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 no goal: THE NEW BIGGEST RIVALRY
 39
 @nhl ref lo
 89
 IN THE NH
The Sharks had 3 straight goals waived off, immediately followed by a clear no-goal allowed against them. Never lucky @sanjosesharks

The Sharks had 3 straight goals waived off, immediately followed by a clear no-goal allowed against them. Never lucky @sanjosesharks

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no goal: DAN AND PHIL Seen and nerd MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR Above: YouTubers Dan Howell (left) and Phil Lester can now sell out arenas like rock stars DAN AND PHIL A geeky pair of YouTube bloggers have topped the autumn bestseller list with their debut book. Eight million teens are addicted to their channels. Josh Glancy meets the poster boys of the great British vlogger boom THE SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINE 41 DAN AND PHIL THE WHO? Dan and Phil - their in-jokes and "like" patois are all but impenetrable to anyone over the age of 25 here is an air of hushed excitement outside when I arrive at the arena an hour before the evening in October. And the two twentysomething British men are not rock stars, but gawky YouTube bloggers called Dan Howell and Phil Lester. and Phil have the passion of One Directioners or Beliebers (fans of Justin Bieber), but the relationship is not just one of distant obsession. Dan and Phil interact with their fans, tweet them, answer their questions and take on their challenges. For many of their followers, Dan and Phil play the role of big brother, agony aunt, newspaper columnist, comedian and sex icon combined. show begins. Groups of young teenage girls mingle nervously, cans of energy drink in one hand, iPhones glued to the other. Blue jeans and blue hair abound. Unless you are an attentive parent of a web-obsessed teenager or under 25, you are unlikely to have heard of Dan and Phil, whose online personas are Danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil. But in internet-land they are titans. Between them, they have more than 4m Twitter followers and 8m subscribers to their YouTube channels from as far afield as the USA, the Philippines and Indonesia. The pair have separate channels but also collaborate regularly. The figures don't do justice to their almost cult-like influence. Followers of Dan A voice calls from inside and the girls snap into line, trooping at speed into a VIP holding area, where free Haribo and mineral water are provided. Eventually, two young men walk in and the Toom erupts with screaming, crying, a flood of photos. "Oh, my God, you exist in real life!" one fan shouts. The girls are completely overwhelmed, yelping in excitement. The organiser tells me that fainting is a possibility, and assistants are on hand to They have been around for a few years now. Along with the likes of Alfie Deyes and Zoella they were at the heart of what they call the "great British vlogger boom" of 2013, when several vloggers went from having hundreds of thousands of followers to millions in a matter of months. But until recently, most members of the adult world, who use the internet for ordering groceries and checking the news, have continued to ignore them. Now, though, they are becoming impossible to dismiss. Last month they released a book, The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire, a glimpse into their online world and how it was created. Everyone in publishing had expected Bill Bryson's latest book to top the autumn bestseller list, > "We are nerds. We are losers. People like the fact that somebody like them has the audacity to put calm them down if necessary. This, I imagine, is what it felt like to De the Beatles in 1965, or to be One Direction today: world-famous megastars attracting nordes of feverish young women every time they land in New York or Los Angeles. Except this is not Hollywood, but the Plymouth Pavilions on a grey Tuesday themselves out there" THE SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINEβ€’ 43 it was immediately beaten into second place by the "amazing" book. Their debut sold almost 50,000 copies in its first fortnight. DAN AND PHIL en and Phil are outperforming books by Tom Jones, Sue Perkins and Steven Gerrard. Vlogger books are the new frontier in publishing. Last year, despite controversy over whether she actually wrote it. 7oella's debut, Girl Online, became the fastest-selling debut novel since records began, shifting 78,109 copies in just one reek. The 25-year-old fashion blogger from Wiltshire sold as if she were JK Rowling. Unsurprisingly, all the publishing houses are eager for a piece of this new alchemy. The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire doesn't fit a conventional book format. It is partly the story of Dan and Phil and partly trivia about their lives, along with silly drawings, games, emoji interviews and selfie reels. The Catcher in the Rye it is not, but intelligent children are devouring it nonetheless. To accompany the book they have developed a stand-up show and are touring the country, filling theatres