Thursday 22 August 2019

Millennial Diary

Yewande Biala
Yewande Biala

Ciara O'Connor

We're a week into this year's Love Island, and though millions of us can't remember what we used to do every night at 9pm way back in May, it's fair to say that the series hasn't exactly covered itself in glory.

The first episode drew an ITV record-breaking 3.3m viewers, kicking off the season in a flurry of plausibly deniable racism: the three 'leftover' contestants, whom no one chose to couple up with, were the only three black contestants. It could be a coincidence that Dublin scientist and future President of Ireland, Yewande, was picked last - except it happened last year with Samira, and the year before that with Marcel, and the year before that with Malin.

We've had to watch our sweet Yewande being given ever less screen time, as her self-esteem plummets. Like Ireland on the world stage, she's everyone's friend, but no one takes her seriously. Yewande, the hero we don't deserve, sits with her arms folded tightly across her grey-fleeced body as an oiled-up Welshman chats to her; I don't think I've ever seen a fleece on Love Island. It would bring out the patriot in anyone.

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Meanwhile, the question of whether the show is workable in a post-#MeToo world remains unclear. The viewing public was left deeply uncomfortable by the week's main storyline, a love triangle between Tommy Fury, Tyson Fury's 20-year-old also-a-boxer brother; Joe, a sandwich entrepreneur; and Lucie, "I'm not the best surfer ever - I do more like modelling AND surfing". Lucie and Joe "coupled up" on day one, leaving Joe with "deep feelings". On day two, Tommy selected Lucie for a date, "it sounds weird because you don't really know me, but you mean a lot". Joe, 48 hours in to the series, lost his mind and declared that he just couldn't trust Lucie anymore, revealing himself to be a walking arrangement of red flags.

Love Island is like nothing so much as a primary school playground, where alliances are made and hearts are broken in the space of a lunchtime; where you may have two fully fledged boyfriends in a single day; where you send your new BFF to ask a girl whether she wants to shift you. Our Yewande, with her bio-technology degree, didn't stand a chance.

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But Love Island isn't the only simple pleasure that is under threat: Mrs Hinch is being investigated by the advertising watchdog in the UK after allegedly failing to disclose adverts on her Instagram. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love Mrs Hinch, and those who don't know who she is. For the latter group, Mrs Hinch is Sophie Hinchcliffe, a 28-year-old housewife from Essex with a passion for cleaning her home - sharing her tips and tricks has amassed her a seriously dedicated 2.5m Instagram following (to put this in perspective, Vogue Williams has 606k, Rosanna Davison has 152k). Featuring a €1 cleaning paste or a €2 cloth can cause stampedes across the country, and online reselling at 600pc mark-ups: that is to say, Mrs Hinch is a powerful marketing force.

And her 'Hinchers' trust her with the most important things in their lives: their white laundry, their hardwood floors, their crushed velvet headboards. These kind of accusations can seriously damage influencers' careers; and technically, Mrs Hinch should be worried. But this is a woman who has thousands of devotees willing to jump down the throat of internet commenters who suggest that spraying disinfectant every day might not be a great idea.

She'll continue merrily on her mission of world sterilisation. And I'll continue sitting in my filth, obsessively watching her clean her shower screen, her smiling Essex accent weighing the virtues of cream versus foam cleaners. It's the stuff millennial relaxation is made of.

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Have you been slapped in the face and called poor by the internet recently? No? Then head over to Kylie Jenner's YouTube channel, where last week she uploaded a 20-minute bonfire of the vanities in the shape of a 'vlog' about an average day in her life.

It's grippingly banal, giving you the uncanny impression that you've already seen everything before because it seems so obvious in its lunacy: the walk-in wardrobe of handbags, the driveway full of cars, the fact that she stands for a while in an unmoving lift, not pressing a button because "I'm so used to [some poor fecker] just handling it!"

Indeed, Kylie appears to have people to do lots of jobs-that-you-wouldn't-have-thought-were-jobs. There's one person to mist on her make-up setting spray, and another to hold her hair back from her face while it's happening: a hairband made of human arms.

She has a busy day of meetings coming up in Kylie HQ, so she selects "This pink little worker's jumpsuit" - a horrifying pastel, nipped-in, facsimile of a welder's boilersuit: a nightmarish late-capitalist parody, with her long acrylics that can't even press buttons.

Kylie is handed a picture of 'her' toner; "Oh my god, so cute", she says in her jumpsuit, the furthest conclusion of alienation from the means of production. That this video has not radicalised our youth and sowed the seeds of imminent revolution is extraordinary.

Her day finishes with a surprise birthday party she throws for her make-up artist, Ariel - in case you ever wondered whether vocal fry translates to a group singing Happy Birthday, the answer is yes. On his birthday, at his own party, Ariel does a speech in which he addresses Kylie Jenner thus: "You are not only a huge inspiration to me, I'm sure to a lot of others on this table. I adore you with all my heart, and I would literally do anything in the world it takes to make sure you're happy until the day I die."

She gives him a diamond ring, which moves him.

At this point, it's 18 minutes in, and 11.30pm in Kylie's day. The video closes with a cacophony of unholy screeches from Kylie's homogeneous coven, encouraging us to subscribe to Kylie's YouTube channel.

It is over. The day is done. But the screeches follow you. The dead eyes of Kylie Jenner will dance before you every time you enter a lift, or get dressed, or go to work - you povvo.

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