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Pardon Me (also known as “Tunnel of Love”) is a viral video & original song by Maxine Swaby, a hairdresser and Gospel singer from Coventry, England. The video is most notable for its sub-par production quality, which shows Maxine singing and dancing rather awkwardly in front of various downtown locations and outdoor landscapes. Also see: It’s so cold in the D.
Swaby recorded the music video for “Pardon Me” in 1999 with assistance from then college students Tim Constable and Patrick McNeill. Althoug the video was produced on a 50£ budget and was never meant for public release, it was uploaded on YouTube by user Vanillapod on January 19th, 2010:
The following day, blogger Robert Popper reblogged the video, making a vague reference as to how brilliantly terrible the video is. In turn, the video was then reblogged on boingboing, Regretsy, Defamer, Videogum and many more blogs, resulting in roughly 100,000 views within the video’s first week online.
The Tunnel of Love
Since gaining viral momentum in January 2010, “Pardon Me” M/V also triggered a series of chain response videos shot in continuous recursion, depicting each participant singing along to the chorus while holding a computer monitor with the preceding participant’s upload on display. Dubbed the “Tunnel of Love” by fans on YouTube, this phenomenon is also known as Droste effect and can be seen as a visual example of “strange loop.”
On January 21, 2010, British comedian / videoblogger BenjaminLoka uploaded a video himself singing to the song, titled “Re: Pardon Me”, initiating what would soon become a long chain of responses.
“Pardon me, I didn’t want to go. Pardon me, I want you to know…”
Following the success of chain response videos, Maxine created her own YouTube channel in June 2010. A mother of two children and a born-again Christian, Maxine still continues to pursue her musical endeavors as a vocalist in Coventry’s gospel choir and operas on occasion.
In 1999, I sang on film-maker Patrick McNeill’s infamous ‘Pardon Me’ currently going viral on YouTube! This college exercise (never meant for public release) further cemented my working partnership with Tim. In 2000 I trained to be a hairdresser and, despite much frustration, I was also Praise leader at House of Empowerment and Ambassadors International, regularly appearing on videos shown on Christian television.
I’m currently embarking on a series of new recordings, of which these two tracks are but a taster! Be sure there will be more to come, including some Gospel tracks we’ve started work on. And by the way, I’m currently single.