I still remember the first time I heard the word ‘lad’. It was a vivid pale summers day, when I was forced to make the two hour journey up to Burnley to visit my dad’s family. The weather was grey, the tea flowed like a waterfall and I was called a ‘lad’ by my uncle Trevor, a man who, my mother informs me, would stand in the snow wearing shell suite trousers – but enough of the Vietnam flash back.
According to the northern context (Burnley is in the north by the way) ‘lad’ is simpy a term referring to a male. As in ‘alright lads, shall we get a beer?’ or similar greeting which one would find common in Burnley.
Nowadays ‘lad’ is term which we find thrown around like a terrible yet accessible meme. As ‘The Tab’ article written by William Lloyd so aptly expressed, it was a word which once encapsulated all that was awful about the modern ‘man-boy’ ( a word for a sort of teenage, man, boy hybrid, you know the type). Yes, once upon a time you were called a lad for shagging a few girls, downing enough alcohol to knock you out and doing something outrageous in the process, maybe dipping ones penis in a friend’s pint. You know something as obscene and unfunny as that.
It is also true (once again as Mr Lloyd of The Tab stated) that popular media forum The Lad Bible encapsulated this dark era in humanity. Circa 2011 you would have found Deano from the pub who spends his time shaving his own head, wearing old Chelsea football tops and subscribing to Pornhub as the main feature on the site and as the populous of its followers.
Yet, again as The Tab article stated, there was a change in The Lad Bible. The revelling in debauchery and the loutish ‘commandments’ faded away to reveal a platform which looked to be credible and somewhat sophisticated, a platform to rival Buzzfeed and the Huffington post rather than one to distract people from The Sun and Nuts magazine.
Mr Lloyd (of Tab fame) has claimed that this change is irrelevant. ‘But turning into a watered down, illiterate, Upworthy for British men doesn’t change the name: Lad Bible’. I have a long and a short response to Mr Lloyd’s words.
No. It doesn’t change the name Lad Bible. What has changed at the Lad Bible, however, is what it means to be a ‘Lad’. Perhaps in taking on their title this platform created an even more negative perception of ‘Lad’ originally, but now it is transforming the term into a much more positive one. The website has not simply become a feeble reflection of the Huffington Post in commenting on current events like the Paris attacks, it has used the term ‘Lad’ to redefine the parameters of what it means in today’s society.
A musician who uses his Nandos black card to feed the homeless is now a lad, the boy battling cancer and made a navy seal is described as a lad, and by featuring the story of an anorexic girl turning her life around it suggests that she too is a ‘Lad’. By sharing these small stories the ‘Lad Bible’ had redefined who the lads are, they are moving male perceptions of what is worthy of revelation. Yeah, maybe the occasional prankster is still published online every now and then, but with this new wave of content, this website is fast changing how young men are perceived and how they perceive others.
In fact, with his writing skill, Mr Lloyd is probably a lad too.
The original Tab article: Lad Bible wants you to take them seriously…