and arenas from Belfast to Brighton. The unlikely princes of new media are taking old media by storm. This is what has brought me to Plymouth, with a number of questions I want answered. Who are these strange internet geeks who are taking over the real world? And how on earth do they do it? WILD AT HEART "In real life we're likely to be watching Come Dine with Me" They brush off my question about what it feels like to be unlikely sex idols by claiming that their fans only fancy them "ironically" T he Dan and Phil phenomenon is undeniably huge, but as I arrive in Plymouth I'm still slightly baffled as to what their appeal actually is. I watched several of their videos ahead of the show. They are quirky and eloquent, a paean to internet wackiness, but they also come across as fairly aimless, full of creativity without direction and smile around them, but it is difficult to believe we are all about the same age. Spending most of the past decade on YouTube has given the internet generation would stop reading printed books were wrong. "This book appeals to all sorts," says Zach, 16, one of only two boys amid a sea of girls. "There are a lot of people I know who them a Peter Pan-like quality; they come across as a pair of overgrown teenagers. "Watching Dan and Phil makes me laugh, it makes me happy," says Shelby, a 16-year-old with electric-blue hair and a pierced septum. "They have a unique connection with their audience. They act humour without any depth. A typical video might see the pair attempt to apply make-up to one another's faces while wearing a blindfold. They often conduct "seven-second challenges", submitted by fans, such as "name three things you wouldn't have tattooed on your body" or "spell Christmas backwards", which really casual with you, like you're all part of they then have seven seconds to complete. At the show, I asked some of the girls what it is they like so much about their idols. The most common response was that they are dorky everymen with whom teenagers can genuinely identify. They seem to provide an online comfort blanket, a refuge from the travails of adolescence. I joined Dan and Phil backstage for a while and found them unthreatening, clean- cut, lovable and slightly irritating. Their clothes are Topman, their hairstyles both fiercely swept Bieber-esque fringes. Their humour is also similar: a fusion of millennial their own special technique for how to paint party: Smartie Artie meets Michael Mclntyre kookiness, "like" patois and David Brentian irony. They work well together, generating a bouncy positivity that makes it hard not to would never ever read a book in their life who have bought this. They've watched the YouTube videos so they know what to expect." Zach is in the long queue to meet Dan and Phil, which involves a hug with the pair, a quick selfie and then a furious session of tweeting, Instagramming and WhatsApping the picture to jealous friends. It's only when I watch the show itself that I understand quite what is going on here. The entire thing is full of in-jokes from their vlogs. Phil sits on a giant model lion, Dan on a llama. The crowd emits an ear- splitting shriek– apparently Dan has a thing for llamas. Then they start acting out seven-second challenges. I'm the same age as Phil, 28, but I have never felt more the same internet family." Shelby is part of the sprawling, multi-platform Dan and Phil online community. She has a special Twitter account that she uses to discuss their work with virtual fans all over the country. "I love Dan and Phil because I can relate to them," says Abby, a 14-year-old fan. β€œI just like watching them so much. They're my favourite YouTubers because they are more personal, you can relate to them more." Like many of the girls present, Abby has cat whiskers painted on her face. This is a Dan and Phil trademark - they demonstrate appallingly middle-aged. The whole event has the feel of a large children's birthday What I quickly realise is that boring adults aren't meant to get it. Indeed, the fact they don't is part of the appeal. In the > them in one of their videos. Almost everyone is clutching a copy of Dan and Phil's book, proof that those who thought THE SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINEβ€’ 45 same way that pop music confounded the eardrums of mid-20th-century parents, fans of Dan and Phil like the fact that this is their DAN AND PHIL world and the rest of us don't understand. meet Dan and Phil properly the next day at the offices of their publisher. They are 24 and 28 respectively, but when Dan describes my use of a pen to take notes as "endearing", it feels like ve are from different generations. Texplain my struggle to understand what it is they actually do on YouTube. "There is a whole fanbase out there that is specifically passionate about me and Phil and what we stand for" Dan smiles knowingly. β€œNobody specifically passionate about me and Phil and what we stand for," he says. understands what YouTube is vet. especially in the British media and public," represent the people who aren't cool," says Dan. "We are nerds. We