It was a single tweet that got my attention.
positively the smartest, most inventive body of work on YouTube. just brilliant. I truly mean that – start on day 1 https://t.co/BTR2t1cRCV
— Casey Neistat (@CaseyNeistat) December 1, 2015
Casey is the creator of many viral YouTube hits and has more than one million subscribers to his channel. It’s a significant plug. I clicked on the link and found myself looking at this face.
I’d never seen him before and it was not until I was a few videos into the Vlogvember series that I realised the awkwardly-spoken Adrian Bliss was delivering some good old fashioned satire on the contemporary phenomenon of vlogging, or video blogging.
How did I know this? Well there were a few clues.
The skating scenes – despite being performed on vloggers’ board-of-choice, the Penny skateboard – just didn’t look right.
When vlogging heavyweights Casey Neistat and Ben Brown ride the Penny boards it looks different for some reason.
There were other things too. For instance, he always ended his vlogs with his mantra: “Keep on believing. Make all the things. Have fun during the day.” All three of those deliciously ambiguous phrases contain key buzz words that nod to faith, creation and joy without really saying anything at all.
And, sometimes rookies make the error of exporting their videos without editing the default text that is displayed when one creates a new text field. But, every single time?
There was also the issue of his repeated requests for viewers to leave a “comment in the description” when the greenest of YouTubers would know that only the account holder has access to the description field.
He also asked viewers to “thumbscribe” and continuously teased about a big announcement he was going to make at some ill-defined point in the future.
Casey Neistat has a section in his vlogs called “Mail Time” where he opens the piles of gifts that his devoted fans send him on a daily basis. Adrian Bliss, on the other hand, had “Post O’Clock”.
True to the art of parody, Adrian Bliss had scrutinised his subject with a forensic eye. It was no coincidence that he was soon treating thumbscribers to vision of him expertly navigating the streets of London on a “hoverboard”.
He jumped on every vlogging bandwagon that exists. He became a vegan, or as he explained, somebody who doesn’t “eat meat or yoghurt and [is] better than you.” He tried pulling some pranks, did a “collab” with one of his vlogging heroes and even started dating a fellow YouTuber.
He also introduced episodic content like “Walking with Wednesday” and “Talking on Thursday” and tried his hand at YouTube staples like “Draw my life“.
Although Adrian’s production skills began to improve as the end of Vlogvember neared, a “media offline” slide would creep into clips from time to time and the background music still featured the audio stamp designed to stop people like him from stealing the tunes.
I was only ever planning on watching a couple of these clips. But, I was now hooked. He was starting to get noticed by people at Google. Would he ever make this big announcement he kept promising? And whatever happened to his silent roommate who suddenly took off to France?
The final episode came on Vlogvember 30 and it mostly answered my questions and brought about some degree of closure.
I enjoyed this series, not so much for its narrative thread, but more for the concept. You see, I’ve always enjoyed the art of mockumentary and I feel as if it is a severely under-appreciated as an art form. Review with Myles Barlow was some of the best television comedy I’ve seen in my life and I can’t understand why it didn’t attract more mainstream attention. I have personally tried my hand at the craft in the form of a fictional blog that outlined the misadventures of Edward Flinders, an enterprising 10-year-old boy who, determined to become a journalist, started his own news empire that put the events that occurred in his street under the microscope. For almost three months I’d put in a new entry every single day – it was a serious commitment on top of my two jobs, family and volunteering responsibilities.
In any case, Adrian’s Vlogvember series is definitely worth a watch, especially if you’re into parody or vlogging. At the time of writing each episode has each approximately ticked over 20,000 views, I daresay that number will soon increase sharply.
I’ve laid out the videos chronologically below to make it easy for you to watch them in the right order.