Remember when webcams were amazing? Back when they were new and novel? I’m not talking about porn, you filthy perv, I’m talking about a fixed camera somewhere, just streaming everyday life back to our respective bunkers.
I remember being fairly obsessed with one that broadcast 24/7 from a laundromat in France. The place was called Happy Wash, and it was in the city of Strasbourg. I’d sit and watch that thing for (here’s where most people would go straight to hyperbole and say ‘hours’) ten minutes at a time. Which is a long time to watch foreigners fold socks and bras. It got to the point where I could recognize regulars on there, and I sincerely wanted to visit the place someday. It was on my so-called Bucket List, although I hate that phrase and feel ashamed for having typed it.
Anyway, Happy Wash is long gone. I don’t remember when it shit the bed, but I’d estimate 2005. The shot above is from their great old cam and causes a wave of warm nostalgic comfort to (happy) wash over me. Is that weird? Why did it mean so much?
There was another one, almost as great, from inside a bar/restaurant in Poland. I can’t remember the name of the place, but it featured an enormous amount of lattice. It was just lattice everywhere. I’d sit and watch that one too, and wonder what life is like for the guys (always guys) sitting at the bar drinking and talking. In some unknown town in Poland, a mysterious place I’ll almost certainly never visit.
I think that’s the part I liked: eavesdropping on regular folks doing mundane things in exotic locales. I found it fascinating. I don’t know why. There are tons of outdoor cams, showing beaches and streets in cities around the world. But they weren’t as interesting to me. And, of course, there were stupid-ass things like turtle cam or camel cam, or things like that. That’s nonsense. No, I just loved the normal people doing boring things webcams. That was the sweet spot for me.
Another great one, that is ongoing, is the Abbey Road crossing. There you can watch dipshit tourists from around the globe risk their lives by walking across that thing, goose-stepping and wildly swinging their arms, trying to recreate the classic Beatles album cover. Check it out here. It’s halfway down the page, and you have to click on it to get it to start. The quality is greatly improved from the early days, but the douches have remained the same. I’ve never seen anyone actually run over by a car on that thing, but I’ve seen plenty of close calls. And I’ve witnessed incensed drivers laying on the horn and shouting. Good stuff. I’ve also seen people fall down, which never fails to brighten my day.
The reason I’m thinking about this subject is because Toney mentioned that I should check out a Myrtle Beach cam, with that hurricane lingering out there. This is the one. As I type this, it looks pretty freaking menacing.
Anyway, I’d forgotten how fascinating I used to find all this stuff. I think it was even cooler when the quality was minimal, like the French laundromat shot above. It was all so mysterious, like a strange AM radio station coming in from some far-flung city while driving at night. Or this creepiness. When it’s being delivered at 1080p high-def, it doesn’t feel quite the same. Oh well.
Did you have a favorite webcam back in the early days o’ the internet? Or do you have one now? Tell us about it in the comments.
Also, since I brought it up, what unusual item do you have on your (please God, no!) Bucket List? Another one on mine is to visit a hotel in France (why so much France??) where an obscure movie was filmed in 1953, called Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday. Here’s some info about the place. When I found out the hotel is still there and operational, I shouted, “Gotta go!” People around me believed I’d been struck by a shit-pain, but it was something else.
If you have anything unusual like that, please share. Not “visit Australia,” or “have a threesome.” But something out of the ordinary. Please use the comments.
And I’ll see you guys again soon.
Have a great day!