YouTube: The Democratisation of Celebrity

Before 2005 the celebrity was an allusive beast with the formula behind their success irretrievable for the average mortal. Unbeknownst to us, however, YouTube’s launch in the early two-thousands was going to change this. Ella Bending explores whether it needed to be changed at all.

The roaring twenties was a time of excess, of consumerism, and of a blossoming Hollywood. For the first time people were being remembered, not as the anonymous faces of the silver screen, but as their own brand. From these cataclysmic events the modern celebrity, with preened and glossy feathers, emerged; initially from that same distant screen, but not too much later from the familiar faces of our own personal devices. Simultaneously my formative teenage years were just beginning and my concept of what it meant to be a celebrity was evolving from being synonymous with years of gruelling, poorly paid jobs before ‘the big break’, to being as simple as turning on a webcam. This feeling was reciprocated by the rest of my generation too as the advantages of watching a ‘real’ person on YouTube created a disconnection from all that traditional media had to offer as well as injecting some of that all important teenage rebellion. As the years have continued speeding forward and my generation have been replaced with another, however, all that we were escaping from in the traditional media appears to have encroached upon the prelapsarian YouTube of my memories. Where there was once a webcam balanced on a pile of books, there is now a Canon camera and HD lighting; in the space which sat the unpopular spotty teenager there sits the cool kid, a tanned stereotype from every American movie; where there was once freedom of speech, there is now sponsorships and advertising deals.

Somehow, YouTube’s simple concept and design had revolutionised the way that we look at our computers, metamorphosing them from where work can be done, to where money can be made. Rather than the YouTuber being someone creating content alongside a traditional career, the successful one percent can be well paid enough by their online work alone to give up all other work entirely, meaning that the YouTube-sphere has become more and more saturated with people living the lives of rockstars, selling out stadiums, and writing books. So many books. What does that mean for people like me? The role models who once lived lives like mine have become just as separated from us as the silver screen stars of the 1920s, instead of inviting us to share their lives with us it seems as if we are being encouraged to live voyeuristically through them and rapidly young people are replacing their aspirations to be doctors, film stars, football players, and musicians with the simple compound, ‘YouTuber’. Because who wouldn’t want a life in which sitting in your bedroom can earn you millions?

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The Multi-Millionaires of Tomorrow

Photo by Jade Chance

Photo by Jade Chance

I met up with Tom Garrett who, when eighteen, won the award for Best Short Documentary at the 2015 Southhampton International Film Festival; Matt England who began an online video production business at the age of seventeen; and with Jade Chance, an aspiring photographer with an extensive professional portfolio and a large online following, and discussed where their entrepreneurial drive came from, how they achieved what they have, and what their goals are for the future. Here’s what they said.  Continue reading

Why ‘Vegan’ is Not a Dirty Word

Recently I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos on Veganism. Whether this is procrastination from my looming examination dates or not (it totally is) I really feel as if I have entered some kind of renaissance period in my life in finally realising that, oh sh**, animals are exploited so that people can make money. Continue reading


“Welcome to our lives! We are the SACCONEJOLYs Irish vloggers living in London, we upload videos of our life together everyday!”

Meet Anna Saccone and Jonathan Joly, a married couple (Saccone-Joly) with two beautiful children – Emilia and Eduardo. Oh and their 6 Maltese dogs, Albi, Sina, Theo, Bianca, Nivea, Nuvola.

They are an irish family who vlog pretty much everything about their lives, including the birth of their puppies and their children. Jonathan was born in Dublin, Ireland and Anna was born in Baltimore, United States. They married each other in 2011 and have since become a youtube phenomenon duo.

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Why Zayn’s ‘PILLOWTALK’ is possibly the worst thing I have ever heard

Foolishly, I was willing to give the newly solo artist ‘Zayn’ (née Zayn Malik of preteen heart throbs One Direction) a chance. I had assumed that as he stated himself his own disdain of the ‘pop’ genre and his desperation to escape the ironclad fists of Simon Cowell, he was going to create something new, something different, something meaningful. My ideas were only amplified by the amateurish ‘Microsoft Paint’-esque style of his EP cover, suggesting perhaps that, in a fit of antiestablishment fury, Malik had fired his production team and done the ‘design work’ by hand. Continue reading

Should I Just Watch The Highly Acclaimed West End Production? The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, adapted by Simon Stephens

Which is more satisfying, to have the culturally stimulating experience of sitting in the architecturally and historically embellished Gielgud Theatre? Or to pick up a book and have the intellectually invigorating experience of being invited into a mind very different to one’s own?  Of course, these are not the only contributors to making a decision as the price of a book tends to be around £7.99 and West End ticket prices tend to be, well, not that.



If you haven’t had the opportunity to read the book or watch the play, the story encapsulates the inner struggles of Christopher, a boy of fifteen with Asperger’s Syndrome, as he comes to terms with the murder of his neighbour’s dog and decides to go against everything his body tells him to in order to become a ‘Detective’ and discover who killed Wellington. Despite the simplicity of the book’s basic plot, the complexity through which Mark Haddon describes the mind of a child with Asperger’s makes it undeniable that any theatrical interpretation deserves recognition, with this being no exception. Continue reading

I have now been here for an indeterminate number of weeks and these are some views that I may or may not hold.

First of all, I bet you’re all dying to know whether you got the puzzle right, dear readers. Well, the answer was “change at Battersby for Hartlepool, and then you have to walk.”

To anybody who guessed “Thirty trombones, two tambourines and a flute”, you probably failed to take account of the Winter 2015 timetable change. Good try, though.

Now then, to business. The more astute amongst you may well have noticed the recent trend of buses being more and more late with every passing week. This is not, as the less astute amongst you may believe, an optical illusion, but a real, measurable phenomenon.

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I have not been here for four weeks and I think you can do the maths from now on.

Well, that was Christmas, for the 2015th time since the beginning of history. Come on, think about it, you can’t have minus years, that would be dumb.

The more astute amongst you may interpret the above statement as proof that the americanization of society (and spelling) has finally got to me and I have become one of the mindless sheep that will one day be nothing but conscripted cannon fodder in the great never-ending war for oil. Or for freedom of religion, if you’re squeamish.

This isn’t true, of course. But it could have been.

It does, however, bring me nicely to my central question of the week. The PETA people go around chanting “Fur is murder!” and “Down with meat!” and “Linda McCartney did nothing wrong!” Living as I do in the heart of rural England, it occurred to me to wonder…if fur is murder, what about sheepskin? You never hear any protests about that. There’s not even any stigma attached to wearing sheepskin coats like there is with fur coats. Awful confusing, if you ask me.

Now for the puzzle corner. After an entire month of cogitation, you will no doubt have arrived at the correct answer – “The Battle of Waterloo”. In fact, you couldn’t have escaped it if you wanted to.

Wah-oh-wah-oh-wah-Waterloo, knowing my fate is to be with you.

That is all, except for next week’s puzzler, “What gets wetter, the more it rains?” The answer may surprise you.

Now go outside and do something useful. It’s too late for me.