Rise of the Superstar Vloggers

Vloggers are one of those things that appear to have been created specifically to annoy people of my age, like nasal hair and One Direction. But that’s because I’m 44, and consumed by a jealous resentment towards anyone too young to remember Sonic the Hedgehog. Just watching BBC3 makes me feel like someone’s dad waiting outside an Ed Sheeran concert with the engine running.

Nevertheless, I tried to approach Rise of the Superstar Vloggers with, if not an open mind, then at least an ajar one. Presented by Jim Chapman, who comes from a family of YouTubers in the way one might once have come from a family of blacksmiths, the film showed how a new generation is ‘sticking two fingers up to the old media’, building global brands by filming themselves playing video games, offering make-up tips, hitting each other with fish, narcissistically over-sharing, plugging free stuff they’ve been sent and discussing the use of time as illusion in Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. (Okay, maybe not that last one.)

Jim told us his videos have racked up 200 million views, then in the same breath concluded his success was ‘impossible to quantify – you can’t put numbers on it’. Well make up your mind. Later, he met Alfie Deyes who, along with his girlfriend Zoella (they’re known collectively as Zalfie, obviously), has been immortalised in wax at Madame Tussauds. ‘You’re in the same room as Kim Kardashian, David Beckham, the Queen and the leader of the free world!’ marveled Jim, demonstrating exactly where the YouTube generation’s priorities lie.

We also saw how vloggers have been moving beyond their bedrooms by launching music careers and ‘writing’ novels (presumably while continuing to flick the Vs to ‘old media’ behind its back). Maybe, in the interests of balance, Salman Rushdie should start uploading videos of himself punking his mates?

Anyway, Jim seemed like a lovely bloke and everyone had nice hair and I suspect if I wasn’t so gnarly and embittered, I’d wish them all nothing but the best. As it is, if anyone needs me, I’ll be waiting outside in the car.


TV extra:

Back in Time for the Weekend

Last year’s Back in Time for Dinner was so delightful, even the presence of Giles Coren – the broadsheet Katie Hopkins – couldn’t spoil it. Back in Time for the Weekend follows the same formula, with a new family and an emphasis on how different generations spent their leisure time. In the first episode, the Ashby Hawkins ditched their smartphones and PlayStations for the mangles and Brasso of the make-do-and-mend Fifties. It was great fun, but so similar to its predecessor, I felt a bit like I’d gone back in time to 2015.

Drunk History

If ever there was a format devised in the pub, it’s Drunk History, in which comedians re-tell famous historical events while… well, you get the idea. This week, worse-for-wear comics Tom Crane and Tom Davis told the stories of Sir Walter Raleigh and Robin Hood, acted out by a surprisingly starry cast including Jack Whitehall, Michelle Keegan and Baby Spice.

There’s only one **teensy** flaw in this idea – which is that drunk people are only funny if you’re also drunk yourself. Better make mine a double.

Published in Waitrose Weekend, February 4, 2016

(c) Waitrose Weekend