Totally Pointless. The Youtubers. Sunday Times Magazine feature


Alfie and Joe are messing around. They’ve taken a stack of tin cans, removed the labels, and now they’re daring each other to eat the unknown contents at random by picking numbers out of a bowl. Potential dishes include custard, tuna, mushrooms, raspberry pudding and cat food. According to the rules of the challenge, if they can’t brave eating it, they have to apply the contents to their face. They’ve got a grey, plastic bucket ready, just in case.

Alfie goes first, peeling open a can of pilchards that smells so bad Joe starts to gag. Joe is next, opening the cake can, which he eats so smugly he spills a splodge down his T-shirt. Next, Alfie gets tuna, and an ecstatic Joe does a little dance, pulling off his shirt. Joe gets custard, then fruit salad. He jumps around, tauntingly singing “meow, meow”, until Alfie opens the last can.

NO! It’s the cat food. “Urgh! It’s got jelly in it!” Alfie looks as though he’s going to be sick. Joe gets a Sainsbury’s carrier bag ready. Alfie bites, goes red-faced, tries to chew, but instead half-vomits the cat mush into the bag. “What am I doing with my life?” he squawks. Good question. Still, the eight-minute video has, at the time of writing, been watched 3.7m times.

If you haven’t heard of Alfie Deyes, then you are old. Simple. His core fans are aged 13 to 17. He has assumed a position in modern youth culture previously held by members of boy bands and young Hollywood heart-throbs. Except, unlike them, he can’t sing or act. Unlike them, too, most parents don’t have a clue who he is; probably because we live in an era where kids don’t watch TV in the living room, but sit in their bedrooms on their iPads. And so they found Alfie, an unthreateningly good-looking 21-year-old from Brighton, who posts silly videos on YouTube, and he has become a celebrity to them.



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