are losers. People They are understandably coy about their like the fact that someone like them has the ays. "The grandma that has Facebook cees YouTube as this place where there are ints of cat videos. But really it's a Wild West frontier of independent creativity. For the frst time in the world, you don't have commissioning editors and channels and budgets. People are just independently doing whatever they want." Dan Howell, a Berkshire native, is the pin-up of the duo and turns up in a tight- itting black leather jacket and black skinny jeans. Phil Lester is older, a β€œYouTube dinosaur". He started on the website in the far-distant days of 2006 and was already a regular vlogger when Dan messaged him five years ago to ask for help with his own video ambitions. Both were living in Manchester at the time: Phil with his parents, having just finished a master's in video postproduction, and Dan in his first year studying law at Manchester University. "I wasn't making videos to get an audience," says Phil. "I just saw it was a cool thing that other people were doing. I was just going to talk about my day and whack it on there. It took a year to get 100 subscribers." "Everybody who is at a big place these days has been growing their channel for years," says Dan, who describes his early YouTubing as a "creative hobby with no goal in sight", and claims success came to him pretty much by accident. Things moved faster once the pair began collaborating regularly. Dan dropped out of university and the pair gave themselves a year to see if they could make a living out of YouTube. In 2013 Radio 1 brought them in to appeal to younger listeners and they quickly found themselves reporting from the Brit Awards - but YouTube has remained their main focus until the recent book and tour. "I like the book because it's a physical copy of everything we've done on YouTube," says Phil. "If we die in a meteor strike in 50 years, it will still exist." Phil may have started off as the master earnings, but it's clear they haven't looked back from their decision to try to make a living off YouTube. Estimates put Dan's wealth at Β£2m. Their main source of YouTube income is simply from the advertising on their videos – but sometimes they also produce sponsored content. This got them in trouble with the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) recently, when it was decided they hadn't made it clear to viewers that an Oreo audacity to put themselves out there. We spend all our time inside reading Harry Potter and playing video games. We're the faces of the losers at school. That's why Dan and Phil are different to other people, who look perfect, who are mainstream, with the perfect teeth and the perfect hair." They may share much of their lives with millions of followers, but the rest is strictly cordoned off. They live together in a flat in London, but won't say where. They brush off my question about what it feels like to be unlikely sex idols by claiming that their fans only fancy them "ironically". I ask Dan what biscuit-licking competition was paid for by the brand. The ads were banned. Dan and Phil's friendliness recedes for a moment when I bring it up. "Oh, for God's sake." savs Dan. β€œWas there a controversy? It was another element of misunderstanding, I think." β€œThere was no controversy because there were no guidelines in place," says Phil. "This was just the ASA deciding what the rules should be. Everyone was, like, "Great, now we know what to do." "What we're annoyed by is that people think there was an incident, but the story was that nobody did anything wrong," adds Dan. "The ASA were deciding what the rules are, which is a good and necessary thing." Has the bruising episode put them off doing sponsored content? "I'm in the quite lucky position where I don't have to do a lot of sponsored content to support myself," says Dan. "I can take an opportunity if, for whatever reason, I want to. But there are he thinks about the persistent rumours that he is gay. He references the actor Tom Hardy's plea for privacy over the same issue. "We don't talk about our private lives in any way," he says. β€œCreatively, we want to be apart from the people who are reality stars. We don't want to be some Kardashian." "In real life, we are more likely to be playing video games or watching Come Dine with Me than going to nightclubs, and they [the fans] know that," adds Phil. The pair are enjoying their tour, not least because they "don't usually spend much time outdoors". Next up they plan to take it to Rio, Manila, Jakarta and America, where their biggest fanbase resides. But what does the future look like? Aren't they getting a bit old for larking about on YouTube? I find it hard to believe that these intelligent grown men aren't starting to find it odd playing entertainer to young teenage children. "Never underestimate the intelligence of a 12-year-old," says Dan, who claims that he doesn't dumb down his content for younger followers. "I'm having such a good time right now," says Phil. "The exciting thing is, no one knows what the future [for