Never Underestimate The Power Of A Teenage Girl

Christopher Fowler
images A couple of days back, Alfie Deyes had a book signing. 8,000 happy readers turned up. The event was so big that it had to be held at London's biggest conference centre. Alfie just had his 21st birthday. He is not a singer. His book is pointless (it's called 'A Pointless Book'). He has a potential buying audience for the book of around 140 million people, most if not all of whom are teenage girls. Alfie is smart. He's an English vlogger and Let's Player who runs the YouTube channels PointlessBlog, PointlessBlogTv and AlfieGames. He is also nice, self-deprecating, unthreatening, silly, expressive, sweet-looking and unfailing pleasant. He has none of the desperate ambition we've come to associate with starey-eyed Silicon Valley types. Many authors reading this will now want to kill him. I think he's brilliant. In a stroke, he has driven a massive number of new readers into literacy. Actually, not quite at a stroke - although he's still only just 21 he's been working hard at this for six years. Now big business will try to hijack him. Rat-faced little advertising creatives all over the world will be trying to think of ways of persuading him to endorse their clients'
products. They want someone free of the potential to crash and burn like Justin Bieber. Alfie's savvier - his book is social media-integrated and comes with an interactive app. Experienced authors can sleep easy in their beds. Alfie's not a threat. Rather, he is a wake-up call to coasting writers and a reminder that he represents the zeitgeist - clean-cut work-ethic-driven youngsters making something of themselves. You know, future conservatives. Or maybe not. Alfie seems like a pretty centred guy, so my money's on him. And why shouldn't it be? Our rebellious generation didn't work out so well. Watergate, Vietnam, Thatcher, Blair, Iraq, Afghanistan, governments funding future terrorism, climate change denial. So Alfie, it's over to you, pal. Go ahead. Change the world. Or rather, be part of a changing world. You've already done what you needed to do - acted as a reminder that the wheel is always turning.