REPORT

Unmasked: the hipster behind @Vice_Is_Hip

By James Cook

Twitter parody account @Vice_Is_Hip has grown from being a well-loved joke amongst friends to attracting hundreds of retweets, thousands of followers and ire from the staff of counter-culture news site Vice. The account parodies Vice’s distinctive headline format by blending popular culture and gonzo journalism into a series of ridiculous headlines that always stray just beyond what you might find on Vice.

There had been a theory that @Vice_Is_Hip was a Vice in-joke, run by a weary reporter. When The Kernel asked one Vice writer whether they ran the account, they denied it, remarking “We wish we knew who did it.” As the account has grown to almost 50,000 followers, the man behind @Vice_Is_Hip has become increasingly shocked by its popularity.

I only ever set it up to make my mate laugh, and it’s just grown and grown.

Bike courier Jimmy Avis

Bike courier Jimmy Avis

Jimmy Avis is a bike courier living in London. He is, by most definitions, your typical Vice reader: young, fashionable, a musician. When he’s not cycling around the capital, he sends tweets parodying Vice headlines.

Jimmy Avis, photographed playing guitar by Nicholas Peak.

Jimmy Avis, photographed playing guitar by Nicholas Peak

Avis had a brush with fame when he briefly became a member of Babyshambles, the band backing Pete Doherty. The troubled singer is infamous due to his drug use and destructive relationship with Amy Winehouse. Avis quit the band after just two months. The Kernel asked why he left the group so quickly.

I left because [Pete Doherty] was getting bang into crack and was surrounded by idiots.

Luckily for Avis, his experience in the band has provided ample fuel for parodical Vice headlines.

 

When The Kernel asked to interview Avis, he was flattered, although concerned that being publicly identified as behind the account would make the parody less funny. “My own Twitter feed reads like the ramblings of a total dick”, said Avis.

Bike courier and master of Twitter parody Jimmy Avis

Bike courier and master of Twitter parody Jimmy Avis in a photograph from his Twitter profile

Another concern that the man behind the parody account has is how it will end. When we relayed to Avis what Vice writers think of the account, he seemed surprised. “I always think they’re going to get my account suspended. I’m glad they like it.”

So what’s next for Avis? A new band? A job at Vice?

“My plan is just to keep posting until the account gets suspended, that’s it really.”