YouTubers] is going to be. We're the first ones, we're like the test subjects, to see what happens." "Everything is brand new," adds Dan. "Are the YouTubers going to jump on to TV? Is TV going to implode into nothingness? creators out there who literally survive off sponsored content. So I think it's necessary." YouTube is making them rich, but what do they say to people who find their work entertaining, but ultimately a bit pointless? "It's just wrong," says Dan. "It's completely wrong. It's understandable, people haven't had that much exposure to YouTube. The reason people like me is because I open up about my opinion and my thoughts on everything, from existentialism to whether or not it's right to keep hamsters in cages." "Even in our videos, we have fun in some, but others have advice and messages," Literally, nobody knows. We're in a great position, so we are going with the flow. Confidently." I The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire (Ebury Press Β£16.99) is out now. To buy it for Β£14.99, inc p&p, call 0845 271 2135 or visit thesundaytimes.co.uk/bookshop and Dan the apprentice, but in interviews, at says Phil. "A lot of it is reflecting what life is least, it appears that Dan is in charge as he ends up fielding almost every question, brimming with an almost arrogant ebullience about their achievements. "There is a whole fanbase out there that is like in school, or when starting university. That kind of thing, coming from someone who has experienced it, can help people." I wonder what their own explanation is for their seemingly insatiable appeal? "We THE SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINEβ€’ 47 phillesteronabun: flying-panda-cat: I paid Β£2.50 for the Sunday times, took out the magazine and binned the rest πŸ˜‚ I’m sorry you paid to listen to a shitty interviewer being rude af
 no goal: DAN AND PHIL
 Seen
 and nerd
 MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
 Above: YouTubers Dan Howell (left)
 and Phil Lester can now sell out arenas
 like rock stars

 DAN AND PHIL
 A geeky pair of YouTube bloggers have topped
 the autumn bestseller list with their debut
 book. Eight million teens are addicted to their
 channels. Josh Glancy meets the poster boys
 of the great British vlogger boom
 THE SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINE 41

 DAN AND PHIL
 THE WHO? Dan and Phil - their in-jokes and "like" patois are all but impenetrable to anyone over the age of 25
 here is an air of hushed
 excitement outside when I arrive
 at the arena an hour before the
 evening in October. And the two
 twentysomething British men are not rock
 stars, but gawky YouTube bloggers called
 Dan Howell and Phil Lester.
 and Phil have the passion of One Directioners
 or Beliebers (fans of Justin Bieber), but the
 relationship is not just one of distant
 obsession. Dan and Phil interact with their
 fans, tweet them, answer their questions and
 take on their challenges. For many of their
 followers, Dan and Phil play the role of big
 brother, agony aunt, newspaper columnist,
 comedian and sex icon combined.
 show begins. Groups of young
 teenage girls mingle nervously,
 cans of energy drink in one hand,
 iPhones glued to the other. Blue
 jeans and blue hair abound.
 Unless you are an attentive parent of a
 web-obsessed teenager or under 25, you are
 unlikely to have heard of Dan and Phil,
 whose online personas are Danisnotonfire
 and AmazingPhil. But in internet-land
 they are titans. Between them, they have
 more than 4m Twitter followers and 8m
 subscribers to their YouTube channels from
 as far afield as the USA, the Philippines and
 Indonesia. The pair have separate channels
 but also collaborate regularly.
 The figures don't do justice to their
 almost cult-like influence. Followers of Dan
 A voice calls from inside and
 the girls snap into line, trooping
 at speed into a VIP holding area, where free
 Haribo and mineral water are provided.
 Eventually, two young men walk in and the
 Toom erupts with screaming, crying, a flood
 of photos. "Oh, my God, you exist in real
 life!" one fan shouts. The girls are completely
 overwhelmed, yelping in excitement. The
 organiser tells me that fainting is a
 possibility, and assistants are on hand to
 They have been around for a few years
 now. Along with the likes of Alfie Deyes and
 Zoella they were at the heart of what they
 call the "great British vlogger boom" of 2013,
 when several vloggers went from having
 hundreds of thousands of followers to
 millions in a matter of months. But until
 recently, most members of the adult world,
 who use the internet for ordering groceries
 and checking the news, have continued to
 ignore them.
 Now, though, they are becoming
 impossible to dismiss. Last month they
 released a book, The Amazing Book Is Not
 on Fire, a glimpse into their online world
 and how it was created. Everyone in
 publishing had expected Bill Bryson's latest
 book to top the autumn bestseller list, >
 "We are nerds. We are losers.
 People like the fact that
 somebody like them has
 the audacity to put
 calm them down if necessary.
