The World's First Multi-National eBook! 
Life Begins at 80...on the Internet
(Casting the Net from Au to Za)

Search the Internet
Google  

HomeIntroductionNew StoriesSubscribeRecent Stories
IndexSearchAbout UsGraypow
Guest Map

YouTuber finds fame at 79

By ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia
 

America's Time magazine calls Peter Oakley a superstar, and England's Saga magazine says that at the age of 79 he has become "one of the most famous Britons alive, with nearly five million fans around the world."

Never heard of him? Nor had we, until the other day, when a neighbour's grandchild told us about Peter's "cool YouTube videos."

So we googled his name, and found he has indeed become an idol of idle youngsters. Saga magazine says he has achieved global fame not on TV or as an actor or author, but on the Internet, where his videos have made him one of the most popular stars of the YouTube website.

Most of the world's 100 million YouTubers are children, teenagers and young adults. Many of them look on Peter, who is a widower, as a kindly old man who reminds them of their own grandfathers. He calls himself Geriatric1927, referring to the year he was born.

Peter lives near a picturesque village in Derbyshire, in the centre of England, and keeps his exact whereabouts secret. Do his fellow villagers know they have a world-famous man in their midst?

We'd like to learn more about this modest man. Does he have children and grandchildren of his own? Does he read and reply to the thousands of messages posted on the Geriatric1927 forum?

Peter is a retired motorcycle dealer. He says on his home page, subtitled The Rantings and Ravings of a Geriatric: "My life has been very varied but my love of motorcycles has remained with me all of my life (no, I don't have piercings or tattoos).

"I am a bit of a recluse I suppose as partying and such do not appeal. I have a degree in fine art which I got at the age of 60+ so have interests there. Blues music is essential to my well being and have been addicted since a child. I have a background in mechanical engineering."

His hit counter when we looked at it last month showed that his "current views" had reached the staggering total of 6,702,413.

We know that he is the victim of hate mail. Some of it, from children, was "filthy, disgusting and libellous as well," he says in one of his videos, denying a hoax report of his death. "I wonder if their parents know what they are doing. I like to think that the majority of people on YouTube are my friends."

Michael Smith, an American living in Philadelphia (the City of Brotherly Love) found Peter's videos so interesting that he set up an elaborate website, askgeriatric.com , to give other YouTubers an opportunity to send messages to Peter.

"I'm very proud to say that Peter is a good friend," Mike told the Derby Evening Telegraph. "Though we'll likely never meet, we talk almost daily. Peter is as genuine as he appears ... a very humble and noble gentleman."

Stephen Mold, of Northampton, wrote, "I think Peter is an amazing example to us all. I hope when I reach his age, I have the same passion and love for life he has. I think we should start a petition for a knighthood."

That suggestion appealed to Tom Guarriello, of Connecticut, US, who wrote: "I've followed Peter's YouTube adventure since its earliest days. In fact, he inspired me to stop simply watching and begin posting videos myself.

"He delivers simple wisdom in a wonderfully plain fashion, so much so that it's easy to miss his extraordinary talent as a storyteller. Peter's a unique individual. Millions of lives have been enriched through having come in contact with him. Knighthood? As a Yank, I say, 'hear hear!'"

We wonder whether Peter has ever visited the website of Olive Riley, the 107-year-old Australian great-great-grandmother who is the world's oldest blogger. He would enjoy reading her posts which, like Peter's videos, appeal to young as well as old web surfers everywhere.

Links
An interesting interview with Peter Oakley has just been published by the South Korean citizen reporters' journal OhmyNews International.
 

Story first posted May 2007

Copyright 2007

Eric Shackle

HomeIntroductionNew StoriesSubscribeRecent Stories
IndexSearchAbout UsGraypow
Guest Map

  Designed, maintained and hosted by
 
BDB Web Designs
  Accuse, Abuse or Amuse  
The Web Master