VICE’s attempt to call that viral London pub culture TikTok art is giving high-key millennial cringe

By Abby Amoakuh

Published Nov 3, 2023 at 09:35 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

According to VICE, it’s life imitating art. Or, as some philosophers would call it, the anti-mimesis thesis. A comment on the aestheticisation of pub culture and what happens when our perceptions of life are changed by the media we consume daily. According to netizens however, the video below is one of the most cringeworthy clips of 2023, showcasing the romanticisation of working-class activities by influencers who only started drinking Guinness when it became ‘cool’. According to content creator and fashion enthusiast Max Lepage-Keefe, who posted the clip onto TikTok and spoke to SCREENSHOT, it’s a clear case of netizens judging and criticising anything they can get their hands on. “No matter what you wear, people are going to have an opinion and judge you. You can’t please everyone,” he told us.

@vice

it's art, you hate it, but it's unintentionally art! #ukpubs #britishtiktok #britishpubs #soho #london

♬ original sound - VICE

It all started when Lepage-Keefe uploaded a video of himself and a couple of his mates outside of the London pub The Blue Posts, a known go-to spot for trendy individuals. In the video, the group of men is seen laughing, chit-chatting and acting unaware of the phone camera that is filming their every move. Shortly after it was shared on TikTok, the clip went viral and incited a heated online debate about the fact that these men were filming themselves doing something fairly normal for a couple of British lads.

“Boys I’m just gonna sit my phone down yeah, is that alright?” one user commented. “Back turned to two of them so you can always stay in view,” another one added. “Know what would be insane? If we recorded this,” someone else stated. “I love the cosplay guys,” was another joke repeated throughout the comment section.

Most of the comments echo the sentiment that we are living in late-stage capitalism. There is no difference between work and play or work and the private anymore, as shown by the emergence of influencers who commodify the personal aspects of their lives. Everything is monetisable, even a casual trip to the pub.

@

♬ -

Other netizens just seemed to be appalled by the fact that rich people seem to love cosplaying as the working class. This is something the D’Amelios have been accused of, as well as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, the Biebers, and even Lana Del Rey. Working-class life is often treated as an aesthetic that can be appropriated by the ones who do not have to live in it every day.

To this, Lepage-Keefe replied: “I’m literally like every other normal person. I work two jobs at the moment, including temp work and working over the Christmas period. In that sense, I wish I had a trust fund so that I didn’t have to f*cking work essentially.”

 

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A post shared by Litty Lengy. (@socks_house_meeting)

In other words, these guys are normal British boys, doing what British boys do: having a drink at the pub and (sometimes) attempting to be the main character. Therefore, in my humble opinion, it’s just not that deep. Whatever point VICE tried to prove in its video, even Lepage-Keefe himself said he struggled to get it. Kudos for the creativity though.

This video is nothing more than a reflection of internet culture and what happens when a group of content creators takes their phone to the pub. If the UK can be proud of anything, it’s pub culture. I mean, it’s certainly not a stable and reliable government, that’s for sure. And, if the internet is known for anything, it’s finding the extraordinary in something fairly ordinary.

Everything can be a debate online. Whether it be the colour of a dress, or whether a couple of content creators in front of a pub is a costume or art. There are a lot of things to get riled up about at the moment, but maybe “Pints, chit chat and good people x” shouldn’t be one of them.

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