 This, I imagine, is what it felt like to
 De the Beatles in 1965, or to be One Direction
 today: world-famous megastars attracting
 nordes of feverish young women every time
 they land in New York or Los Angeles.
 Except this is not Hollywood, but the
 Plymouth Pavilions on a grey Tuesday
 themselves out there"
 THE SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINEβ€’ 43

 it was immediately beaten into second
 place by the "amazing" book. Their debut
 sold almost 50,000 copies in its first fortnight.
 DAN AND PHIL
 en and Phil are outperforming books by
 Tom Jones, Sue Perkins and Steven Gerrard.
 Vlogger books are the new frontier in
 publishing. Last year, despite controversy
 over whether she actually wrote it.
 7oella's debut, Girl Online, became the
 fastest-selling debut novel since records
 began, shifting 78,109 copies in just one
 reek. The 25-year-old fashion blogger from
 Wiltshire sold as if she were JK Rowling.
 Unsurprisingly, all the publishing houses
 are eager for a piece of this new alchemy.
 The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire doesn't
 fit a conventional book format. It is partly
 the story of Dan and Phil and partly trivia
 about their lives, along with silly drawings,
 games, emoji interviews and selfie reels. The
 Catcher in the Rye it is not, but intelligent
 children are devouring it nonetheless.
 To accompany the book they have
 developed a stand-up show and are touring
 the country, filling theatres and arenas from
 Belfast to Brighton. The unlikely princes of
 new media are taking old media by storm.
 This is what has brought me to Plymouth,
 with a number of questions I want
 answered. Who are these strange internet
 geeks who are taking over the real world?
 And how on earth do they do it?
 WILD AT HEART "In real life we're likely to be watching Come Dine with Me"
 They brush off my question
 about what it feels like to
 be unlikely sex idols by
 claiming that their fans only
 fancy them "ironically"
 T
 he Dan and Phil phenomenon is
 undeniably huge, but as I arrive in
 Plymouth I'm still slightly baffled
 as to what their appeal actually is.
 I watched several of their videos
 ahead of the show. They are
 quirky and eloquent, a paean to
 internet wackiness, but they also
 come across as fairly aimless, full
 of creativity without direction and
 smile around them, but it is difficult to believe
 we are all about the same age. Spending most
 of the past decade on YouTube has given
 the internet generation would stop reading
 printed books were wrong.
 "This book appeals to all sorts," says
 Zach, 16, one of only two boys amid a sea of
 girls. "There are a lot of people I know who
 them a Peter Pan-like quality; they come
 across as a pair of overgrown teenagers.
 "Watching Dan and Phil makes me
 laugh, it makes me happy," says Shelby,
 a 16-year-old with electric-blue hair and a
 pierced septum. "They have a unique
 connection with their audience. They act
 humour without any depth.
 A typical video might see the pair
 attempt to apply make-up to one another's
 faces while wearing a blindfold. They often
 conduct "seven-second challenges",
 submitted by fans, such as "name three
 things you wouldn't have tattooed on your
 body" or "spell Christmas backwards", which really casual with you, like you're all part of
 they then have seven seconds to complete.
 At the show, I asked some of the girls
 what it is they like so much about their
 idols. The most common response was that
 they are dorky everymen with whom
 teenagers can genuinely identify. They seem
 to provide an online comfort blanket, a
 refuge from the travails of adolescence.
 I joined Dan and Phil backstage for a
 while and found them unthreatening, clean-
 cut, lovable and slightly irritating. Their
 clothes are Topman, their hairstyles both
 fiercely swept Bieber-esque fringes. Their
 humour is also similar: a fusion of millennial their own special technique for how to paint party: Smartie Artie meets Michael Mclntyre
 kookiness, "like" patois and David Brentian
 irony. They work well together, generating a
 bouncy positivity that makes it hard not to
 would never ever read a book in their life
 who have bought this. They've watched the
 YouTube videos so they know what to
 expect." Zach is in the long queue to meet
 Dan and Phil, which involves a hug with the
 pair, a quick selfie and then a furious session
 of tweeting, Instagramming and
 WhatsApping the picture to jealous friends.
