One of the biggest – if not the biggest – Aussie YouTubers of the moment has a channel that’s a little different.
He isn’t a beauty blogger, he doesn’t care for current events or play video games and he is not trying to sell you anything. As far as we know, he doesn’t even have a name, and he almost never talks.
In December 2016, The New York Times recommended his channel and named him Man, so – for lack of a better term – that’s what we’ll call him.
Shrouded in mystery and seemingly against all odds, Man has become a YouTube sensation. Since joining YouTube in May 2015, his channel Primitive Technology has amassed over 4.7 million subscribers and 290 million views. There is also a 20,000-post strong subreddit dedicated to Man’s exploits.
So what does Man do? It’s best to see it for yourself but basically, he silently builds things out of nothing, as a caveman would.
Watching it is a pretty hypnotic and soothing experience. There are closed captions if you would like to know more about what he is doing, but the purists will tell you that it’s best to watch Man as he is: Just patiently doing stuff.
His most popular video is called “Primitive Technology: Tiled Roof Hut and it has been viewed almost 30 million times. In it, Man uses mud, rocks, sticks and leaves to build a damn impressive hut.
Yup, if I ever get lost in the wilderness, Man is the person I want with me. Without him, I’d probably eat the wrong berries and die on the first day. (“The red ones look good?”)
Man has an official blog, and on his YouTube “about” page he warns that he has “no Facebook” so “ignore the fakes”.
It seems that Man does have some beef with Facebook too. Last week, The Courier Mail reported that Man had complained about pages stealing his content.
According to The Courier Mail, Man said that the 15-minute hut video had taken 102 days to make and was stolen by a page which had received five million views. Man wasn’t happy and claimed that the theft had cost him $10,000. Parasites!
Man has every right to be rewarded for his efforts, but I have to admit that hearing him complain about views and money ruins things just a tiny bit. So he is a modern human after all.
Pretty much everything we know about Man is posted on the YouTube “about” section, in the form of a short FAQ:
Q.Where is this?
A.This is in Far North Queensland Australia.
Q.Do you live in the wild?
A.I don’t live in the wild but just go into the bush to make these projects. Also I camp out here occasionally.
Q.How did you learn all this?
A.Researching books and internet plus trial and error. I’m not indigenous and have no army training.
Q.What about dangerous animals in Australia?
A.The only really dangerous ones in my area are snakes. Care must be taken when walking about and lifting things from the ground.
Q.For the mud huts what stops the rain washing the mud walls away?
Q.Why don’t you talk in the videos?
A.When I watch how to videos I fast forward past the talking part to see the action part. So I leave it out of my videos in favor of pure demonstration.
In The New York Times piece, writer Jennifer Kahn summed up the pleasure of Man’s channel nicely, describing it as a place where we can seek refuge from the constant barrage on our attention spans.
“The Man isn’t out for our attention,” Kahn wrote. “He’s more like the gruff neighbor who let you hang around his workshop when you were a kid, provided you didn’t talk too much. It’s a way to share, vicariously, the rewards of patience and focus.”
So if you are feeling exhausted by the 24-hour news cycle or just life in general, check out Man’s channel and watch him build stuff.
But don’t expect him to complain about Trump or give you his opinion about global warming. Man can do a lot of things, but he won’t do that.