I stumbled across a couple of new YouTube channels today that I’m fascinated by. One of them is Bright Sun Films, which features videos created by Jake Williams. The other is This is Dan Bell, obviously named for its proprietor. What these channels have in common is that they focus on places that have been forgotten.
Jake has a series on his channel called Abandoned, videos about places that once housed thriving businesses, which now stand empty and are going to seed. From shopping malls and stores that were once thriving, to places like the Pontiac Silverdome and a charity hospital in Detroit. He also has videos on airlines and other businesses that have failed, similar to some of the videos produced by Company Man. Dan’s channel features a series of videos about dead shopping malls, malls that are still open despite the fact that all or most of the businesses have shut down.
Both channels are really sad, but at the same time they inform and entertain. The stories remind me of Shelley’s sonnet “Ozymandias”.
I’ve been sitting around all day, watching videos from these channels, thinking about how these were all happy places, places that mattered in people’s lives, and now they’re just hulls, shadows of their former selves. It’s sad, I know, but at the same time the stories are fascinating. Ghoulish, maybe, but quite interesting and informative.