Thursday, June 14, 2012

Where the Hell Is Matt Now?

Tom Wray
WCB Editor

We are FINALLY getting a new "Where the hell is Matt Harding" video. It comes out on July 20. Here's the teaser.

For the uninitiated, Matt is just a guy. Back in 2003, he was travelling the world after leaving a rather boring job when a friend told him to "do that stupid dance of yours." So he did. And he did it again. And again. And on a whim, his girlfriend set it to "Sweet Lullaby" by Deep Forest. And managed to turn a guy goofing off on camera into a bit of a celebrity. The dance is kinda dumb, but the scenery, from all over the world, is gorgeous. And the song, which uses the last recording of a now dead Fijian language, made it truly global. For the most part, people around him either ignored him or gave him a few funny looks. He put it on YouTube in 2005. It got more than 2 million views.

Stride Gum thought it was cool. So they gave him some money to do it again in 2006. Travelling again around the world, but now people started to notice. A few join just for the fun if they're around. From Antarctica to Area 51, he was dancing to "Sweet Lullaby." Again, very cool and it made people smile. And at last count, has 17 million views.

Now it's 2008. Stride Gum is still paying for the airfare. But he does something a little different. The music is now "Praan," based on an Hindu poem and sung by a 16 year old Bangladeshi-American girl in Minnesota. Praan, by the way, means dance. And he invited a few more people. Like the whole world. People run in cheering to join him in Chicago, London, Madrid, Sydney, Singapore, Tokyo, Soweto, everywhere. The world joins him, laughing as they look riduculous and enjoy a shared moment with people litterally on the other side of the planet. It is now at 42 million views.

And it's still the same guy. Stride only paid for airfare. He does this because he enjoys it. And he's used the fame to help bring education to areas where funds for it are lacking.

It's silly. It makes no sense. But there is something hopeful in it. People have a look of pure joy as they join in. The roar as at least 300 people join in Madrid. The striking similarity of the setting and dancing between New York City and Tokyo. Laughter that sounds identical in Kyrgyztan, the Philipines, Bhutan and Buenos Aires. And a new video is coming out after four years. There's just something about watching the world dance together.

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