuel he can’t remember from whom. It is possible Samuel bought the parakeet himself. The idea to teach Brian to sing arrives to Samuel after he watches two shows, back to back, showcasing the ‘best’ homemade web videos. One of these is an animal special. Samuel decides that he would like to be on one of these shows. That night Samuel orders ‘How To Teach Your Bird To Talk’ from Amazon. It arrives six days later. He has no idea why he chose ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’.

Brian’s rendition of the song is pitch perfect. The video’s popularity results in the first ever crash of the YouTube website. During the crash filmmaker Lilly Walker is a attempting to upload a short film she has made with her friends. This magnum opus will redefine filmmaking in the digital age. Upon hearing the reason for the crash Lilly Walker is so disheartened that she decides not to upload it. It is four years before anyone but Lilly views the finished film. Renowned and highly respected journalist Peter Barton hears of the crash and subsequently watches the video. Peter Barton retires from journalism the next day for reasons unknown. Peter was weeks away from a not unexpected promotion to editor of a major international newspaper. On the way to a recital, piano prodigy Matthew Perez is sent the video through Facebook. That night Matthew Perez performs ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ to the sold out venue with an average ticket price of $100. The irony is lost. The night is the last public performance Matthew will make. Similar happen incidents continue to happen. This is the pattern, the order of things.

Samuel Brinston will be unaware of the impact he makes. He appears on one of the shows he watched. He has his fifteen minutes.

Created: Apr 25, 2012


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