This is something I’ve been wanting to write about for a while, but it feels particularly relevant right now, on the eve of Playlist Live and amongst other relevant discussions happening currently amongst specific circles of the YouTube community.
I don’t really like going to gatherings and the first thing I want to clarify is that not going to gatherings has nothing to do with not being grateful for the people that watch my videos and support my work, because I am. In fact, I used to go to gatherings ever since I first started making videos back in 2007, but back then, everyone was an equal: everyone who was at a gathering was simultaneously a YouTube viewer AND a YouTube creator. Everyone had a camera. They didn’t want to take a picture, they wanted to film a collab. It was an exciting and creative atmosphere with all kinds of people from all kinds of places. And nowadays I find that’s not the case.
My recent experience of gatherings has been that there are two groups of people who go: people who make videos and people who watch videos. Or to put it another way, people who make videos and people who want to meet the people who make videos. In many cases - not all, but many - the second group have a sense of fandom toward the first group. I don’t think this is conducive to a thriving community atmosphere when it’s placed in a live setting, and without needing to name any names, there have been various examples in our community already of YouTube users taking advantage of such an atmosphere.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t be a fan of stuff. But I think treating certain people like they’re better than us, or better than others, has - to my knowledge - never ended well. I think it does several things, including inflating the ego of those being treated better, and deflating the aspirations of those who might want to make videos, and might be very good at it, but don’t because they feel like they don’t have the right charisma/talent/charm/looks/attitude that their favourite vlogger has. Or, the opposite can also be true; it’ll encourage people to get into vlogging for the wrong reasons, because they want to lap up the attention we’ll inevitably give them, which I don’t think is particularly good for our little corner of the internet either.
This is why I don’t go to gatherings. By and large, I think they are part of the exacerbation of a long-standing problem with our community and I feel a little irresponsible attending on that basis. This is not to say I have any judgment for people that want to go to gatherings. Many of my dearest friends go and I know they have a great time, and I do know people (like Carrie and Charlie) who go for entirely the right reasons and don’t partake in any of the more self-indulgent aspects of those events. In short, I just wish everyone - on all sides, whether it be YouTube vloggers, viewers, event organisers, parents or anyone else - would be a little more aware that we are all just people. By all means, we all have the right to respect and value and even idolise the people we find entertaining or inspirational, and we have every right to enjoy and appreciate that respect when it comes our way, but nobody should forget that, first and foremost, we are all just people, because if either side forgets that, things get messy.
cloudywithachanceofawesome, asked a question:
Nah, we’ve both found our own musical niches and I think we’re pretty happy doing what we’re both doing. Also he used to routinely slag off my solo work on social media, so, no, can’t see it happening.
amoosewalksintoabar, asked a question:
We still talk. We’re still friends :p
andheleadstheworldthroughlight, asked a question:
I highly doubt it - I’m much more of a producer and don’t really like the attention, I’m much happier spending ages crafting music in the studio and sharing that with you. I don’t really go to gigs, either; there’s not much appeal there for me either way. Plus I don’t have to leave the house.
xniih, asked a question:Hi Alex, I was wondering how you started out as a Youtuber? I just recently started my own Youtube channel, but I'm constantly in doubt about what content would be interesting to watch, and not just fun for me to make. So, if you remember, I'm very curious about what video that made you such a popular Youtuber :) Much love from Denmark! xx
Well I was already making videos. I started making them before YouTube even existed. So I wasn’t worried about what people wanted to watch; I just made stuff as and when I wanted to and they sat on my hard drive doing nothing. I only put them on YouTube because I thought people might be interested. (That’s all I do now, to be honest.)
animatorpete, asked a question:
Not in the slightest, because I’ve already accepted and know for a fact that they definitely will!
ignite-the-spark, asked a question:
ALL THE FUCKING TIME. Mainly by you lot, who have already hedged me as a ‘YouTuber’ despite that being the least important of all the things that I do.
My current worry is that, because my first book is non-fiction, it’ll be much harder for me to write fiction. That said, it’s not going to stop me. I’m just going to worry all the way there. xD
girlsaregettingbackrubs, asked a question:
my-name-is-josh, asked a question:alright alex, i think its great that you've had a good start to the year and i hope the book is a success too (i will be buying it when it goes on sale). More a question about sopio cards, how/what company did you use to make the cards into proper trading cards? Very intrigued. Cheers, and good luck in 2014!
Thanks! :) The company is called Cartamundi and they manufacture pretty much any playing cards you care to name (including Magic: The Gathering, when it first started).
presentandaccountedfor, asked a question:Hey Alex, I just spent a term studying in London, and the least of all my questions/observations about the tube is: what the hell is up with the punctuation (apostrophes) in St. James's Park, Barons Court, and Earl's Court? Thought I'd put it out there. Personally I'm excited for your book- unexpected nonfiction topics are always great. Happy New Year and good luck (re)writing!
Ha - there isn’t any consistency and there’s actually no reason for it. You’re right in saying Barons Court station has no apostrophe but Earl’s Court station does; the weirder thing is that Earls Court as a place doesn’t have an apostrophe, that’s just a quirk of the tube stop! This is all in the book :)
laurenadore, asked a question:
Jonny Eveson designed all the covers for the book - you can see the intended first chapter cover in one of my recent videos (I can’t remember which). Now it’ll just be the one, unified, cover, I’m gonna make my case to Ebury and hope they stick with it :)
zukoandthehoneys, asked a question:Hey Alex, you've always been my main inspiration for music. I love music so much, I want a career in it, and if I could make an album with half the creativity and talent of Epigrams and Interludes I could die happy. Lately I've had a massive knock in confidence because my parents basically believe that if you're not good enough now, it's too late to try. I'm only 17. They said I'll never make it. I know they're wrong, but for the life of me I can't even touch my guitar. What would you do?
Thank you very much :D I mean if it was me, I’d say ‘fuck it’ and do it anyway. My first two albums - though they have their moments - are vastly inferior to Epigrams (in my opinion). I was still learning and I put Epigrams out just before my 24th birthday. I wrote a song several months ago which I think is the best I’ve ever written, and that’s after I put all of Epigrams out. So I don’t really agree that it’s too late to try, because in my experience, I never really stop.
cosmicscale, asked a question:
I don’t know yet. I’d still like to read it myself (I think it’d be silly if it was anyone other than me), but that’s another of those things I’ll need to clarify for certain.
theshortmermaid, asked a question:Mr Day, would you ever consider continuing your idea of a book where the girl is the only girl in the world without superpowers? I loved that idea, only you could think of that of course. Also, I hope one day you do get to show Taylor Swift around London as you so wished a few years back; the video that would come out of that.. that video alone would get you another million subscribers! You deserve anything you wish for; I can't wait to see how you'll end up in 10 years. It's gonna be good. <3<3
Oh, that was Calamity! It was in a world where everyone had a superpower, but this girl (called Calamity) discovers that her powers are constantly changing. The best home for that idea, in my opinion, is a comic book series, but having no connections with the comic book industry or any knowledge of how to write comics or draw, I’d definitely need a lot of outside help to get that off the ground. Still, if the idea’s still there in several years and I wanna devote some time to it, I could see it being a book or a TV series. (Probably more likely book, since I’d be worried a series would never be done justice on a UK television budget.)