Monthly Archives: August 2022

Trapped In the House

and lots of time to mess around with this blog!

August 5/22

There’s this thing about wordless camping videos on Youtube.

It’s got to be about 60 days now with temperatures in excess of 100. No rain for two months and in the 100s since April and in the hot hours I have to stay inside, I can’t work in this heat. The hot hours means from about 10:30 to 7.

So at any rate, here’s something about the non-talking camping videos on Youtube. The ASMR videos. Peculiar! And interesting!

They are selfie videos about people going out in the wilderness and camping in the rain, or storms, or blizzards, building a shelter in the nick of time and you just watch them cope and survive. A great many of them advertise ‘no talking’. Sometimes there are comments in text but mainly the adventurer struggles in wordless silence except for chopping sounds as they split firewood, crackling sounds as they walk through leaves or snow, spitting and sparking sounds of a hot tent-stove, and many of the videos promise howling winds, rain and lightning and they deliver. Then there are the crispy sizzling sounds as they make supper and mmmmmm crunching sounds as they eat it.

I came upon them researching horseback travel for Chenneville.

At least one of these videos has hit 21,000,000 views. This is clearly a subculture of outdoors-type-stuff videos. And from the comments, most viewers aren’t adventurers themselves.

It’s absolutely hypnotic.

As I said, they advertise their video as “no talking” and “ASMR sounds” and “Comfort food” and “only natural sounds” meaning ‘this is the real thing, I never added fake wind noise’.

Every one of them has The Supper Scene — and some are clearly made for The Supper Scene and nothing else — I mean somebody has unloaded a cheap tent in a public park and proceeded to fry Spam and green beans while turning a sprinkler on the tent overhead, but these can be summarily dismissed for their pure and evident fakiness. But others, as above, are people who want your subscription and are willing to freeze their asses off to earn it. And they apparently love doing it.

Supper scenes; campers from Russia to Thailand to Canada to Oklahoma:

Rice and pot stickers and rib-eyes and borscht and King Ranch Chicken, it’s the Supper Scene! And It’s lovable because the supper-maker has fought wind and snow and rain to make his/her own little shelter in a cruel world and they deserve it. It is with relief that we see them fortify themselves with various national cuisines!

(Sorry — also breakfast. How a bear could not smell this is beyond me.)

This one above is an engaging young guy named Dima who camps out and builds shelters — and appropriates shelters — in the Russian forests and somehow he managed to keep those tomatoes in perfect condition.

What is the attraction? For one thing, the silence, the wordless solitude. They are all a kind of story or narrative without words. There is some talking to the camera if the person is demonstrating camping equipment for some company that has given him demos, but mainly they forge on in sweet untalking quiet. They have clever little campstoves, ingenious tents, brilliantly designed backpacks, and we envy them. They have no deadlines, don’t work in an office and their dogs love them. Their food is delicious. Their sleep is untroubled.

They don’t weigh us down with woke stuff, with disapproval, with negative takes on other people. And these aren’t glamorous people, they are un-made-up and are devoid of urban polish. They are not celebrities, so far anyway. It’s just them and the fire-starter and a galloping wind-driven tent that threatens to sail away into the blizzard. These are little stories about self-reliance, their main character is always Robinson Crusoe and Robinson Crusoe stories never fail to captivate.

And why are the sounds of chopping wood, cutting meat, stirring the soup, trudging through dry leaves, hypnotic? These stories are all images and sounds, no dialogue. You fall into a kind of timelessness. Deep attention is paid to the most ordinary things and every leaf and every dance of the lamp-flame is profoundly interesting; when the tent finally is erected everything is in intense close-up. Everything matters, very much, since all they have is what they can carry on their backs or drag in a sledge. So that’s why they get 21 million views, and ten million and fifteen million.

And so I also looked up what might be the most popular Youtube videos and it turns out that music videos are way, way down the list and of those ‘Baby Shark’ is the most popular by a long shot. I suppose these would fall into the DIY category? Or How-To? Don’t know.

So if he just keeps on there’ll be a cozy fantasy and a rib-eye at the end of his quest.