 It's only when I watch the show itself
 that I understand quite what is going on
 here. The entire thing is full of in-jokes from
 their vlogs. Phil sits on a giant model lion,
 Dan on a llama. The crowd emits an ear-
 splitting shriek– apparently Dan has a thing
 for llamas. Then they start acting out
 seven-second challenges. I'm the same age
 as Phil, 28, but I have never felt more
 the same internet family." Shelby is part of
 the sprawling, multi-platform Dan and Phil
 online community. She has a special Twitter
 account that she uses to discuss their work
 with virtual fans all over the country.
 "I love Dan and Phil because I can relate
 to them," says Abby, a 14-year-old fan. β€œI just
 like watching them so much. They're my
 favourite YouTubers because they are more
 personal, you can relate to them more."
 Like many of the girls present, Abby has
 cat whiskers painted on her face. This is a
 Dan and Phil trademark - they demonstrate
 appallingly middle-aged. The whole event
 has the feel of a large children's birthday
 What I quickly realise is that boring
 adults aren't meant to get it. Indeed, the fact
 they don't is part of the appeal. In the >
 them in one of their videos. Almost
 everyone is clutching a copy of Dan and
 Phil's book, proof that those who thought
 THE SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINEβ€’ 45

 same way that pop music confounded the
 eardrums of mid-20th-century parents, fans
 of Dan and Phil like the fact that this is their
 DAN AND PHIL
 world and the rest of us don't understand.
 meet Dan and Phil properly the next
 day at the offices of their publisher.
 They are 24 and 28 respectively, but
 when Dan describes my use of a pen to
 take notes as "endearing", it feels like
 ve are from different generations.
 Texplain my struggle to understand
 what it is they actually do on YouTube.
 "There is a whole fanbase out
 there that is specifically
 passionate about me and Phil
 and what we stand for"
 Dan smiles knowingly. β€œNobody
 specifically passionate about me and Phil
 and what we stand for," he says.
 understands what YouTube is vet.
 especially in the British media and public,"
 represent the people who aren't cool," says
 Dan. "We are nerds. We are losers. People
 They are understandably coy about their like the fact that someone like them has the
 ays. "The grandma that has Facebook
 cees YouTube as this place where there are
 ints of cat videos. But really it's a Wild West
 frontier of independent creativity. For the
 frst time in the world, you don't have
 commissioning editors and channels and
 budgets. People are just independently
 doing whatever they want."
 Dan Howell, a Berkshire native, is the
 pin-up of the duo and turns up in a tight-
 itting black leather jacket and black skinny
 jeans. Phil Lester is older, a β€œYouTube
 dinosaur". He started on the website in the
 far-distant days of 2006 and was already a
 regular vlogger when Dan messaged him
 five years ago to ask for help with his own
 video ambitions. Both were living in
 Manchester at the time: Phil with his
 parents, having just finished a master's in
 video postproduction, and Dan in his first
 year studying law at Manchester University.
 "I wasn't making videos to get an
 audience," says Phil. "I just saw it was a cool
 thing that other people were doing. I was just
 going to talk about my day and whack it on
 there. It took a year to get 100 subscribers."
 "Everybody who is at a big place these
 days has been growing their channel for
 years," says Dan, who describes his early
 YouTubing as a "creative hobby with no
 goal in sight", and claims success came to
 him pretty much by accident.
 Things moved faster once the pair began
 collaborating regularly. Dan dropped out of
 university and the pair gave themselves a
 year to see if they could make a living out of
 YouTube. In 2013 Radio 1 brought them in to
 appeal to younger listeners and they quickly
 found themselves reporting from the Brit
 Awards - but YouTube has remained their
 main focus until the recent book and tour.
 "I like the book because it's a physical copy
 of everything we've done on YouTube," says
 Phil. "If we die in a meteor strike in 50 years,
 it will still exist."
 Phil may have started off as the master
 earnings, but it's clear they haven't looked
 back from their decision to try to make a
 living off YouTube. Estimates put Dan's
 wealth at Β£2m. Their main source of
 YouTube income is simply from the
 advertising on their videos – but sometimes
 they also produce sponsored content.
 This got them in trouble with the
 Advertising Standards Agency (ASA)
 recently, when it was decided they hadn't
 made it clear to viewers that an Oreo
 audacity to put themselves out there. We
 spend all our time inside reading Harry
 Potter and playing video games. We're the
 faces of the losers at school. That's why Dan
 and Phil are different to other people, who
 look perfect, who are mainstream, with the
 perfect teeth and the perfect hair."
