Dressed by YouTube

It has been vintage year for the viral video, cyberspace’s modern take on You’ve Been Framed. With so many hits wrapping themselves around the internet like so many fashionably knotted scarves, it’s easy to forget that many web video phenomena live mayfly existences. From auto-tuned news to Russian easy listening, it’s all being going on down YouTube way…

One fantastic example doing the rounds at the moment tweeks the memory of people of a certain age who recall both Nathan Barley and the Charlie Brooker penned TVGoHome listings for fictional sit-com Cunt, which accurately predicted the direction of youthful fashion trends; however hard people try to look different, eventually looks converge into parades of the identical.

By way of social commentary far more important than it first seems, the video below not only rehabilitates use of the word “Dickhead” as a credible swearword but strikes at the Hoxton look raging across the country with sharp satire. The synth-pop sideswipe is more than a mere fun song to pass the time, sealing in time as it does evidence of fashion’s continued ability to magnetise enough people towards a given look and style almost without trying. Far from being a negative judgement on those individuals within the video – although its end does strike at particular examples outside the main stereotype – my take on “Dickhead” is it having more comment on the fashion ‘industry’. Is one question to take from this video why so many more blokes feature than women? Are these lads of the 90s forced – or being forced – to maintain a youthful image?

Being a man of a certain age does not exclude me from some of the choices available on the High Street. I do question if it’s worth stepping outside looking like an Auton after an all-night orgy at Topman. New takes on the t-shirt-and-jeans combo are timeless; I cannot fathom the thinking behind lenseless specs unless such choices are so layered in self-referential irony as to be unfathomable to everyone but the wearer. Those in the industry may point out the Catch-22 situation in which they operate – distinctive names on our High Streets need to make a profit, which comes from selling what is popular, just not necessarily what is distinct.

In addition to ridiculing the ‘ubiquitous individuality’, “Dickhead” happens to be a damn fine tune, a rare treat indeed. While many attempts at viral vids and memes die before they make it onto your average News Feed. For being relevant, sharp and funny, “Dickhead” deserves its status as an internet classic. Social scientists should be referencing this just as teenagers appear to be referencing testcards….

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