This week, Twitter decided to close Vine down, at the same time as it announced it would be cutting 9% of its global staff. As all social media is steadily streamlined to become one long, lucrative advert for Strongbow, the outlets that aren't money makers inevitably fall by the wayside.
So the pointlessly, inexplicably funny shit; the shit that you can't sponsor; the inspirational shit that some Texan girl came up with, always, always, in the front seat of her SUV - that stuff has got to go.
In honour of Vine's passing, we asked some VICE writers what their all time favourite virtual-world 6 seconds are.
Writing about memes feels ridiculous. Once you point out The Thing, and then spend time explaining its punchline, you quickly turn into ... well, the "how do you do, fellow kids?" meme. But in the wake of Vine's death, I'm going to do it anyway. This six-second clip is perfection. We will never know who this man is, or why he's skipping along a New York street like a refreshed and perfectly formed deer, and I'm alright with that. Vine's usual absurdist humour collides with Carly Rae Jepsen's "Run Away with Me", the very same song that gave us the spinning sax seal and other not-as-good gags. Vines that don't nail the timing, that don't perfectly sync audio with video, are the ones you forget. This isn't one of them.
In the least creepy way possible, I think I have a crush on Gabriel Gundacker. But that's not the reason I picked him over endless loops of a seal with "Bounce It" by Juicy J playing in the background, or this vine giving all the life advice you'll ever need. I picked him mostly because I feel like he's a child of the internet, one of my ilk, and his vines are a direct expression of that. They are funny because they are made in that offbeat, self-aware way that only actually funny people manage to pull off. So in a platform that had a lot of gold, but also a lot of "THAT FEEL WHEN YOU CAN'T DAB LIKE PEPE THE FROG *cry laugh emoji*" stuff made by prepubescent suburban American teens, Gabriel Gundacker was making some weird as fuck political commentary. Mostly, though, he was making fun of himself and all the rest of us, and I can respect that. So he's my favourite. Him and this prairie dog.
Even though I deleted the Vine app from my phone, I'm sad at it's demise – like when a celebrity you don't really care about but like the vibe of dies. There were some things I didn't like about Vine, like the dawn of extremely easy and shit "relatable" comedy becoming insanely popular and inescapable, but I liked much more about it. Like any great, accessible medium, it offered an opportunity for people who don't quite have the right outlet to do their thing, to do their thing. This was certainly the case with Packin Swayze, who created a variety of characters perfectly suited to the six-second format, the best of which was his "white guy singing". Turn around and die, Donny don't you die – it's all gold. He also does a mean DMX impression.
I mean, pretty much everything by Chris Melberger. Look, there's one of them above. All of my favourite Vine people are probably also on YouTube, but the sad thing is that YouTube videos have the power to make otherwise very funny Viners completely unfunny. So good bye forever, everyone.
There are so many perfect examples of the form – the Turn Around And Die series, Mom I Peed On Myself, Charli XCX x Tish – but one of my favourite Vines ever only dropped four days ago: "Kicked too much". It's just so weird. What Viners always excelled at was i. doing a three-act play in six seconds flat, and ii. going to such surreal places you couldn't ever imagine comedy going without the app, and that's what makes Kicked Too Much so great. Like, who said to their mates, "Hey: let's make a Vine of Zach kicking, and us being like, 'Noooo, Zach!' and then, idk, the police literally point a gun at him at the end?" and then everyone, in perfect unison, said, "I completely understand and commit to this idea."
Like: how did the logistics of this perfect Vine even occur? Were the police in on it? Were they not? Is kicking an actual crime? Who is filming this from a distant four-storey building? I could watch this Vine a hundred more times and I'll never know. All this Vine provides is entertainment and infinite questions. It also proves, if nothing else, that the medium is still fresh as fuck and Twitter is being a bit previous getting rid of it. Bye, Vine. You were responsible for a lot of bad crap but also many moments of high, high genius.
Today, on the day we honour Vine and all it provided, I would like to remember my favourite subset of the Vine community. For just as Vine gave bored art students a platform to make shitty stop-frame kaleidoscope animations, and Soulja Boy a chance to show off just how much he had in the way of cash and hoverboards, the app was also home to a particular breed of muscular, effeminate boys with voices like honey. Theirs was a world of six-seconds of singing so deeply sincere you'd probably throw up if you watched for too long.
This Vine, made by someone called Nick Pallauf, sort of crystallises everything that made this trend one of the most awful but bizarrely hypnotic things to have ever happened on the internet. Look at it. The six pack flash, the wink, the vest, the full High School Musical backing track, not to mention the aggressively cloying lyrics that in the space of six seconds go from zero to marriage proposal. It's like 50 years of boy-band culture, from the Beatles to the Backstreet Boys, distilled into an eternal, retina burning, spine-twistingly cringeworthy loop. So pour one out for the intense, creepy boy-singers of Vine tonight. They are dead now, free to become the angels we always knew they were. Nick Pallauf, Toby Randall, Andrew Bazzi, adieu.
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