 They may share much of their lives with
 millions of followers, but the rest is strictly
 cordoned off. They live together in a flat in
 London, but won't say where. They brush off
 my question about what it feels like to be
 unlikely sex idols by claiming that their fans
 only fancy them "ironically". I ask Dan what
 biscuit-licking competition was paid for by
 the brand. The ads were banned. Dan and
 Phil's friendliness recedes for a moment
 when I bring it up. "Oh, for God's sake." savs
 Dan. β€œWas there a controversy? It was another
 element of misunderstanding, I think."
 β€œThere was no controversy because
 there were no guidelines in place," says Phil.
 "This was just the ASA deciding what the
 rules should be. Everyone was, like,
 "Great, now we know what to do."
 "What we're annoyed by is that people
 think there was an incident, but the story
 was that nobody did anything wrong," adds
 Dan. "The ASA were deciding what the rules
 are, which is a good and necessary thing."
 Has the bruising episode put them off
 doing sponsored content? "I'm in the quite
 lucky position where I don't have to do a lot
 of sponsored content to support myself,"
 says Dan. "I can take an opportunity if, for
 whatever reason, I want to. But there are
 he thinks about the persistent rumours that
 he is gay. He references the actor Tom
 Hardy's plea for privacy over the same issue.
 "We don't talk about our private lives in any
 way," he says. β€œCreatively, we want to be
 apart from the people who are reality stars.
 We don't want to be some Kardashian."
 "In real life, we are more likely to be
 playing video games or watching Come Dine
 with Me than going to nightclubs, and they
 [the fans] know that," adds Phil.
 The pair are enjoying their tour, not least
 because they "don't usually spend much
 time outdoors". Next up they plan to take it
 to Rio, Manila, Jakarta and America, where
 their biggest fanbase resides. But what does
 the future look like? Aren't they getting a bit
 old for larking about on YouTube? I find it
 hard to believe that these intelligent grown
 men aren't starting to find it odd playing
 entertainer to young teenage children.
 "Never underestimate the intelligence of
 a 12-year-old," says Dan, who claims that he
 doesn't dumb down his content for younger
 followers. "I'm having such a good time
 right now," says Phil. "The exciting thing is,
 no one knows what the future [for YouTubers]
 is going to be. We're the first ones, we're like
 the test subjects, to see what happens."
 "Everything is brand new," adds Dan.
 "Are the YouTubers going to jump on to TV?
 Is TV going to implode into nothingness?
 creators out there who literally survive off
 sponsored content. So I think it's necessary."
 YouTube is making them rich, but what
 do they say to people who find their work
 entertaining, but ultimately a bit pointless?
 "It's just wrong," says Dan. "It's completely
 wrong. It's understandable, people haven't
 had that much exposure to YouTube. The
 reason people like me is because I open up
 about my opinion and my thoughts on
 everything, from existentialism to whether
 or not it's right to keep hamsters in cages."
 "Even in our videos, we have fun in
 some, but others have advice and messages,"
 Literally, nobody knows. We're in a great
 position, so we are going with the
 flow. Confidently." I
 The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire (Ebury
 Press Β£16.99) is out now. To buy it for
 Β£14.99, inc p&p, call 0845 271 2135 or visit
 thesundaytimes.co.uk/bookshop
 and Dan the apprentice, but in interviews, at says Phil. "A lot of it is reflecting what life is
 least, it appears that Dan is in charge as he
 ends up fielding almost every question,
 brimming with an almost arrogant
 ebullience about their achievements.
 "There is a whole fanbase out there that is
 like in school, or when starting university.
 That kind of thing, coming from someone
 who has experienced it, can help people."
 I wonder what their own explanation is
 for their seemingly insatiable appeal? "We
 THE SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINEβ€’ 47
phillesteronabun:

flying-panda-cat:

I paid Β£2.50 for the Sunday times, took out the magazine and binned the rest πŸ˜‚


I’m sorry you paid to listen to a shitty interviewer being rude af

phillesteronabun: flying-panda-cat: I paid Β£2.50 for the Sunday times, took out the magazine and binned the rest πŸ˜‚ I’m sorry you paid...