1 The Peckham Terminator
Bus journeys can test the patience of even the most placid. But it takes a special kind of lunatic to break into blood-curdling screams before smashing through the glass of the rear door. Quite what fuelled the anger of the man in this 2010 video is unsure, but it’s hard not to laugh as he boils into incandescent rage at several passengers and, ultimately, the bus itself. If he’s the kind of person likely to be squeezed out, perhaps south London gentrification isn’t such a bad thing after all.
2 Dancing police officers
From stitching up cycling politicians to ‘overenthusiastic’ approaches to crowd management, the Met has been at the centre of so much scandal over the past few years it’s a wonder there haven’t been riots. Oh, wait, yes. Thankfully, this video of three coppers having a dance-off at last year’s Notting Hill Carnival went a short way towards softening their tough-guy reputation. For those joyful 53 seconds, ‘whoop whoop’ really was the sound of the police.
3 Happiest Olympic worker
What’s the best viral video to have come out of the 2012 Olympics? Germany’s ultimate diving fail? Overexcited commentators watching Mo Farah win? Nope, the crown belongs to Rachel Onasanwo, a volunteer who was filmed delivering a hilarious deadpan commentary on her role in the Games through a megaphone outside the Olympic Park. Her monotone sarcasm and bitter perseverance made her a truer ambassador for Britain than any of our triumphant athletes.
4 Jesus Christ in Richmond Park
With 10 million views and counting, you might think it really is a video of Jesus. In fact, it’s the capturing of maverick dog Fenton chasing deer through Richmond Park while his owner runs helplessly behind, interspersing his cries of ‘Fentonnnnn’ with the despairing refrain, ‘Oh, Jesus Christ.’ The 2011 incident inspired a Christmas single as well as countless parody videos, our favourite being the ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Downfall’-based ones.
5 Drunk businessman escalator fail
It’s one of life’s great injustices that this sozzled suit isn’t a bigger internet star than Fenton, the sneezing panda and Psy all put together. Not only is the wasted chap oblivious to the fact he’s trying to walk down an up escalator – thereby never advancing beyond the top few steps – he’s also oblivious to the mocking crowd that gathers to watch. It is, literally, a case of one step forward, two steps back.
6 The 19.57 from Euston
Elaborate proposals are de rigueur on YouTube these days, and they don’t get much more impressive than the choir-led flashmob arranged by the romantic soul in this video. It begins in the usual way – one by one, people on the London Overground start joining in with a rendition of Bill Withers’s ‘Lovely Day’. But then it all pauses as a dashing young man appears and proposes to one of the spectating passengers. The resulting video brought tears to millions of eyes and derailed the lacklustre proposal plans of innumerable grooms-to-be.
7 One Pound Fish Man
How do you make your fishpeddling market stall stand out? With a catchy little tune which, all being well, will end up on YouTube and make a celebrity of both you and the business. Such was the case with Muhammad Shahid Nazir, whose Upton Park seafood stall was beset by autograph hunters in 2012 after his charming ‘One Pound Fish’ song went viral and eventually led to a Christmas single. Ironically, his new status means he can probably now charge much more than just a pound for his fish.
8 Being A Dickhead’s Cool
Just when everyone thought east London’s hipster crowd couldn’t get any more self-aware, this inspired 2010 joke song and accompanying video held a mocking mirror up to their stage-managed eccentricities. With immortal lines such as ‘I play synth/We all play synth,’ the video sent much of Dalston into spasms of indignation while allowing the rest of us to feel smug for wearing jeans that actually fit and for never having understood The Klaxons.
9 The T-Mobile Dance
Flashmobs are ten-a-penny these days, but the odd few still manage to give you goosebumps. One of the best is undoubtedly the dance medley staged for a T-Mobile advert at Liverpool Street station in 2009. With 39 million views, it’s the third most-watched flashmob on YouTube and the highest-ranking video on this list. Did it make us switch to T-Mobile? No, but it did make us consider visiting Essex.
10 Faithless spoon player
What could be more awesome than an old guy in Borough doing some superlative spoon-playing to ‘Insomnia’ by Faithless? Very little. As such, this 2012 video is a firm Time Out favourite, and a tribute to both lost arts and the simple beauty of raw talent. Tonight, God is a spoon player. Compiled by Dan Frost
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